5 Best Online Drone Schools for FAA Test and Top Free Courses

Here are the best online drone schools to help you improve your drone skills in various categories. From photography and videography to starting a drone business and more.
The best online drone schools on the market.
We’ve rounded up the best online drone schools to help you improve your drone skills in all aspects!

Are you looking for the best online drone schools to prepare for the FAA Part 107 certificate test? Or are you looking for the best drone training program to improve your skills in aerial photography or other applications? You have landed at the right place!

After spending dozens of hours taking courses, I stumbled upon some excellent quality classes. I also attended a lot of crappy courses that weren’t worth the time and money.

So I’ve put together this guide to help you avoid the pitfalls I fell into. These are the best online drone schools that I’m very happy with, or that have a good reputation in the field.

Quick Tips to Take the Best Courses for Free

Go to Skillshare or LinkedIn Learning. Register a free account. There you can access all the courses on the platform for free for 14 to 30 days. Just type in “drone” or “aerial” in the search bar and off you go. A ton of professional courses pop up!

Both of these platforms offer excellent training that is definitely worth your time. You won’t end up hearing the instructor selling a lot of byproducts. Nor will you listen to his or her endless self-promotion.

Find yourself a vacation and scoop up their trial period to make the most of it. Enjoy professional courses at zero cost!

Here are some great free courses I recommend:

How to Use This Best Online Drone Schools Guide?

  1. I have categorised all the courses according to the skills they focus on. This way you can make a beeline for the skill you are up to.
  1. For each recommended course, I list the program name, the price, the duration, the special benefit, and the description.
  1. You can click on the link to visit the official website for more details.
  1. Many of the courses offer a free session so you can get a taste of the lecture. Make sure you try them out before you pay the full cost.
  1. You will get a feel for whether you like the type of classes. You will also know the teaching style of the instructors by taking advantage of the trial period.

Table of Contents

#1 Introductory Courses
#2 Drone License Preparation Courses
#3 Aerial Photography Courses
#4 Aerial Videography Courses
#5 Drone Business Courses
#6 Industry-Specific Training Courses
#7 Ground Training

#1 Introductory Courses

Just bought your new drone and wondering how to fly it properly? Still having trouble with some basic moves? Check out our detailed instructions on How to Fly a Drone here.

There is this great platform to quickly learn the essential skills – YouTube!

You may think that this is a no-brainer. But it isn’t. There are so many recommendations out there that will tempt you to spend hundreds of dollars on training just to learn the basics. But no, you don’t need them.

If you have a budget to spend on training, pay for the specified advanced skills I list below.

How can you cut through all the noise on YouTube? Do a search for your drone model. There will be a stack of beginner videos tailored for you.

If you own a DJI or Parrot drone, check out their official YouTube channels with tutorials:

#2 Drone License Preparation Courses

You must register your drone and get a drone license if you are flying for non-recreational purposes. You can find more information about the FAA Remote Pilot Certificate to fly under Part 107 here.

Many of the drone license preparation courses offer unlimited lifetime access. You may be thinking, what’s the point of lifetime access if you’ve already passed the exam? It’s because you have to take the exam again!

What’s the Point of Lifetime Access to the Prep Course?

The FAA requires drone pilots to take a retest every 2 years to keep their certificate current. You can look upon it as license renewal.

The exam will be easier than the first. But the FAA will update the content based on the latest developments in drone technology and aviation regulations.

So, you will be able to study for the retake exam more efficiently if you have access to drone school materials. Most of them offer courses specifically for the retake exam.

Drone Pilot Ground School

Course fee: $299

Duration: 15 to 20 hours

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access

Benefits: Full refund of exam fee if you fail on the first attempt.

This is the most popular drone license preparation course on the market. It prepares you for the FAA Remote Pilot Certificate to fly under Part 107.

The course includes 30 video lessons and 5 mock tests to simulate the real test. The course claims that more than 99% of students pass the test on the first try, which is promising.

The school is famous for the practical cram sheet. It can help your study. The responsive customer service will respond to students’ questions quickly.

Apart from the multiple-choice based tests, the course provides students with flight skills training. It teaches you all the essential skills to fly a drone. It will also grant you a diploma to prove your skills.

Students can access the UAV Coach Community. It provides pilots with a dedicated network to connect with each other. It also sends members newsletters to keep them updated with the latest trends of the drone market.

