Freelance Creators: 3 Reasons To Get Your Drone Pilot’s License

the scope_jared serfozo_drone.jpg

If you’re a photographer, videographer, or any kind of content creator, you’ve probably thought about getting a drone. Drone content is utilized just about everywhere now and can be a powerful tool for freelancers looking to set themselves apart.

First, let’s get some things straight about FAA regulations (in the USA). If you buy a drone off the shelf (or more than likely Amazon), you’re allowed to fly up to 400ft. above the ground without a license and take as many pictures and videos as you want. Just make sure you’re flying over areas that are FAA approved.

However, the second you get paid for any of your drone-captured content, you will need a Part 107 drone license.  For some that’s good reason enough to get certified, but here are three more benefits to getting your Part 107.

Establish credibility as a content creator

Think of getting your drone license like getting a physical trainer certification.  Do you need a certification to guide someone in their workouts? No, but certification establishes credibility and it helps people trust that you know what you’re talking about, especially if they’re paying. Having your drone pilot certification card on you instantly provides proof of your knowledge on drone safety and operation.

Increased services

If you’re a freelance creator, there’s a fair chance that you will eventually be asked if you can provide some drone work. In addition to being asked directly, telling a potential client that you’re a certified drone pilot and can include drone shots as an additional service to the project you’re creating for them, might be what lands you the job.

Pro tip: You don’t even need to own a drone to take advantage of a drone pilot’s license! Someone else who is not certified, can pilot the drone as the Operator while you stand next to them as the licensed Remote Pilot in Command (RPIC). You could offer this as a service to companies or individuals who don’t have their certification, but want to make sure they abide by the FAA rules.

Fly with peace of mind

There are still many people out there who don’t understand what drones are being used for and may be uncomfortable when they see that you’re flying. It’s rare, but a person may come up to you while you’re operating a drone and start asking a bunch of questions, or even call the cops. It’s nice to be able to tell anyone who may question what you’re doing, that you’re a certified pilot and you’re operating the drone legally.

How do I get a license?

Ready to get your drone pilot license? The fastest way to get certified is to find a Knowledge Testing Center near you via the FAA website, and contact the center to schedule a Part 107 test. At the time this article was written, the in-person test costs a $150 fee. You’ll need to take some time to study. There are many free Part 107 study guides out there, but I chose to pay for an online course via dronelaunchacademy.com to speed up the studying process.  I studied for two days using the online course, and was able to take the exam and pass the next day.  The online course I used even guarantees you’ll pass, or they’ll refund your money.

Have questions about getting your drone pilot license? Let us know in the comments.

Jared Serfozo is a freelance digital consultant based in Atlanta, Georgia. You can learn more about his personal business at jaredserfozo.com and follow him on Instagram, @jaredserfozo.