Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Flight Operator (Drones)

AUVSI member

This career studies certificate is designed to prepare students for a career as a small unmanned aircraft systems flight operator. Upon successful completion of the coursework, students will demonstrate basic proficiency in the area of sUAS operations, general maintenance and repair, and sUAS collection of and processing of aerial images, videos, and geospatial data.Coursework aligns with the aeronautical knowledge required for FAA approved commercial operations as a Remote Pilot with sUAS rating and prepares students to sit for the FAA Part 107 exam.sUAS/Drone operators are in demand by a variety of industries with potential commercial uses in disaster response, police, fire, and EMS response and investigation, search and rescue, scientific research, agriculture, farming, ranching, land, livestock, and wildlife surveys, pipeline and power line inspection, industrial and residential inspection, delivery and transport, and aerial photography

Career Studies Certificate

Program Information and Curriculum


Explore Careers and Job Outlook

Tuition and Funding Options

Tuition rates for this program are approximately one-third the cost of attending a four-year college or university in Virginia. Compare savings now!

An estimated $15.2 million dollars in grants, loans, work-study and scholarships are awarded to Laurel Ridge Community College students each year. We are committed to using all available funds to help you gain access to a college education.

Payment plans are offered to break down tuition payments.

View all financial aid, payment options, and more HERE.

Virginia Space Grant Consortium

virginia space grant logoThe College under the leadership of Dr. Melissa Stange has been awarded an Innovative Project Grant UAS grant from the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) to bring unmanned aircraft systems to students and community.

The College will be hosting a Females Take Flight program to include webinars on Females in STEM and UAS, summer camps for K-12 females for high school girls, 10 grants for female college students to take a drone class (UMS107) during the Fall 2022 semester to prepare to take their Part 107 exam, and an engaging UAS community fair this summer.

The College is excited to have the support of VSGC to bring our UAS program to the College’s service region, along with in several other drone activities. Through Dr. Stange’s participation in the GeoTEd-UAS Institute, she will spend a week in May at Virginia Tech learning more about drones and how to expand the program at the College.

Drone Related Links

ec-council partnerOur partnership offers cost-effective, authorized learning resources for enrolled technology students to properly prepare them for EC-Council exams and ultimately their careers after graduation. Students will have the opportunity to achieve industry recognized certifications and compete in free cyber competitions as they complete their degree programs, achieving the ultimate stackable credential lineup to enhance their resume.

Have a Question?

Do you have a specific question about this program or how to get started at Laurel Ridge? Please use the form below and a member of our staff will respond as soon as possible.

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