drone and UAV training programs

Over 50 Drone Pilot Training Courses and Programs

This list below covers more than 50 of the best professional drone pilot training programs and UAV ground schools available in the world.

These courses are designed for people interested in piloting a UAV as a professional and/or running their own drone / UAV service.

I’ve also included a few programs that serious racing drone and camera drone operators may want to consider.

And, I included comprehensive introductory courses for people new to the industry.

The list has two parts: first, I cover online courses (organized by subject), then I list ground training programs (by country).


State of The UAV Training Industry

warning drones overhead safetyCommercial and professional use of in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned aerial systems (UASs) and drones (multi rotor and fixed wing) has really taken off in recent months.

With aerial photography and mapping invading so many industries today, governments around the world are introducing regulations that govern UAV operation and operators, to keep the public safe.

In the United States, for example, the FAA recently introduced Part 107 certification for UAV operators. The UK, Australia and Canada have also come up with new regulations and certifications for remotely piloted aircraft.

To keep up with these requirements, it has become essential that amateur and professional drone and UAV operators get the right kind of training.

The nature of the training you need depends on what you plan to do with your aircraft.

Luckily, a wide variety of UAV/UAS/drone training schools and online courses are springing up all over the world, to help.

One thing I discovered when compiling this list is that there are a LOT of training options out there now; so, whatever your skill level and specialization, there is probably something out there for you.

There are courses available for beginner pilots; courses to learn specific skills like aerial mapping and industrial inspection; and, courses for people who want to fly drones for fun. There are even courses that teach you how to build your own drone.

best drone for professional film and videoAnother trend I have seen rising for a while is the increasing variety in courses that teach people how to properly plan and shoot aerial photographs and professional video. Given that aerial photography is the biggest application of UAVs today, it makes sense there are plenty of courses for this.

Finally, I’ve noticed that industry-specific training courses have really taken off, this year.

For example, there are courses that teach commercial drone operators how to safely inspect industrial towers. Another course teaches you how to stitch images together to create topographical, NDVI and other types of industry-specific aerial maps.

If you are looking for career change into drone/UAV services, there are plenty of learning opportunities for that, as well.

With the proper training, certifications and experience, any drone enthusiast can now pivot into a high-paying career or even create their own drone service business.


How To Navigate This List

The list is organized into two main sections: first is a list of online courses.

If you prefer in-person training, then jump to the second section, which contains a list of ground training programs.

For international courses, jump to the bottom of the list.

To learn more about a course, touch or click the name to visit the educator’s website.

For the latest availability on a particular course, visit the educator’s website or contact the instructor directly.

Please leave your suggestions in the comments, below.

Good luck!


Online Drone Training Courses – By Subject

Part 107 UAV Operator Certification (USA)

Part 107 Ground School Study Guide

Instructor: Tim Trott
Cost: $50
Number of learners: 407
Part 107 of FAA regulations regarding the use of UAS (unmanned aircraft systems) requires drone operators to be proficient in 12 subject areas. This 2-hour course with 14 lectures will help you prepare for the test. The course has basic math as a basic requirement for those planning to undertake it.

Part 107 Prep Course: Test Questions

Cost: $24.95 for 90-day access
This course is designed specifically to help drone operators prepare for the new FAA Part 107 certification. Course materials include a vast database of test questions, practice tests and simulations of the real certification test. You can access course materials on your desktop, tablet or smartphone.

Part 107 Test Prep

Instructor: DARTdrones
Cost: $350
If you are preparing to take the FAA Part 107 exam, this course will help you prepare for it. It gives you access to a simulated test prep, 300 test questions, a student guide and ability to ask a chief pilot questions. The course is prepared by an expert team and is designed to make you fully ready to pass your Part 107 exam and become a certified UAS pilot.

