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NCAT often gets asked about if educators need to have their Part 107. We are interested to know if other UAS/drone educators have their Part 107 and if so, how has it been beneficial?
I can only speak in terms of Minnesota. To start a drone program, it is not required for a teacher to have their Part 107 license. However, with that said, I would highly encourage you to do so. If you have your Part 107 license, I would talk to your CTE program director about becoming a vocationally certified Drone Instructor. In doing so you and your program are eligible to obtain federal Perkins federal dollars for supplies and equipment. We have a vocationally certified program at Roseville.
How I received my Part 107 license is when I taught my first Drone / UAS class I actually went through the process with my students and actually took the exam the same day they tested. My biggest fear is I would get my butt kicked in score by other students. Fortunately I had only one student with a higher score who received a perfect score:-).
Just be aware that you must re certify every two years however recently the FAA has stated you will be able to do the recurrent part online and you won't have to go to a PSI certified testing center to renew your license. This will make it must easier to renew your license.
We believe that when it comes to flying drones understanding the nuances of weather, flight planning, and airspace is imperative. At our school in Louisiana, there are no restrictions on who can teach the course since it is offered on the workforce side of the house. However, we require that instructors have at least their 107 and some experience working commercially at any level. Having a close working partnership with our regional airport has provided us with plenty of instructor candidates.
I teach, as part of my classes, Part 107 prep, so it makes sense for me to be certified as well.
One of the first things I found while setting up our program was the that having the Part 107 afforded me more opportunities to engage with other professions and explore potential careers my students might be interested in. As a result, the Part 107 or its equivalent (part 61) is the baseline requirement for any instructor interested in teaching in our program. The course we consider our Ground School is our UAS107 Commercial Drone Pilot Certification Preparation - which is designed to teach our students the basics of drone operations (i.e., sectional charts, METARS, Airspace, weather, etc.) and prepare them to successfully pass the FAA Part 107 Certification. So it makes sense to have an instructor who has already done that.
Dr. Eugene Matthews
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice | Program Coordinator for Criminal Justice Administration
Park University | Parkville Campus | Hawley Hall | Room: 406
8700 NW River Park Drive, CMB#114
Parkville, MO 64152