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 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 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 drone pilots, we’ve gathered real job listings active at the time of this article.
Five Full-time 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 full-time job opportunities you can look for as a drone pilot now and in the future.
All jobs mentioned below are full-time positions.
UAS Pilot, Maser Consulting
- Industry: Mapping & Surveying
- Listing Link: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1169595756/
- Time Listed: Two weeks
- Location: Tampa, FL
The UAS Pilot will utilize precision RPAS flight skills to collect top quality photo and video of completed land development projects. He or she will be responsible for the mapping and surveying data produced by the RPAS, conduct pre-mission planning, develop flight plans, check NOTAMS, check the weather, and coordinate airspace integration with any effected controlling agencies or privately owned properties.
FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate and k
Drone Spray Pilot, Application Dynamics
- Industry: Agriculture/Public Health
- Listing: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1192895547/
- Time Listed: One week
- Location: Lake Worth, FL
Application Dynamics operates in the field of agriculture and mosquito control. They are searching for a UAV pilot for a spray operation. The team is looking for someone to help them take the lead on new technologies in Public Health.
The applicant must be willing to obtain public health and aerial application license.
Senior Drone Pilot/Technical Specialist, Immersion Data Solutions
- Industry: Mapping & Surveying
- Listing: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1169009042/
- Time Listed: Two weeks
- Location: Greater Minneapolis-St.Paul Area
The Senior Drone Pilot/Technical Specialist with perform UAV-based imaging of select client sites, including piloting UAV missions, delivering UAV-based images, and conducting relevant data-collection uploads. The role will also involve managerial duties, overseeing a team of drone pilots, directing them in flight missions/projects and technical skills.
The applicant will benefit from a technical understanding of photography, lidar, and GPS principles. A Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate and 100+ hours of logged UAV flight experience are required.
Chief sUAS Pilot, Wing
- Industry: Drone Delivery
- Listing: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1108622244/
- Time Listed: Less than a month
- Location: Mountain View, CA
As the Chief Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Pilot at Wing, you will report to the Director of
This position lists requirements for both a commercial FAA aviation pilot certificate and Part 107 Remote Pilot certificate.
Flight Operations Manager 1, Northrop Grumman
- Industry: Government
- Listing: https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/view/1201934922/
- Time Listed: Less than a week
- Location: Sierra Vista, AZ
As a Manager of Flight Operations 1 at Northrop Grumman, you will be responsible for the performance of the Hunter Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) in an overseas tactical environment. This position will involve working with United States DoD and military organizations, but military experience is not required. In this managerial position, you will oversee the aircraft operator, payload operator, and maintain training and adherence.
This position requires 2 years experience with UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) or similar operations. Also required: Secret Security Clearance, a Bachelor’s degree in Leadership or Aviation discipline; or in lieu of formal education, 4-6 years directly related experience may be considered.
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.