FAA Remote Pilot Certification Course

Instructors: David Jensen, Alan Perlman, Lana Axelrod, Scott Lashmit
Cost: $299
This course prepares you for the FAA Part 107 certification exam. Course materials include thirty video lectures, 5 practice tests to simulate the real exam and real test questions. The course also includes flight proficiency training, which equips you with a drone pilot ground school diploma. “Over 99% of our students pass on their first attempt”.


Aerial Photography and Video

Aerial Videography: Drone Filming

Instructor: Drew Roberts and Nathan Labruzza
Cost: Free (on Skillshare – $8/month)
Number of learners: 5,399
Drew Roberts and Nathan Labruzza in collaboration with aerial cinematography company, Wild Rabbits, provide a captivating introduction to drone filming. You will learn cool camera moves, drone control, shot selection and safety among other lessons. The course comprises 11 videos totaling 44 minutes.

How To Tell Aerial Stories

Instructor: Alex Assenmacher
Cost: $65 (currently discounted to $19)
Number of learners: 611
Have you ever wanted to tell a beautiful story through drone filming? This is your chance. Through 46 lectures (totaling 4 hours) he shows you how to tell stories through aerial filming. The course includes lessons on proper flying, shot taking and film production.

Video Creativity: GoPro Cameras

Instructor: Greg Hung
Cost: Free (on Skillshare – $8/month)
Number of learners: 181
The South African-born but Canada-raised video and photography guru provides an in-depth look at GoPro filming whether in the air, on land or in the ocean. Made up of 20 videos, the 53-minute course begins with the basics of GoPro filming and slowly expands into some of the creative ways you can use a GoPro camera.

Aerial Photography and Videography

Instructor: Umair Vanthaliwala
Cost: $50 (Currently discounted to $19)
Number of learners: 923
Over the course of 12 hours and 80 lectures, you will become a master of shooting videos with a drone, safety and editing your great videos. Most importantly, the course guides you on how to start an aerial filming business.

Aerial Videography and Photography Using DJI Phantom 3 Professional
Instructor: Greg Hung
Cost: Access provided to premium account holders ($8/month)
Number of learners: 114
The DJI Phantom 3 Professional is one of the most powerful drones for aerial work. But it can be tough to handle and use safely. This course, consisting of 8 videos totaling 44 minutes, will guide you through the overview and basics of using the Phantom 3 Professional.

DJI Phantom Aerial Photography and Videography Basics

Instructor: Mark Richardson
Cost: $200 (currently discounted to $19)
Number of learners: 1,881
If you are just starting out on aerial photography and videography, this is one of the best courses. Over the course of 54 lectures and 2 hours he teaches things like choosing the right drone, customizing your drone and capturing amazing aerial shots.

Phantom Film School 3: 3D models, Focus, Follow & more

Instructor: Laurence Seberini
Cost: $40 (currently discounted to $19)
Number of learners: 1,069
Over 21 lecturers totaling up to 4 hours, you will learn master-level flying, filming and editing skills to turn you into a drone filming pro. The course uses a DJI Phantom as the main learning tool. At the end, you will be able to capture stunning cinematic footage and panoramas, edit them and create aerial 3D models.

Drone Aerial Photography and Videography

Instructor: Dr Bruce Geddes
Cost: $50 (currently discounted at $19)
Number of learners: 3,591
This course (77 lectures over 6 hours) combined stunning drone footage with important lessons on areas like video shooting, aerial photography, editing and the legal issues surrounding drone usage. This course is for anyone who wants to seriously get into videography and photography using a drone. You will be a master by the end of the course.

Aerial Post-Production Editing 

Instructor: Christian Tucci
Cost: About $250 (waiting list)
The post-production editing process is just as important as the shooting. Learning how to edit your creations can help you produce amazing projects and save money you would have spent hiring a professional editor. This course teaches you everything you need to know from adding music to correcting color and choosing the right drone.

Aerial Photography

Instructor: DARTdrones team
Cost: $100
Don’t just fly your drone around taking average shots. This 40-minute online course gets you on the journey to being a master aerial photographer. Lessons include drone angling to get the best shot, proper camera settings, how to work with the weather and a handy checklist every aerial photographer should keep handy.


