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How to become a Drone Operator

Drone Operators are people who are qualified and skilled at operating remote controlled drones. They can work in a huge variety of industries, including aviation and transport, the defence force, STEM, arts and recreation, agriculture, and more. Tasks can vary from taking aerial photographs, planting seeds remotely, surveying landscapes, moving equipment, and so much more.

If you want a challenging and varied career, have a passion for aviation and technology, and are keen and innovative, this could be the perfect career for you.


About you:


  • Skilled with your hands
  • Technologically literate
  • Excellent problem solver
  • Good communicator
  • Innovative and curious
  • Adaptable and creative
  • Can work well in teams and independently
  • Aware of aviation regulations


The job:


  • Remotely operating drones in line with safety regulations
  • Taking images and video while in the air
  • Downloading data from drones onto other devices
  • Using drones to move a variety of items
  • Performing surveying and mapping work
  • Maintaining and repairing drones and equipment
  • Duties can vary greatly depending on the industry you work in


Lifestyle Impact: Varies


  • Because Drone Operators can work in so many industries, average pay and work hours vary drastically.
  • You will have the opportunity to do work indoors as well as out in the field, depending on the industry you work in.


Drone Operators are most in demand in these locations:


As a Drone Operator, you will likely be able to find a job in almost any industry, and all across Australia. Here are some potential industry options:

  • Arts and Recreation: taking aerial photography and video for events
  • Aviation and Transport: using drones to deliver parcels, working in air traffic control
  • Construction: using drones to survey potential construction sites, remotely checking the progress of construction
  • Education: teaching others how to operate drones and obtain a Remote Pilot’s License
  • Environment: remotely surveying crops and livestock, inspecting the health of reefs and rainforests, spotting endangered wildlife
  • Government and Defence: providing tactical information to Defence, guide weapons systems
  • Hospitality and Retail: using drones to fetch items from warehouses, remotely serve customers
  • IT: coding and programming new software for drones to increase their capability
  • STEM: conducting geospatial surveys, heatmapping, surveying wildlife and land health


How to become a Drone Operator in Australia


Most places will require you to have a Remote Pilot’s License (RePL) in order to operate drones safely and effectively.


Step 1 – Complete at least Year 10 with a focus on English and Maths.


Step 2 – Obtain an Aviation Reference Number (ARN).


Step 3 – Find a certified training provider and undertake your RePL.


Step 4 – Pass all theoretical and practical requirements.


Step 5 – Find an industry you’d like to specialise in.


Find out more here –




Similar Careers to Drone Operator


Air Traffic Controller

Aircraft Pilot

Delivery Driver

Logistics Manager

Defence Force

Picker and Packer


Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Drone Operators do?


A Drone Operator’s main duty is to fly and maintain a variety of remote operated vehicles. Other duties can vary greatly depending on the industry you work in.


Which industries employ Drone Operators?


Drone Operators are employed in almost every industry.


What options are there for career progression?


You might start out working for a company or someone else, then move on to providing freelance services. You could even consider starting your own business.


Do I need to go to university to become a Drone Operator?


Not necessarily. However, you will likely need to obtain a Remote Pilot’s License (RePL).


Where do Drone Operators work?


Drone Operators are needed all across Australia, and the world.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Drone Operator?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Drone Operator is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Buy a drone and start using it for recreational purposes. Make sure you familiarise yourself with any airspace restrictions.
  2. Talk to someone who works as a Drone Operator or watch videos and find out what a day in their life is like.
  3. See if you can find work experience in the industry you’re interested in. This is a great way to build valuable skills and make connections for the future.

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