Flying High in the Sky: Everything You Need to Know About St. Petersburg College’s Drone Classes
Drones. Perhaps you’ve heard — or more so seen — them flying above your head on several occasions. They’ve become so prevalent, in fact, the drone reaction has quickly moved from “Whoa, did you see that?!” to barely regarding its presence. The reason for that? Drones are
quickly becoming a flying meal ticket; more and more people are learning how to operate these airborne cameras to launch side businesses — and let’s just say, they’re really taking off.
But first, you need to hone in your skills — because we’re not talking remote control toy airplanes, here. These devices are both complex and costly; so much so, they require certification to even operate them. In other words, you essentially need to become a pilot.
Luckily, there’s a simple way to do just that — and it’s right in our backyard. Whether you’re looking for a certification prep course to become a drone entrepreneur, or you’re just an enthusiast looking for some hands-on flight lessons, St. Petersburg College’s Workforce Institute offers a variety of programs to help you take flight. And they have the cred to back it up. What started out as a small UAS (Drone) program in 2015, has grown to a nearly 400-student roster, and the ability to pick one of the following three courses:
- 1-day UAS (Drone) Overview Course: One-day introductory course including hands-on flight lessons for students, flight demonstrations and drone displays, FAA airspace regulations, appropriate use of drones, weather topics, and resources for drone operators.
- 4-Week UAS Remote Pilot Certificate Prep Course: A non-degree course designed top repare students to pass the FAA Remote Pilot Certificate exam. The course includes UAS regulations, flight operations and restrictions, emergency procedures, crew resource management, radio communication procedures, aeronautical decision-making and judgement, and maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures.
- 6-week UAS Video Editing and Production Course: This course provides video professionals, at the introductory level, with the comprehensive skills they need to import, edit, and encode video projects using Final Cut Pro X. The course will also cover pre-production areas such as determining client needs, shot lists and storyboarding, and obtaining licenses, permits, and waivers prior to filming. Through instructor led demonstrations and exercises you will learn how to edit video, add video effects and titles and export your finished video.
If you need more to inspire you, how about this for a success story: A former student, Keith Parsons, left his 30- year construction career behind him after completing his UAS certification at SPC. He is now the owner of a drone services company called Focus 360, where his client lineup includes everyone from TV news stations and sporting events producers to cell phone tower operators. He was even hired by FEMA to survey damage from Hurricane Irma in South Florida. He also pulls in about $5,000/month on average. Yep, not a bad career switch.