Industry-Specific Training

Introduction to Aerial Thermography (Thermal Imaging)

Instructor: Brendan Stewart
Cost: Not currently open for enrollment
Unmanned Thermal imaging is an area that has grown in importance to energy, infrastructure and communication industries. Thermal imaging drones are used to perform safety and maintenance checks in places humans would typically not go. If you want to make money doing thermal imaging for companies, this course is a good place to start.

Precision Agriculture

Instructor: Enrique Quiñones
Cost: $200 (currently discounted to $19)
Number of learners: 178
If you are interested in the applications of UAVs in enhancing agriculture, this course is for you. It will introduce you to hardware and software requirements, flight planning and software processing. It includes 1.5 hours of lectures spanned over 23 videos.

Introduction to 3D mapping

Instructor: Enrique Quiñones
Cost: $200 (currently discounted to $19)
Number of learners: 376
If you are involved in 3D mapping projects whether in engineering, urban planning or law enforcement, this course will be hugely beneficial. It shows you how to achieve speedy, effective and affordable 3D mapping using drones. Over 17 lectures, the instructor will introduce you to hardware and software requirements, show you how to take measurements and open your eyes to many other 3D mapping applications of drones.

Mapping and 3D Modeling 101 

Instructor: Icarus Aerials team
Cost: $199
If you have ever thought about making money from your skills, this is a great place to start. The course teaches you how to use your drone for mapping and 3D modeling. You will be introduced to all the hardware and software requirements as well as the important techniques for capturing data and transforming it into maps and models.


Operating a Drone Business

Drone Business Seminars

Instructors: DARTdrones experts
Cost: $300
The course will teach youLearn everything you need to know to start your UAS / drone service business – the business laws surrounding UAS companies, how to properly insure your business and how to market your UAS business. These seminars are great for any drone operator considering making money from their craft. They equip you to successfully handle the business side of operating a drone service business.

UAS Foundation Course

Instructors: Unmanned Experts team
Cost: $800
If you are looking to get into UAS, this is one of the best courses to get you going. It is compact and fast paced yet comprehensive, covering a total of 19 modules. It begins with the basics of UAS classifications and command and control operations. It then delves into deeper topics such as human factors, payload options and UAS maintenance. There are a number of case studies and an intensive quiz at the end that lead to certification.

Cine Chopper University Drone Training

Instructor: Chris Newman
Cost: $1,497 (currently discounted to $797)
The price quoted above gives you lifetime membership to Cine Chopper University. You will get access to more than 30 hours of lectures, a course to prepare you for Part 107 certification, access to a community of drone flyers and mentorship from a pro. This is one comprehensive program to teach you everything about using a drone, taking pictures, shooting footage, editing and business training.

Drone U

Cost: $47/month
Another comprehensive program for those aspiring to be expert and certified drone operators. For $47 a month, you get access to various courses to help you advance your skills. You also get access to webinars, Q and As, expert interviews and an exclusive community. The program will not only make you a UAV expert, it will also guide you on how to turn your skills into a healthy income.

Hobby Training

Instructor: DARTdrones
Cost: $100
While many online drone courses are targeted toward those who want to become professional drone operators, this one is designed specifically for hobbyist flyers. You will learn all the important FAA rules, the different components of a drone and safety. If you have no interest in becoming a UAS professional but just want to fly drones for fun, this is for you.


Introductory Courses

Aviation Fundamentals

Instructors: Unmanned Experts team
Cost: $400
For those who want to get into UAS but have no prior aviation experience, this introductory course is highly recommended. It introduces you into basic aviation knowledge, expound on various topics like navigation systems, GPS, aerodynamics, radio communications and weather effects. The 7-lecture course will prepare you to undertake full training in drone operations and control.

Introductory Quadcopters Course

Instructor: Yogesh Ramakrishnan
Cost: $19
Number of learners: 1,235
This is the perfect course for someone with no background in drones. Even if you have a bit of experience, a deeper understanding of different parts of a drone and how they work will prove beneficial. The videos are easy to understand and there are clear instructions on what you need to buy and where to get them.