DARTdrones – Online Part 107 Test Prep

Course fee: $350 (occasionally reduced to $250)

Duration: 10 to 20 hours

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access

Benefits: Full refund of exam fee if you fail on the first attempt.

Another established industry player that provides excellent training for the FAA Part 107 exam. It gives you access to a simulated test prep with over 300 test questions. It also allows you to raise questions to their chief instructor. Its students have a 99% pass rate on their first attempt.

Drone Launch Academy – FAA Remote Pilot Exam Prep Course

Course fee: $199

Duration: 5 to 15 hours

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access

Benefits: Full refund of tuition and exam fees if you fail on the first attempt, provided you have passed an internal course exam.

Drone Launch Academy is the perfect choice if you are on a budget. Although it is less comprehensive and has a smaller student base than the above giants, the pass rate is up to 99% too.

It offers video lectures with more than 200 practice questions. That includes real FAA questions. It also has a 75-page e-book study guide.

It also offers a large drone community that allows you to connect with other drone pilots. Its newsletters and podcasts are pretty useful. There is a step-by-step guide to make $100,000 with your drone!

Pilot Institute – Part 107 Commercial Drone Pilot License Course

Course fee: $249 (occasionally reduced to $149)

Duration: 13 hours

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access 

Benefits: Full refund of tuition and exam fees if you fail on the first attempt.

Pilot Institute offers an easy to understand course. It splits the lecture videos into short clips that are handy and don’t overwhelm you. The reading it offers is also light.

It is the only drone school that offers a mobile flashcards app on Android and iOS. The cheatsheet there also allows you to skim all the essential concepts quickly before you enter the exam centre.

Drone U – FAA Part 107 Certificate Test Prep

Course see: $47 per month / $470 per year

Duration: 11 to 20 hours

Course access: Unlimited access in valid time

Benefits: Access to a variety of drone courses with a single payment.

If $150 is still a bit too steep for you, try Drone U, which gives you options to sign up on a time basis. You can start from $47 per month and enjoy unlimited access to all their courses. One month should be more than enough for you to complete the drone license test prep.

Drone U is a comprehensive drone school that offers online and in-person training. With a single membership, you not only grant access to their license prep course but also to a host of courses. That includes drone mapping, 3D modelling, search and rescue, FPV racing.

#3 Aerial Photography Courses

LinkedIn Learning – Learning Aerial Photography with Drones

Course fee: $45 (1-month free trial)

Duration: 4 hours

Course access: Unlimited access in valid time

Benefits: LinkedIn Learning offers users a 1-month free trial. So you can complete the course for free.

This is the only aerial photography course on LinkedIn Learning, and it’s great. Richard Harrington and Francis Torres explain how to use a camera drone to take aerial photos and panoramas.

They talk about photoshoots, including single images and multi-image panoramas. They also cover preflight best practices, location scouting and shooting strategy.

You’ll spend half the course learning post-processing techniques. They will show you how to touch up aerial images in Lightroom, Photoshop, and PTGui.

DARTdrones – Aerial Photography and Videography Online Course

Course fee: $150

Duration: 85 minutes

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access

Benefits: Participants receive a $50 credit toward any other DARTdrones course.

This course will get you started on becoming a master of aerial photography. Lessons include the best camera settings, camera angles, colour and controller settings, and lots of fancy shooting moves.

The course also comes with an extensive alumni network. It allows you to connect with other classmates and professional drone photographers.

Udemy – Drone Photography | Shooting Professional Photos With Any Drone

Course fee: $74.99 (occasionally reduced to $12.99)

Duration: 2 hours

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access

Benefits: 30-day refund guarantee if you don’t like the course.

This course will take you from beginner to professional drone photographer. You’ll get drone photography tips you need to start shooting right away. The course uses the DJI Mavic Pro, but you can follow along with any drone on the market.

#4 Aerial Videography Courses

Skillshare – Introduction to Aerial Videography: Creative Direction for Drone Filming

Course fee: $19 per month / $99 per year (14-day free trial)

Duration: 45 minutes

Course access: Unlimited access in valid time

Benefits: Skillshare offers a 14-day free trial, so you can take the course for free.

