Transport & Logistics

UAV Pilot or Drone Pilot

UAV pilots operate, maintain and repair UAVs used to gather data aerially.

  • Entry-level education

    VET qualification

    Private training course

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does an UAV Pilot or Drone Pilot do?

UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) pilots operate, maintain and repair UAVs used to gather data aerially. UAV pilots are also commonly known as drone pilots.


Work activities

As a UAV or drone pilot, you would:

  • pilot, maintain and repair UAVs
  • control UAV’s remotely,  or pre-program UAV’s to operate independently
  • operate digital cameras and digital sensing equipment
  • undertake aerial imaging and acquire the required data
  • process data into correct formats and provide to clients
  • keep detailed log books
  • submit administrative information as required to government authorities.

Key skills and interests

To become a UAV or drone pilot, you would need:

  • the ability to work with technology
  • good hand-to-eye coordination
  • the ability to read maps and 3D displays
  • to be reliable
  • to operate UAVs safely and according to government regulations. 

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

UAV pilots may be required to work non-standard hours, including weekends. Work is often on a contract basis. As this industry expands, more permanent roles are likely to become available.


UAVs are used in a growing number of areas, including firefighting, search and rescue, disaster relief, border patrol, weather monitoring, law enforcement, aerial photography and cinematography, and aerial surveying and geotechnical work.

You may be required to travel to work locations, which may be remote. You will work outdoors, and some of this work may be done in adverse weather conditions. You may also be required to spend nights away from home.


How to become an UAV Pilot or Drone Pilot?

Entry Level Education

To become a UAV pilot, and to fly UAV’s professionally in Australia, you are required to be suitably trained and certified by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). You must apply to CASA for a UAV Controller’s Certificate, and meet the requirements before a certificate is issued.

To run your own business, you will also need a UAV Operator’s Certificate, also issued by CASA.
A number of private training providers and Registered Training Organisations run courses which satisfy CASA requirements, including a Certificate III in Aviation (remote pilot). The current minimum age to gain a CASA certificate is 17 years.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of UAV pilots is projected to grow at about the average for all occupations.

UAV operations is a developing industry, which is showing strong potential for growth. Opportunities are likely to develop in two main areas- for dedicated pilots with strong technical skills, and in more traditional industries now being assisted with UAV technology, such as surveying, engineering, cinematography, photography, and agriculture.

Opportunities for UAV pilots are currently expected to double over the next 5-10 years.


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