During the past year, educational programs focused on the drone industry grew at an extraordinary rate. From high school courses teaching techniques for using drones in precision agriculture to college-level classes in geospatial data analysis, US educational institutions found new ways to bring needed training to students seeking to enter the UAV industry and to those already working in the field.

For Will Austin, President of Warren County Community College (WCCC) and Chief Pilot for Warren UAS, this expansion of academic programs and practical instruction is part of an ongoing effort on the part of schools to meet the demands of our growing industry. Speaking with Commercial UAV News during a recent Uncrewed Views podcast, Austin reported that his school started its Unmanned Systems Program in 2018 and has been adding new classes and programs ever since.

Austin explained that WCCC started with pilot training but quickly expanded to “data collection and analysis,” then on to “maintenance, repair, building, (and) programming.” He now believes that additional programs will be required to address two major areas that are changing the drone industry. First, expansion in the advanced air mobility sector, he said, will up the demand for skilled pilots. Austin also said that as the drone industry becomes more of a “merged industry” involving artificial intelligence, programming, and voice recognition, educators will need to focus more on “robotic build and development.”

Along with WCCC, schools around the country are stepping up to meet the needs of the uncrewed systems industry. Here’s a look at some recent developments in education and training.