10 Drone Pilot Jobs For High Income

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When you were a kid, did you ever imagine anything like a drone? Well, you probably did see robot films where they take over the universe and rule over us humans. But that was back then. Today we’re living in 2021, and while robots aren’t ruling us, robotic technology is making our lives much more manageable.

Yes, if you haven’t guessed it already, we’re talking about drones.

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that do not need any human pilot to fly them, just someone to control them from the ground. Across the world, you can witness drones being used for a range of things from deliveries, security, vlogging, photography, monitoring road traffic accidents, getting too hard to reach places, military operations, and much more.

The list of reasons we require drones is evolving every day, and they’re making our lives easier. Not only that, but they are also creating a lot of new jobs These jobs are created for pilots, otherwise known as drone pilots.

We bet you weren’t that familiar with the drone job industry. Don’t worry, today we’re going to show you all the wonderful, stimulating, and exciting jobs available for drone pilots there are out there.

But before you can apply for a job, you must become a drone pilot.

How do I become a drone pilot?

To become a drone pilot in the USA, you will need to get a Remote Pilot US Certification. To do this, you must be at least 16 years old and fluent in English, i.e., you can read, write, speak, and understand it. Plus, you must be in peak mental and physical shape to fly any drone and pass the aeronautical exam. To know more on this exam and how to become a drone pilot, you can visit the Federal Aviation Administration Website.

Drone Pilot Jobs

1. US Army Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator

If you’re in the army, you could be a drone pilot. This job role involves working from the ground flying drones in America or anywhere around the world.

You have to be on standby, ready to send remote control drones to launch, land them successfully, and maintain them to run regularly. As a result of this, you also become trained in analyzing intelligence by interpreting the photos and videos taken from the drone.

You may also have to deploy bombs given the specific circumstances. To do this job you have to have a range of qualifications from high school and training in the army, you can find here. Salaries for this job can range between $19,527-$63,807.

2. Drone 3D Modeler

As a pilot, this job involves you flying a drone in many areas with a camera attached to it. The camera takes aerial photos and creates 3D models. The models help build an image of terrain for mining, urban planning, and civil engineering companies.

It mainly shows detailed 3D images that can help companies plan excavation works and determine the depths and length of roads that need to be built and any general hazards. This is not a popular job; you don’t find many pilots working as a Drone 3D modeler; therefore, you often can earn lots of money doing this job.

3. A Pilot for Law Enforcement and Emergency Response Teams

Many search and rescue missions are required for natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and much more in today’s world. Thus, many, law enforcement agencies need drone pilots to fly drones and get a bird’s eye view of the situation.

Sometimes they attach a thermal camera to inspect industrial equipment and power lines to detect abnormally high temperatures. Similarly, pilots in this industry may find themselves flying a drone with a speaker and a spotlight attached to it. This allows them to help find and retrieve people that are lost.

If you wish to work in this industry, law enforcement prefers to hire people in-house. Therefore, it may be best to get your foot in the door first and work for law enforcement before applying for this role.

4. Drone Photographer and Filmmaker

To be honest, there are many drone pilot jobs within the photography and filmmaking industry. There are that many jobs, it would probably take another blog post to write about them all! This is arguably the most important sector in the drone pilot industry, as many people work in this industry.

You can even make a living just by having your drone and camera. Many work as self-employed drone photographers taking photos. Once they’ve taken the images, they often sell them online, at events, to advertisers or to real estate companies.

On another note, if you have experience in filmmaking, you could become a drone pilot in the film industry. Most of the time, drone pilots who work in film often earn a lot more than those in photography.

Nowadays in the movies, there are so many scenes that have been shot by a drone and they’re pretty effective. Who knows, if you work with the right film production, you could make up to hundreds of thousands of dollars just for shooting small scenes.

5. Precision Agriculture Surveyor

Yeah, we know we mentioned an extensive list of reasons for drone usage earlier, but did you ever think of agriculture? This type of job is unique compared to other ones out there and is quite lucrative too.

To do this drone pilot job, you need more than a drone and a camera; you also need a third party accessory known as a multispectral sensor. This sensor detects energies of different frequencies, specifically those in the infrared areas.

