As the popularity of droning has risen, so has the demand for drone pilots. Once the stuff of only Hollywood and National Geographic, drone videos are now all of over commercials, YouTube, and Instagram.
Everybody wants a drone video, so it’s undeniably a great moment to become a drone pilot. But what makes drone piloting a good career option for location independence?
Drone piloting is gig-based.
Although it used to be that drone pilots had to hustle for their own work, more and more platforms are popping up that seamlessly match drone pilots with clients. A steady stream of available work means that you can smoothly fit droning gigs into your life, using them to supplement your income or support yourself entirely.
Since droning is gig-based, it’s also easier to fit it between periods of travel, alternating work and play. Alternatively, it’s possible to choose a new location and then find work in the area after you arrive.
Professional drone pilots can make $100/hour or more. In fact, some companies pay thousands of dollars for a single day of capturing video with a drone. Simpler real-estate gigs often pay several hundred dollars for a few hours of work.
Demand is growing.
Just like the Internet changed the game for retail and entertainment, drones are reshaping construction and agriculture by making aerial imaging accessible. According to Goldman Sachs, the market opportunity for drones will reach $100 Billion by 2020. The market opportunity for construction itself is expected to exceed $11 Billion.
Become a drone pilot.
Interested in becoming a professional drone pilot? Here are the steps forward:
1. Study for the FAA’s certification exam.
Although you can legally fly a drone without a certification, in order to make money with your drone requires you to pass an exam administered by the FAA. The test covers laws and regulations related to drone piloting and best practices for droning safety.
2. Pick a drone.
For drone videography and photography, the DJI Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro 2 are both excellent, highly-recommended drones. Depending on your needs and price point, you may want to do more rigorous research to figure out which drone is right for you.
3. Sign up for the exam.
The aeronautical test is given at testing centers all around the U.S. The test costs $150, so you do want to pass it on your first try. But after that—you’re good to go! Legally, you can start making money as soon as you leave the testing center.
4. Practice your drone photography and/or videography.
The good news? There are plenty of simple real-estate gigs that will pay you while you practice.
If you do want to become a professional drone pilot, check out our Commercial Droning Course. It includes everything you need to become a pilot, including how to pass the FAA’s exam, a guide to drone videography, and resources for finding your first clients.