This 45-minute on-site course covers equipment, camera manoeuvres, shooting practices, and more. At the end of the course, you’ll shoot and edit your own 30-second reel of your hometown as an exercise.

Udemy – Drones: How to Tell Aerial Stories

Course fee: $94.99 (occasionally reduced to $9.99)

Duration: 4 hours

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access

Benefits: 30-day refund guarantee if you don’t like the course.

You can use your drone to take beautiful pictures of the sky. You can also use it to tell exciting stories that have a beginning and an end.

This course is all about telling a story. If you are tired of seeing landscapes and more landscapes, it is time to learn what a story is. This course pioneers the application of fiction only to drone footage.

You will learn the components of a drone and its camera. You will also learn the settings to achieve different results.

A closed Facebook group is available for students to post their footage. They will receive instant feedback from peers and the instructor.

Udemy – Stunning Aerial Videography and Photography Using Drones

Course fee: $94.99 (occasionally reduced to $12.99)

Duration: 6 hours

Access to courses: Unlimited lifetime access

Benefits: 30-day refund guarantee if you don’t like the course.

The focus of this course is on how to capture stunning aerial footage. It includes two steps: filming and editing.

This course covers the basics from drone selection, editing software and aerial cameras. It includes instruction on flying skills and exercises for creating good aerial footage.

The course then goes beyond the basics. With aerial footage to illustrate the points, it presents a framework to guide you to fly and film. The focus is on achieving exceptional results.

You will then learn how to plan your flight and film missions using this framework. It guides you through a series of online tools and resources to help you with this planning. There will be real-world examples to show you how to apply the framework.

You will then learn how to turn aerial footage into stunning video production. The instructor will introduce 25 design principles and a software-generic 8-step editing workflow. It has a heavy focus on Final Cut Pro X.

#5 Drone Business Courses

Drone Launch Academy – Aerial Video A to Z

Course fee: $149 per month / $397 for life

Duration: 6 hours

Course access: Either per month or for life

Benefits: The instructor updates the course frequently. You will enjoy new content if you choose a lifetime subscription.

One of the best courses on the market. It teaches basic to advanced drone videography skills.

This course stands out. It not only teaches on location and post-production that many other courses do. It also teaches the practical way to craft engaging footage that can be sold easily in the market.

It also includes an entire section on teaching you how to start a successful drone business.

Yet, the price is definitely not friendly. If you are on a budget, you can check out the instructor’s YouTube channel where you can get free drone training.

While he doesn’t update the channel frequently, the contents he creates stand out. You’ll notice the difference right away. With each video, he cuts to the core of the skills and doesn’t give you anything irrelevant. The explanation is short and to the point.

Here’s the one that shows you the fastest way to make money with Mavic in 2021:

DARTdrones – Launching a Drone Business Under Part 107

Course fee: $300

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access

Benefits: Participants receive a $50 credit toward any other DARTdrones course.

The course will teach you everything you need to know to start your UAS / drone service business. That includes the business laws around UAS businesses, how to properly insure your business, and how to market your UAS business.

These seminars are ideal for any drone operator considering making money. They equip you to handle the business side of operating a drone service business.

This course does not teach you any drone skills at all. This is completely business-oriented. If you are seriously thinking about starting a drone company, this is exactly what you need.

Drone U – Business Courses

Course fee: $47 per month / $470 per year

Course access: Unlimited access in valid time

Benefits: Access to a variety of drone courses with a single payment.

Another comprehensive program for those who want to start a drone business. For $47 per month, you get access to a variety of courses that will prepare you to be a drone business owner.

You will get access to webinars, Q&A sessions, expert interviews, and an exclusive community. Not only will the program make you a drone expert, but it will also show you how to turn your skills into a healthy income.

#6 Industry-Specific Training Courses

Udemy – Drones: Step by step to build and fly a racing quadcopter

Course fee: $24.99 (occasionally reduced to $11.99)

Duration: 6.5 hours

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access

Benefits: 30-day refund guarantee if you don’t like the course.

Challenge yourself and put together a racing drone with this course. With a few tools, some bits and pieces you can get at an affordable price, and a lot of patience, you’ll be surprised at what you can construct.

There are 47 easy to follow videos (6.5 hours) with instructions on everything you need to get started.

