The fee to obtain a drone license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is $160.00. This fee is for the license test only. Failure to score 70% or more on the test results in a re-test, carries an additional $160 fee.
Hello, fellow drone enthusiasts! My name is Lavelle and I am a licensed drone pilot with more than 10 years of experience flying drones for professional and recreational use.
In this article, I will discuss the differences between a drone license and a drone registration and who needs a license. I will also cover the steps required to get a drone license and offer the answers to some of the frequently asked questions.
- Key Takeaways
- Who Needs a Drone License
- How to Get a Drone License
- Final Thoughts
- Not every drone owner needs a drone license. However, for those who intend to use drones for commercial purposes, obtaining a drone license is essential.
- There is no expiration date on a drone license, but you need to renew it every two years.
- The exam fee for a drone license is non-refundable, so make sure you are fully prepared to pass the exam.
Who Needs a Drone License
Those who are seeking to fly drones professionally or for commercial use must obtain a remote pilot license/certification from the FAA.
Flying drones for recreational use does not require a license.
But if your drone is used only for recreational purposes and weighs more than .55 lbs, then it must be registered with the FAA.
The FAA defines commercial use as non-recreational and it does not matter whether you receive compensation directly or indirectly or at all.
How to Get a Drone License
Here are the steps you can take to get your drone license from the FAA.
Step 1. Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
The basic requirements for qualifying to get a drone license include:
- 16 years of age or older
- Ability to read, write, and understand English
- Be mentally and physically able to fly a drone
You can find the FAA guidelines here.
Step 2. Create an FAA Account and Schedule the Exam
The second step is to create an account on the FAA website. The process is easy. Simply go to the site and follow the instructions for setting up an account.
Step 3. Prepare for the Knowledge Test
After creating an account and scheduling the exam, begin preparing for the test. There are many online resources for test preparation. Some of the resources have a cost to them, while others are free.
The FAA website also has valuable resources to help you prepare for the test. The FAA suggests that you have at least 20 hours of study prior to taking the exam.
Step 4. Take a Part 107 Test and Get the License
Now that you have prepared for the exam and are ready to pass it, you can go to the test center and take a test.
The exam is a 60-question multiple-choice test. You need to get 70% or more of the answers correct to pass it. After successfully passing the exam, you will be given a form to submit to the FAA to obtain your license.
After you submit your information to the FAA, they will conduct a background check, and upon successful completion of the background check, the FAA will issue you a temporary certificate and you will receive the official license in the mail in about 30 days.
The FAA Remote Pilot license does not expire. However, the license must be renewed every 24 months. To renew your license, you will take a shorter, 40-question test. You still need a passing score of 70% or greater for license renewal.
Here are the answers to some of the frequently asked questions about the drone license.
Is It Worth Getting a Drone License?
Yes, is it worth getting a drone license, especially if you plan to fly your drone commercially. Commercial drone pilots have the opportunity to earn a substantial living as drone pilots.
Is It Hard to Get an FAA Drone License?
It is not extremely hard to get a drone license, however, it does take preparation. The 60-question exam covers a lot of important rules and regulations and is very specific to remote piloting scenarios.
How Long Does It Take to Get an FAA Drone License?
Most of the time, you can obtain your drone license within 14 days from the date that you create an account and register for the exam. The time may vary depending on your schedule.
Obtaining a Part 107 Remote Pilot License from the FAA is a very attainable goal for those who want to fly drones commercially. The license exam does take some preparation to pass it. Upon successfully passing the exam, the license is good for life and must be renewed every 24 months.
Do you hold a license for drones? Would you mind sharing any tips you have on getting the license? Please feel free to leave a comment and tell others about your experience.