Drone Certificate Course Rises To Soaring Demand For Pilots, Specialists

By Susan Spencer
Telegram & Gazette, Worcester, Mass.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) With the popularity of drones growing, one entrepreneur came up with the idea to expand courses on how to properly use them. Kathleen Manning has partnered with “DARTdrones”(a national drone-training company) to develop a drone certificate program.


Sometimes, inspiration takes off when you least expect it.

Kathleen Manning, dean of the Center for Workforce Development and Continuing Education at Quinsigamond Community College, was watching the ABC television show “Shark Tank” last February, in which budding entrepreneur and Babson College MBA graduate Abby Speicher pitched to investors her national drone-training company, DARTdrones.

“Right away I could see the workforce implications,” Ms. Manning said.

She envisioned a need for trained drone pilots, programmers, mechanics, aerial photographers and other specialists around the burgeoning field of what the Federal Aviation Administration calls unmanned aircraft systems, or UAS.

Ms. Manning contacted DARTdrones and partnered with the company to develop a drone certificate program, which she said was the first among Massachusetts community colleges.

The course, which will be offered in two full-day weekend sessions, Sept. 23 — Sept. 24 or Oct. 14 — Oct. 15, prepares students to take the exam for remote pilot certification under FAA regulations known as Part 107.

It provides in-person flight training and covers the basics of getting started with drones, safety guidelines, models and types of drones and industry trends. Additional classes will include aerial photography, test-preparation classes and learning how to start a drone business. Tuition is $1,250.

“This is not geared toward hobbyists,” Ms. Manning said. “This is a workforce class for people to use in the workforce.”

The distinction between recreational or hobby users of drones and nonrecreational or commercial users became significant a year ago when the FAA issued regulations outlining requirements for both types of UAS uses.

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