With lower cost, video based drone operator training options available, are drone colleges really worth it? While virtual drone schools may initially save you money, you get what you pay for. Here are just a few of the disadvantages of video based training:
- Video based training requires an abundance of self motivation since the atmosphere of classroom isn’t there.
- You will have limited access to the presenter when questions need to be asked.
- You may not have the opportunity to engage in real time participation.
- If you are not computer literate, loading educational video may be a difficult or frustrating process.
- Distance learning sessions deprive you of the “hands on” training that you would get.
- The absence of the social atmosphere may prohibit your motivation.
- The absence of feedback on your performance may prevent you from receiving necessary advice that is critical to you.
How expensive are drone colleges like Drone Universities? Let’s evaluate the cost a theoretical student, who already has a SPL (Sport Pilot License), would pay to become a commercially ready aerial photography and videography drone operator.
Total Cost: $3,000
Now our theoretical student already has a SPL, so once verified, this student would be considered a Commercially Ready Drone Operator and Drone Universities would petition the FAA for a Section 333 Exemption on their behalf. The retail value of our Section 333 Exemption petition for individuals is $3,500, so the adjusted total cost of this student’s education is -$500. Yes, that’s negative $500. This student will have:
- Certified as a Commercially Ready Drone Operator, with a Mastery of Photography/Videography
- A Section 333 Exemption
- A new DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter
- Hands-on Training with Real-time Feedback
- Passed FAA Ground School
- All Appropriate FAA Documents
- FAA paperwork filing assistance
- A FAA-H-8083-3A Flying Handbook
- A FAA Written Test Endorsement
- Customized Pilots Log Book
For students without a SPL, the cost of SPL training will need to be figured in. Pricing will vary, based on the student, but you can expect $5,000 to $8,500. While we offer SPL training in San Diego and Denver, you can get your SPL from any provider.
If you want to work as a commercial drone operator today, you will need to have a SPL because it’s a requirement, set by the FAA, for Section 333 Exemptions. That means even if you decide to go with video training, you can’t skip your SPL training or your Section 333 Exemption, so you need to factor in another $8,500-$12,000 for your SPL and 333.
Are drone universities worth it? The answer is yes.