Hobby Training

Instructor: DARTdrones
Cost: $100
While many online drone courses are targeted toward those who want to become professional drone operators, this one is designed specifically for hobbyist flyers. You will learn all the important FAA rules, the different components of a drone and safety. If you have no interest in becoming a UAS professional but just want to fly drones for fun, this is for you.

National Drone School

Instructor: National Drone Schools
Cost: $199
This is a full UAV training course comprising various subject areas starting with the basics and then the intermediate and advanced lessons. Whether you have just gotten into drone flying or you have been doing it for some time, this course is great. The course is completely self-paced with plenty of video and audio materials to help you along.

Drone Masterclass: Your Complete Guide to DJI Drones

Instructor: Kate Kay
Cost: $175 (currently discounted to $19)
Number of learners: 2,107
After 21 lectures (1 hour total), you will become a master at flying DJI drones and using them for all sorts of aerial applications. This is a beginner course for people who have just started flying drones or are planning to start soon. Thus, the lessons start with the very basics. You will need to own a DJI Phantom or Inspire to follow the lessons.


Build Your Own

Build Your Own Quadcopter

Instructor: Mohiudin Malik
Cost: $19
Number of learners: 112
This is an introductory course for leaners that have no background in drones or aviation. You will be taught how to build your own radio-controlled drone and through the process, understand the various parts of a drone and how they work. The course is self-paced course with 26 lectures totaling 2 hours. Expect to spend around $250 on required parts.

Building a Racing Quadcopter

Instructor: Silvio Gollega Jr
Cost: $19
Number of learners: 447
Challenge yourself and put together a racing drone using this course. With a few tools, some bits and pieces you can get at an affordable cost and plenty of patience, you will be suprised at what you can construct. There are 47 (2.5 hours) easy to follow videos with instructions on everything you need to get going.


UK Commercial Drone Certification

3iC Remote Pilot Authorization Course (UK)

Instructor: Unmanned Experts
Cost: $1,500
This is a UK-based online course to prepare learners for the UK Commercial Operations accreditation. The 8-module course introduces students to subjects like aircraft regulations, radio communication and safety among others. You do not need any prerequisite qualification and successful completion is rewarded with a certificate. It also sets you up for entry into the next 3iC qualification course.


UAV Ground Training Programs – By Country

UNITED STATES

UAV Pilot Training

Instructor: Unmanned vehicle University
Cost: $3500
This program consists of three phases. The first phase is the theory part and is web-based. It introduces the basics of UAV piloting. The second phase involves working with a UAV simulation to give you a feel of what reality is like. In the final phase, you are scheduled for a 2-day in-person training program at one of the many flight training centers they have in the US.

UAS Flight Training 

Instructor: Unmanned Experts
Cost: $895 for 2.5-day boot camp, $1,795 for 7-day academy
There are three levels offered under this program by Unmanned Experts. The first is a 2.5 day introductory boot camp designed for beginners. The second is a 7-day academy for UAS fliers who want to explore advanced drone applications. The third is an advanced program designed for operators in specific industries, including:

  • Power & Gas Transmission Inspections
  • Forensic Accident Scene Reconstruction
  • Mapping, GIS and Photogrammettry
  • Law Enforcement Tactical Operations
  • Bridge Inspections
  • Cell Tower Inspections
  • Oil & Gas Facility Inspections

Introduction to Drones

Instructor: Drone Universities
Cost: $2,000-$3000 plus a $250 deposit
This beginner course stretches over 2 days and covers six units. The course is meant to introduce learners to the world of drones and teach them to fly a DJI Phantom 3 or 4. At the end of the course, you are allowed to take home the drone of your choice and you will also take an FAA ground exam that prepares you for job placement.

