If you follow the news at all, you know drones are making headlines on a daily basis. You may be wondering, “Are drones here to stay, and do they present more opportunity than just an aviation hobby?”
No longer just a toy or hobby, drones are now a tool for entry into dozens of lucrative careers. According to a recent study by Research and Markets, the global drone service market is projected to grow 51.1% over the next eight years. If you’ve been thinking about getting certified to fly a drone professionally, now’s the time to get started.
In this article, we highlight five current job listings that demonstrate the opportunity for certified commercial drone pilots to find full-time and/or contract work. Before we get to the jobs listings, we offer some background on what working as a drone service provider has traditionally looked like. Or you can jump straight to the job listings here.
Growing Demand for Full-Time and Contract Drone Pilots
The job jackpot looks a little bit different for each of us—for some, it’s self-employment and flexible hours, while others prefer the security of a full-time position and a guaranteed salary. Self-employment seems to be the career path of choice for most drone pilots, with 62% of drone services providers working for themselves according to a 2018 study from Skylogic Research. However, this may have more to do with job availability than job preference.
Until recently, there weren’t many companies hiring full-time drone pilots. In a previous post, we took a look at drone pilot salaries and found that salary jobs dedicated solely to drone operation are no more than a handful nationwide. But, with the growing adoption of drones and evolving regulations, more full-time and salaried positions are becoming available.
The demand for drone services is largely influenced by an escalating demand of surveying, mapping & inspection. Industries such as real estate and infrastructure and media & entertainment have adopted the technology heavily. Plus, there is a significant demand for drone services from several other industries such as law enforcement, agriculture, and industrial among others.
Supportive government regulations related to the adoption of drones across the world have also contributed to the growing demand for drone pilots. The governments of the developed economies such as the US, Canada, the UK, and Germany have undertaken different initiatives to propel the growth of drone service market in through implementing new rules and regulation for flying drones across the regions. For example, in 2016, the FAA issued the Part 107 Rules for U.S. drone operators, which provided the legal framework necessary to proliferate commercial drone operations.
To demonstrate the increasing demand for full-time and contract drone pilots, we’ve gathered real job listings active at the time of this article.
Five Full-time and Contract sUAS Pilot Jobs Available Right Now
We understand that for some of you reading this post after the publication date, these jobs may no longer be available. However, the main idea is to get a feel for the types of job opportunities you can look for as a drone pilot now and in the future.
All jobs mentioned below are full-time positions, or Drone Pilot Networks for contract work.
Certified Drone Pilot, XWorks
- Industry: Robotics
- Listing Link: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1743986946/
- Time Listed: One week
- Location: Midland-Odessa, TX
XWorks is a 4-year-old startup that creates the most advanced and capable robotic drone landing stations in the world and develops them for use in various industries.
XWorks is now looking for certified pilots to operate our cutting-edge technology on a day to day basis.
As a pilot you would be working with the drones to ensure the safety of operation and deliverable to the customers. A strong candidate would
- Have an FAA Certified Part 107 License (required)
- Have an FAA Certified Pilot’s License (not required, but preferred)
- Have experience operating drones – if you are a builder and have experience with your hands on the drone systems, that is a plus
- Not mind being in the elements
- Have good and clean presentation for customers
- Must be self-motivated to bring a better experience and deliverable to our customers
- Must have a passion for robotics.
- Experience in the Oil and Gas Industry is a plus
Certified Drone Pilots, Loveland Innovations
- Industry: Inspections
- Listing: https://www.lovelandinnovations.com/services-network/
- Time Listed: One week
- Location: Nationwide
Loveland Innovations is looking for high-caliber drone pilots to gather property data for top insurance carriers and Fortune 500 companies. Using our iOS app, IMGING, and your compatible hardware, you’ll conduct a brief automated flight over a property. After landing, the app will guide you through a list of photos to add with your mobile device. You’ll upload the data and go on your way.
Drone Pilot & Technician, Periscope Aviation
- Industry: Public Safety and Homeland Security
- Listing: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1948340999
- Time Listed: One week
- Location: Stuart, FL
Periscope Aviation provides high-performance, unmanned aircraft vehicles and systems that are optimized for specific mission requirements including tactical resupply, remote communications, and enhanced C4ISR. Our multi-rotor platforms are more reliable and safer than hobby-grade drones and more affordable than high-altitude, fixed wing aircraft. All Periscope solutions are built in America with components that can be purchased by U.S. federal agencies.
This position is an opportunity to turn your hobby into a career. We are a manufacturer of small, high performance tactical UAVs. For this role, we’re looking for candidates with extensive backgrounds in the design, testing & construction of UAVs. This experience does not have to be in a professional context.
Certified Drone Pilots, DroneHive
- Industry: Pilot Network
- Listing: https://www.dronehiveinc.com/signup/
- Time Listed: One Week
- Location: Nationwide
DroneHive is looking for commercial drone pilots for contract positions to gather aerial data for their clients.
Flight Services Drone Pilot, CompassDrone
- Industry: Mapping & Surveying
- Listing: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1948203859
- Time Listed: Less than a week
- Location: Littleton, CO
With 25 years of real-world geospatial experience and 7 years of drone mapping consulting, the CompassFamily of companies introduces CompassDrone. Providing air frames, sensors, software, support, training, Part 107 Classes and services including post-processing from mapping to professional grade; CompassDrone is your one-stop-shop. As the 1st geospatial dealer for DJI, we are focused on empowering mapping professionals to deliver drone-based solutions to their clients.
Share your thoughts on these jobs and the types of jobs you’d like to see us highlight next in this thread on our community forum. For more guidance on finding work in the drone industry, check out our in-depth Drone Jobs Guide.