How to get a drone pilot license

In the US, if you are flying a drone for your own entertainment or education, you don't need to have any kind of license from the FAA to fly that drone. The only requirement would be that the drone would have to be registered if it weighed more than 0.55 pounds (250 grams).

In the US, if the drone is being flown for commercial purposes, and if the drone weighs less than 55 pounds (25 kg), the person flying the drone will have to have to possess what the FAA calls a Remote Pilot Certificate. Below are some of the key points about the requirements for getting this certificate.

  • No flying experience is required: The FAA does not require any prior flying experience on any type of aircraft, including drones, in order to receive a Remote Pilot certification.
  • No need to demonstrate the ability to fly a drone: The tests that are required by the FAA do not require that the applicant demonstrate the ability to fly a drone or any other kind of aircraft.
  • Past or present ownership of a drone is not required: Someone can apply for, and receive, a Remote Pilot certification without actually owning a drone.
  • Current pilots can get certified by taking a free online test: Someone who has a current FAA pilot certification, including someone with a Sport Pilot or Private Pilot certificate, can take an online test in order to get a Remote Pilot certification. For this to be possible, that pilot has to have passed a flight review in the 24 months (two years) prior to their application to become a Remote Pilot. Current pilots can earn a Remote Pilot Certificate by passing on online test after completing the online cours "Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) ALC-451" available on the FAA FAASTeam website at
  • Others have to pass a different test: Pilots who have an FAA certification that is no longer current, and those without any prior FAA certification, have to pay for and take a more extensive test.
  • No medical exam is required: While applicants have to attest that they don't have any physical or mental condition that would prevent them from safety operating a drone, there is no requirement to have any kind of medical test to get a Remote Pilot certification.
  • The FAA provides extensive free study resources: The FAA provides a range of study resources, including practice tests, that an applicant can use to study for the test. Those resources include the same supplemental document that would be used in the test.

Below are some resources and key links to use if you wish to become an FAA-certified Remote Pilot

How to get a drone pilot license -- Revised 17 September 2016