Drone School

Instructor: DARTdrones
Cost: $220 for large groups, $320 for small groups, $520 for an individual private session
This program begins with an online course that introduces learners to FAA rules and provides the basics of using a DJI Inspire or Phantom. You then choose a location near you where you will receive in-person flight training. There are also training programs ($580) and UAS certification programs ($1,460-$7,500).

UAV Moving Vehicle Operation

Instructor: Unmanned Vehicle University
Cost: $3,500
Operating a UAV from a moving vehicle may be at times necessary to increase coverage area, provide weather protection and provide safety. This course prepares professionals on how to operate a UAV from a moving vehicle while maintaining operation quality and safety. The course is targeted towards industries like mapping, search and rescue, survey and engineering.

Advanced Aerial Videography and Photography

Instructor: Drone Universities
Cost: $1000 plus a $250 deposit
The 3-unit course taught over the course of one day transforms you from an ordinary UAV flier to a master at taking breathtaking shots from the sky. You will be able to practice numerous techniques and moves and get immediate feedback from instructors.

Emergency Services Drone Training

Instructor: DARTdrones
Cost: Custom quote
This is a customized program designed for the needs of a specific client be it the fire department, SWAT team, police or emergency rescue services. The program covers everything from safety and insurance need, federal and local codes regarding UAVs, buying and maintaining drones and consultation on legal issues.

Night & Infrared Operations Certificate

Instructor: Unmanned Vehicle University
Cost: $3,500
Infrared UAV operations are necessary in various fields including security, search and rescue, equipment inspection and emergency services. The program teaches everything you need to know about conducting UAV flights in twilight or completely dark operations while still maintaining safety.

Drone GIS and Mapping

Instructor: Drone Universities
Cost: $1,000 plus a $250 deposit
The one-day curse involves three units teaching learners how to fly a drone and collect meaningful data that can be used in mapping. Lessons include flight planning, safety, altitude control and camera settings. This course can help you launch your own UAV mapping services for agriculture, land surveying and more.

UAV Pilot Training

Instructor: Homeland Surveillance and Electronics
Cost: $3,000 (currently discounted to $1,999)
This intensive 5-day course is offered on-location in Denver, Colorado. It combines a range of lessons including indoor flight training, outdoor flight training, aerial data collection and post data processing. Suitable as a first course for operators in many different industries including:  inspection, mining operation, geological mapping, aerial photography, agriculture, real estate, surveys, construction, utilities, pipeline, telecomm, railroads, maritime, news media, farming, ranching, forestry, land management and more. Visit their website to see the training calendar for 2016 and 2017.

National Drone School

Instructor: National Drone Schools
Cost: $3,500
This program is completed in three stages. The first two stages are completed at home. The first one covers the basic theoretical part of drone training while the second involves the use of a drone simulator. The third phase involves 2-day in-person training at one of the various flying centers around the country. Primary location is in San Diego, CA. 

Tower Inspection

Instructor: Unmanned Experts
Cost: $2,000
This 4-day course is the first industrial tower drone inspection program to be provided in the US. Learners will be equipped with the knowledge and skills the need to conduct surveillance and maintenance checks on industrial towers with effectiveness and safety as priorities. Contact the website to find out the location of their next training.

Drone Flying

Instructor: US Drone Training
Cost: $189-$249
This is an inclusive class covering the introduction, beginner and advanced levels of UAV operations. The course will not only teach you how to handle and fly a drone, you will also learn how to start a business using the skills you have learnt. Contact the website to find out locations for the next training. They can also come to your city for additional charges. US Drone Training also offers a unique $25,000 “start a business with us” program for drone operators who want to create a new drone service for themselves.


AUSTRALIA

Remote Pilot License

Instructor: RPAS Training and Solutions
Cost: $2700
This is an intensive 5-day training course designed for flyers who want to fly drones commercially. The course will prepare you for a UAV Controller Certificate (ReOC) or a Remote Pilot License (RePL). The program includes both theoretical and practical flight training. Lessons are conducted across various cities in Australia. Visit the website to see the schedule for upcoming months.

