There are a growing number of academic programs cropping up to train unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operators for military and commercial use, despite the lack of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) clearance. According to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, there will be 100,000 such jobs by 2025.
Some of the schools that offer some form of UAS training include Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Indiana State University, Kansas State University, North Dakota State University, Texas A&M University, the University of Nevada Reno and the University of Cincinnati.
The natural offshoots for these programs are colleges with aviation programs, although the programs are also coming out of engineering and robotics programs as well as surveying programs. The topics covered in such courses include aeronautics, mechanical engineering, sensors, and human factors for accurate and safe collection.
While the FAA debates, the students learn, and the hope is the jobs will be there when they graduate. Recent FAA exemptions for companies pursuing applications in law enforcement, agriculture and surveying/mapping will hopefully prime the market just as students reach the job force.