Great news for U.S. veterans looking to get into the drone industry: there’s now an opportunity for veterans to get free drone training.
The United States Department of Veteran Affairs this month approved Drone Workforce Solutions (DWS) to cover all or part of the training costs to veterans through the GI bill. The courses are provided through Drone Workforce Solutions’ Drone School, which is the technology school arm of drone staffing company Drone Workforce Solutions.
The covered programs include DWS’s drone technology training program, Virtual Reality and 3D Virtualization training program, and Agricultural and Forestry Drone Collected Imagery training program.
To see if you’re eligible for the program and how much of your DWS class is covered, use the GI Bill Comparison Tool (depending on your service, you could be eligible for more or less money to cover tuition, and in some cases other extras like books too).
For example, veterans covered under cumulative Post-9/11 active-duty service after 36 months are eligible for DWS tuition of up to $24,477 annually. Plus they may be eligible for other expenses including housing and books.
The post-Sept. 11 G.I. bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush and went into effect in 2009. Under the bill, the government covers the full cost of in-state tuition for eligible veterans who attend state schools. It covers up to about $24,000 annually for private institutions, so that cold just be a partial amount, depending on the school.
The good news: the Drone Workforce Solutions courses typically cost far less than that. The Agriculture and Forestry Drone Collected Imagery Training Course, which comprises a total of 15 hours, spread throughout 3 weeks of 5 hour/week courses, costs $2,150.00.
The school is a subset of a larger company called Drone Workforce Solutions, which is an employment and staffing company focused on drones. The company also has a drone pilot portal to help link pilots up with jobs. The idea is that the portal vets FAA Part 107 certified commercial pilots with a full administrative backend, making it more appealing for corporate and government clients to hire the pilots listed there.
DWS also provides its own drone inspection services to clients from mining, delivery, and utility companies.
There are a number of companies that offer online drone training courses, ranging from simply training to get your Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate to more specific training courses for things like using drones for structure inspections.
The drone industry could be a lucrative way for veterans (or anybody, really) to break into a field that pays six-figures, and often involves working for yourself, not reporting to a boss or big company.
Not a veteran? There are other ways to get discounts on drone training. For example, Drone Pilot Ground School offers college scholarships for high school students, waived online test prep enrollment fees for students and more. And World of Drones Education is a web portal for educators that offers free drone education modules for classroom use.