What this device does is detect how healthy crops are. To be precise, it will catch the chlorophyll pigment that absorbs and reflects infrared energy.

As a pilot, your work will involve flying a drone over a farm, capturing data, and producing a map of multispectral data. Once the map is produced, it helps farmers better understand how to manage their crops’ health and use specific resources like fertilizers, irrigators, and pesticides.

Wine vineyards are just one example of a portion of the agricultural industry that is increasingly turning to drones to provide extensive 3D mapping, detailed crop health data, and for efficient pesticide delivery. You can learn more about pest and disease management practices in grape vineyards over at American Vineyards magazine.

6. Drone Flight Instructor

If you’re a people-person and love to spend your day chatting, teaching, and flying, then this could be the job for you. What’s great about this role is that you don’t require any additional certificates to teach! All you need is the license to fly a drone from the FAA.

Because of this, there are many instructors and organizations which set their own drone teaching rules. For example, some state specific years of experience flying drones, a manned pilots license, and/or additional courses. Therefore, if you want to work in this industry, be confident and driven, as it’s very competitive.

7. Amazon Prime Air Drone Pilot

Yes, you may know by now that Amazon has an efficient delivery service called Prime, where they use drones to deliver parcels to your door. Upon each order, they aim to have packages delivered within 30 minutes to a customer’s door. To get a drone pilot job for Amazon, you must have five years’ worth of flying experience and a certificate.

8. Drone Rooftop Inspector

If you’re a rooftop inspector pilot, your job role will involve using photography and 3D modeling. This job role often allows you to work closely with real estate agents, solar panel installers, homeowners, rooftop repair crews, and many other industries.

This job involves you flying a drone over a roof and reviewing the roof’s condition. As a pilot, you will have to fly in and out of the roof to assess the damage and conduct measurements before repair work can begin. You may also find yourself working for homeowners who want a standard way of inspecting their roof quality.

Plus, you’ll be doing more than just taking basic photos. As a rooftop inspector, you will have to use photogrammetry techniques. These techniques allow you to create a 3D model of the roof to inspect and see what needs repairing.

Skyworks Aerial Solutions is one company based in Atlanta, Georgia that specializes in rooftop inspections using drones. You can check out their site here.

9. DroneBase Pilot

DroneBase is the world’s largest company that conducts drone operations. Their clients can range from residential real estate, insurance, construction, and much more. All you need to do is have a license, a drone, and download their app. Once you’ve downloaded it, you can accept missions to fly your drone and get paid for doing it.

Just create an account, undergo the training provided by them, start flying, and earn money! When working for DroneBase, you can make anything from $49-$99 per package! You could do it as a part-time or even a full-time job.

10. Drone Power Line Inspector

In America, power lines can become damaged and require frequent maintenance to keep them running to supply power to homes and businesses. If you were to do this by hand, it would take a long time and be dangerous to inspect the damage. Therefore, this industry uses drones to identify the areas which need fixing fast.

Pilots can fly drones through narrow corridors over several miles in distance and use a thermal camera to detect damage. This camera uses imagery to detect objects with infrared energy, meaning they are way hotter than they should be under normal operating conditions. Working as a drone pilot power line inspector allows an inspection job to be completed in a couple of hours instead of several weeks.

Final Thoughts on Drone Pilot Jobs

Drones are still relatively new gadgets, and they’re evolving all the time. As drones become more advanced and develop more features, the jobs that one can do with a drone increase as well. Today there are more opportunities than ever for those who want to pilot a drone not just as a hobby, but as a primary source of income.

Most jobs you will find aren’t dull either; in fact, they’re well-paid. But remember, if you want to become a drone pilot, you must be at least 16 years old, fluent in English, and pass the aeronautical test. Once you’ve done that and you’ve earned your remote pilot’s license, you could be making some good money working as a drone pilot.

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Jeremiah Burnett

What started as a gift for my two sons turned into a major hobby for me! After playing with my sons' quadcopter one winter afternoon, I quickly became obsessed with all things drone. I enjoy precision flying, creating stunning and smooth aerial videos, and taking beautiful photos of my hometown.

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