Here Are The Top 15 Drone Training Colleges
Be honest with me; you didn’t even know such things existed. Flying an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) or an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) is a fun toy, although military surveillance and attack aircrafts that cost over $21 million, can have up to 130-foot wingspan, and can be equipped with missiles might rule the world.
Regardless, it has been speculated that the commercial and military impact UAV’s will have in the coming years is very significant, creating more than 100,000 new jobs by 2025, with an economic impact of $82 billion. Career opportunities for students with drone training include military drone pilot, firefighter, disaster relief, search and rescue, law enforcement, oil and gas operations, and more.
As of June 2016, the FAA released the guidelines for commercial use of drones, with colleges across America are meeting the demand for drone training by offering certificates, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in piloting, engineering, and repairing drones. Where do you want to go from there, that is the question.
As you ponder, allow us to reveal a list that might get you started.
- 1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
- 2. Oklahoma State University
- 3. Indiana State University
- 4. Kansas State University, Salina
- 5. University of North Dakota
- 6. Liberty University
- 7. Troy University
- 8. Lewis University
- 9. University of Louisiana at Monroe
- 10. Northwestern Michigan College
- 11. University of Nevada, Reno
- 12. Middle Tennessee State University
- 13. Unmanned Vehicle University
- 14. Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
- 15. SKYOP
1. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Through the ROTC program, Embry-Riddle graduates more pilot cadets than any other institution outside military academies. This school was the first in the nation to offer post-graduate education in drones, allowing you to build drones or learn how to fly them. Interesting.
2. Oklahoma State University
Known as America’s Healthiest Campus, Oklahoma State will allow students to choose between the Master’s of Science or PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Test flights are performed at a dedicated UAS facility, where an aircraft hangar, control room, 2 runways, and a 1 mile/1 mile flight area of open land will aid in the training of future pilots. Let’s fly!
3. Indiana State University
Indiana State University was established in 1865 and has grown with the times, with now over 100 majors and state-of-the-art technology. In 2013 their Center for Unmanned Systems and Human Capital Development was created, with their bachelor program providing education in using air, land, and marine vehicles – take your pick.
4. Kansas State University, Salina
KSU is well known for its elite aviation program, with more Master Certified Flight Instructors at Kansas State than any other University. The school is ideally located directly across from a 12,000-foot runway, which means endless opportunities to practice.
5. University of North Dakota
The state’s oldest and largest University offers state of the art technology and access to restricted airspace over Camp Grafton South Training Area, R5401. Over 13,000 square miles of airspace is available for test flights and operations; feel free to crash as much as you want.
6. Liberty University
Students at Liberty University can pursue flight training with the convenience of flexible online courses. The Unmanned Aerial Systems is a hybrid program with both online and on-campus required work and is offered at the Bachelor’s level.
7. Troy University
Originally founded in 1887, this school opened up a new minor to students in unmanned aerial systems as part of the Bachelor of Applied Science in Resource and Technology Management – Aviation Ops only three years ago; nonetheless, it made it to this list. What does that tell you?
8. Lewis University
All students are welcomed and encouraged by accomplished professors to join the top ten programs by U.S. News & World Report. The University has the added benefit of an on-site airport for operations and test flights and boasts of the most modern, hi-tech aviation education centers in the country. What more could you ask for?
9. University of Louisiana at Monroe
The University of Louisiana joined in 1939 other universities around the country to help train pilots for WWII. Unmanned Aircraft Systems have become a part of that program, with students having the option of pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation with a Concentration in Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
10. Northwestern Michigan College
Home to Dennos Museum Center, Lobdell’s Teaching Restaurant, and Roger’s Observatory, Northwestern Michigan College, there are various opportunities for students, including UAS operator training.
11. University of Nevada, Reno
Starting January of 2014, the University of Nevada opened a minor degree program in unmanned autonomous systems through the College of Engineering. This school will allow students who are enrolled in the Computer Science and Engineering program, the Electrical and Biomedical Engineering program, or the Mechanical Engineering program test their flying skills.
12. Middle Tennessee State University
Boasting a new 250,000-square-foot, $147 million Science Building, this university benefits a state-of-the-art technology and frequent hands-on experiential learning meant to aid students in obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace with a concentration in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations. The 25 planes with modern technology will surely be fun to fly.
13. Unmanned Vehicle University
Licensed by the State of Arizona Board of Education, this school has instructors highly educated and experienced with PhD’s in Engineering and combined flight experience of over 60,000 hours.
14. Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
The Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology’s main focus has been to train successful pilots. Many of the instructors have been recognized as the best in the country and provide experienced-based, hands-on education. The certification for a professional pilot’s license can be completed in as little as one year.
SkyOp is an educational organization located in New York that has partnered with Monroe Community College and Mohawk Community College to offer instruction and training in small unmanned aerial systems.
A. Monroe Community College, Corporate College
Monroe was the first school in New York educating pilots and technicians to operate drones, with students training on Syma X5C Quadcopters, AeroSIM flight simulators, DJI Phantoms, 3DRobotics and custom hexi-copters with dual radio controls. Cool!
B. Mohawk Valley Community College, Center for Corporate and Community Education
The college offers a non-credit training program for Unmanned Aerial Systems. A wide variety of basic topics are covered, and each student receives a small quadcopter and flight simulator software to practice. Fun times, with a degree at the end.