RPAS Pilot Training

Instructor: Australia Unmanned Systems Academy
Cost: $4,380
The five-day course equips learners with an RPAS license and prepares them for commercial UAV operations. Training is done with both fixed wing and multi rotor drone systems. Visit the website to find future training dates and locations.

7kg to 20kg CASA Manufacturer Training for DJI Spreading Wing UAVs

Instructor: Rise Above
Cost: $550
CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority), requires drone operators to receive UAV manufacturers training. This 2-3 hour course will take you through a CASA approved syllabus plus additional lessons on landing and takeoff and safety when flying. At the end of the course, each learner is awarded a certificate.

Hobby Drones Flight Training

Instructor: Rise Above
Cost: $100 per hour
This is strictly a flight training session with no theory involved at all. It is aimed at helping drone fliers get additional flying skills. The session lasts one hour. Contact the company to find out the exact location of the training. Additional costs apply if you are more than one.

Professional Drone Flight Training

Instructor: Rise Above
Cost: $150 per hour
This 1-hour session is designed specifically for drone fliers who want to boost their skills in professional UAV operations. Whether your field is photography, videography, mapping, surveillance or inspection, this course will equip you with the basics of professional drone flying. Contact the company for the specific location of the training.

Sub-7kg Manufacturers Training For DJI Inspire and Phantom Series

Instructor: Rise Above
Cost: $330
This CASA required training focuses on UAV systems that are below 7KG. The course uses several drone models including DJI Phantom 2 Vision and DJI Inspire 1. In addition to a standard CASA curriculum, you will be taught the basics of landing and takeoff as well as in-flight safety.

Radio Operator Certification

Instructor: Rise Above
Cost: $275
Getting a Radio Operator Certificate of Proficiency is a mandatory step in getting UAV certification. The course takes several hours and will introduce you to the basics and requirements of radio operations and communications as a UAV operator.


UNITED KINGDOM

Unmanned Aircraft Qualification (UAQ) Training

Instructor: UAV Air
Cost: £1,249
This course teaches you everything you need for UAQ certification. The course includes an online session, in-person learning with test, practical flight training, manual development and ongoing support. If you already have a PPL license or you know how to use a drone and just need the certification, lower prices are available. The course is offered in several cities across the UK.

Commercial Drone Training

Instructor: NATS
Cost: Customized quote
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) requires operators of commercial drones to have the requisite training and certification. This course provides exactly that. It is perfect for those planning to carry out survey, mapping, inspection or any other commercial work.

Basics of Drone Flying

Instructor: UAV Air
Cost: £500 per person per day
Perfect for beginners, this course will get you started on the road to drone flying. It begins with the fundamentals of UAV flight and equips you with important techniques and maneuvers to boost your flying confidence. Even experienced flyers can take advantage of this course to add to their skills and obtain UAQ certification.

Remote Pilot Certification

Instructor: RUSTA
Cost: £750
This CAA-approved course offers training to drone operators who wish to get into commercial operations, whether for themselves or as contractors to clients. The two-phase course is held on different dates around various locations in the UK. See the website for the schedule.

Search and Rescue Training 

Instructor: UAV-Air
Cost: Customized quote
If you are involved in search and rescue operations, this course will equip you with additional skills to boost safety and save lives. It begins with a 3-hour basic awareness session, then 1/2 day to 1 day observer understanding session and a 1-hour introduction to flying. It also includes simulation and 2-day ground school.


SPAIN

Drone Flight Training

Instructor: UAV Air
Cost: €4500
This course takes place in a specialized UAV training center in South-East Spain. The 5-day course introduces comprehensive lessons on safety, maneuvers, control, regulations and maintenance.


CANADA

UAV Training

Instructor: Waterloo Wellington Flight Center
Cost: $549
This course is designed for both commercial and hobbyist UAV operators. The program introduces learners to different categories of UAVs, current regulations regarding the use of drones and important techniques of flying a drone. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the 3-day course.