Drone Universities – Drone GIS/Mapping

Course fee: $1,000

Duration: 8 hours in 1 day

Course access: On-site

Benefits: Graduates will receive a GIS / Mapping Drone Operator Certificate. But they have to attend the Introduction to Drones course too.

You will learn everything you need to collect actionable data.

The course guides you through planning and flying successful operations, programming waypoints, managing proper altitude, and operating specific camera settings.

You will learn what to do with the data once collected. It includes the use of third-party software, NDVI settings, orthomosaics, 3D models, and elevation analysis. By then, you will be knowledgeable and confident when offering your specialized services.

This course is a must for anyone interested in a career in GIS / mapping or a related field such as precision agriculture.

If you are tempted by the ever-growing drone mapping opportunities, make sure to check out our complete guide to drone mapping software and applications!

ABJ Drone Academy – Drone Surveying and 3D Modeling Online Training Course

Course fee: $200

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access

This course will provide you with the knowledge to begin performing drone-based survey work.

Visual images, maps and models are the most common outputs. Drone surveying also includes data captured by infrared and multispectral/hyperspectral cameras.

By using a variety of sensors and acquisition methods, drones can provide useful data for a variety of industries. This course will show you how to do this and more.

Unmanned Vehicle University – Level I Thermography Course for sUAS

Course fee: $1,495

Duration: 4 days

Course access: Live seminar in Phoenix

The course covers everything an sUAS operator needs to deploy thermal imaging sensors in the field. It also leads to industry-recognized certification.

Unmanned thermal imaging is an area of increasing importance in the energy, infrastructure and communications industries. Thermal imaging drones are used to perform safety and maintenance inspections in places where humans would not normally go.

If you want to make money in thermal imaging for business, this course is a good place to start.

Unmanned Vehicle University – Night & Thermal Infrared Operations Training

Course fee: $3,500

Course access: On-site

Infrared drone operations are necessary for a variety of areas, including safety, search and rescue, equipment inspection, and emergency services.

The program teaches everything you need to know about conducting UAV flights at dusk or in complete darkness without compromising safety.

edX – Drones for Agriculture: Prepare and Design Your Drone (UAV) Mission

Course fee: Free (without certificate) / $169 (with certificate)

Duration: 4 to 8 hours per week, 3 weeks total

Course access: Free version with limited access for 3 weeks; the Paid version with unlimited access.

Dive in and expand your knowledge of drones and drone technology. Learn how to prepare and execute a flight mission with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and how to use, process and understand the collected drone data for your own applications.

DARTdrones – Emergency Services Drone Training

Course fee: Custom quote

This is a customized program designed to meet the needs of a specific client, whether it be the fire department, SWAT team, police department or ambulance service.

The program covers everything from safety and insurance needs, federal and local regulations about drones, drone purchase and maintenance, and legal advice.

#7 Ground Training

Unmanned Vehicle University – UAV Pilot Training Certificate

Tuition: $3,500

Duration: 16 hours web-based ground school, 10 hours PC-based drone simulator, 2 days hands-on flight training

This program consists of three phases.

The first phase is the theory part and is web-based. It introduces the basics of drone flying. The second phase involves working with a UAV simulation to give you a feel for the real thing.

In the final phase, you will attend a 2-day in-person training program at one of the many flight training centres across the US.

Drone Universities – Introduction to Drones

Tuition: $1,500 to $3,500, depending on take-home drone choice

Duration: 16 hours in 2 days

This beginner course spans 2 days and includes six sessions.

The course is designed to introduce participants to the world of drones and teach them how to fly a DJI Mavic. At the end of the course, you get to take home the drone of your choice. You will also take an FAA ground exam that will prepare you for job placement.

DARTdrones – Wings Program

Tuition: $1,649

Duration: 16 hours of online instruction, 2 days of in-person training

Course access: Unlimited lifetime access to the Part 107 online course

Benefits: Money-back guarantee on the drone license exam.

This training program consists of 3 parts.

In-person training to teach you all the basic flying skills, a Part 107 exam prep course to guarantee you pass the drone license exam, and online micro-courses to teach you how to safely plan and fly your drone in real-world missions.

This comprehensive program is designed for novice pilots to become a safe flyer. They also provide you with a drone to fly.

What to Do Next?

Still haven’t made up your mind yet? Don’t forget to check out Drone Last’s free guide on how to fly a drone!

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