How to become a drone operator: Carys' story

Meet Carys who is a drone operator and hear her story of how she got there. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

What I really enjoy about being a drone pilot is going out and getting that shot.

  • Carys’ job is really varied. A typical day for her could be flying a drone for TV - for example for a live on-location broadcast - or filming a racing car going down the track
  • Carys did GCSEs and started A-levels before deciding to swap to do an HNC (Higher National Certificate) in Business and Finance. She knew she wanted to work in TV, so she started as a runner for a small TV production company, working her way up to assistant producer, and then working in the camera department of the BBC
  • Drone pilots can also work with the fire or mountain rescue services. And there are opportunities to operate drones where it is unsafe for humans to go - on high structures like wind turbines, communication towers and oil rigs
  • Her advice for anybody who wants to become a drone operator is to practice and learn how it works. You then need to obtain permission from the Civil Aviation Authority, which will involve going on a special course.

A similar role to a drone operator is a drone pilot. Drone pilots remotely operate aircraft used in work like surveying, filmmaking and aerial photography.

What to expect if you want to be a drone pilot

  • Drone pilot average salary: variable
  • Drone pilot typical working hours: 39 to 41 hours per week. You may work evenings and weekends

What qualifications do you need to be a drone pilot?

You could get into this role via applying directly or specialist courses run by private training organisations.

Sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service

This information is a guide and is constantly changing. Please check the National Careers Service website for the latest information and all the qualifications needed.

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