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How Much Does a Drone Licence Cost?

Updated in 2023 by Paul Posea
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So you’ve got your drone, completed your first drone course and you’re now finally ready to make things official – by getting a drone license. But how much does a drone license cost?

The most common drone license, the part 107 test, costs $175 paid directly to the testing center where you schedule your test.

There is also a $5 registration fee, renewable every 3 years – but that will hardly make a dent in your wallet.

Now let’s look at the other types of drone licenses, how to get one, and who needs one in the first place.

What is a drone license?

Let’s first look at what a drone license is and what it allows you to do within the USA.

A drone license is a license issued by the FAA granting you permission to conduct commercial drone operations in the U.S.  It proves that you have obtained your drone certification, also called Part 107 certification, allowing you to fly drones commercially.

There are a bunch of ways people talk about a drone license, like:

  • Drone pilot license
  • Part 107 license
  • Commercial drone license

And sometimes, you'll see stuff like "FAA drone license" or "Part 107 drone license." No worries though – they all mean the same thing! Basically, it's your golden ticket to being a commercial drone operator in the USA.

Should you get a drone license?

Now always, under the Part 107 regulations, there are two distinctions of if and when a Part 107 drone license is required.

You need a drone license when you use your drone for work or business, i.e. commercial use. But not to fly your drone strictly for fun as a hobby, i.e. recreational use.

More on that in my previous drone laws article.

How much does it cost to get an FAA Part 107 drone license?

As said above, the FAA part 107 is the most standard drone license out there – if you have it, there won’t be much need for other licenses unless it’s job-specific.

The Part 107 exam costs $175 to take. You can also budget for a Part 107 study course that will cost approximately $149. There are no additional fees after getting a certificate and you can renew your license every 24 calendar months for free.

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How much does it cost to register your drone?

Since registering your drone is a crucial part of getting your license, you can also consider its cost added to the license costs.

Drone registration is done through the FAA DroneZone website and it costs you will have to pay the $5 registration fee regardless.

It’s a fairly simple online process that shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.

How to get an FAA Part 107 license?

I’ve written a full guide about how to get your part 107 license the easy way over here. But here’s a quick rundown…

To get a commercial drone license from the FAA, you’ll need to follow these steps:

  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test. You can register to take the test at any FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
  • Apply for and obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate. This is about 10-15 minutes of online paperwork.
  • Administration (this vetting happens automatically during your application process).

Once you have your Part 107 drone license, you’ll also be required to:

  • Maintain drone registration every 36 months and keep the registration card with you when flying.
  • Keep your Part 107 license up to date by passing a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months.
  • Make available to the FAA, upon request, the small UAS for inspection or testing, and any associated documents/records required to be kept under the proposed rule.
  • Report any accidents to the FAA within 10 days of any operation that results in injury or property damage over $500.
  • Before all flights, conduct a preflight inspection, including specific aircraft and control station systems checks, to ensure the small UAS is safe for operation.

All these are daily simple steps which you can read more about by heading over here.

How much does drone training cost?

While some people opt to self-learn, the best and fastest way is to go through a drone course made by professionals. Which comes with a cost.

The cost of a low-level flight skills online training course starts at about $50. Taking a training course to help you pass the Part 107 test can cost from around $149 to $350. Industry-specific professional drone training courses start at $125 and can go upwards of $1,500 or even beyond in some sectors.

 Remember, the amount you need to pay for drone training will depend on your goals and what you want out of your drone, as well as whether the classes you want to take are in-person or online.

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Who needs drone training?

Anyone who doesn’t want to crash their drone. But to be more specific, Drone training comes in lots of flavors, and the right type of training of course depends on your goals.

There are roughly group types of drone training into 3 categories. 

  • Basic Flight Skills
  • Part 107 Training
  • Industry-specific professional training

The people who need drone training are beginning hobbyists, those who want to become professional drone pilots, and professional pilots who want to advance their careers. 

As a rule of thumb, if you’re trying to break into the drone flying industry, you need proper training and a license.

Can you prepare for the part 107 test for free?

Yes you can – some people feel more comfortable learning at their own pace, maybe that’s you. 

There are more than a dozen free resources for preparing for the Part 107 knowledge test online for free. 

These resources can take the form of YouTube videos, podcasts, or online sample tests. Heck, even the FAA has a free Part 107 online course hosted on its website. Some of these have been around and have remained fairly popular over the past several years.

Drone Pilot Renewal – Everything You Need to Know

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If you’ve had your drone license for more than two years, then you’re due for a drone license renewal.

Doesn’t matter if you’ve passed your part 107 test normally and have a lot of experience as a drone pilot – any drone pilot will need to renew their license after 24 months in order to keep flying commercially.

How do I renew my drone pilot license?

The good news is that the new online recurrent knowledge training is completely free and you no longer have to go to an FAA-approved knowledge testing center. 

The FAA made changes and you can now renew your Part 107 license online. You can take the ALC-677 test on the FAA’s website to renew your license. It’s free and it takes about 1 hour.

You can take the test online by heading over HERE – from the comfort of your home. It’s pretty short and takes approximately 1 hour to complete.

The goal of this recurrent “training”, if you can call it that, is to “allow remote pilots to maintain critical knowledge and keep abreast of dynamic issues, including changes to regulations, that arise while ultimately completing the updated knowledge requirements related to operating small UAS.”

As stated by the FAA themselves.

If you’d like to get a more detailed walkthrough, I’ve got the perfect guide for you:

Watch this and you’ll know exactly what you need to do to renew your drone license in 2023.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, I’d say you’d need to prepare around $300 if you plan on earning the FAA drone license. The actual cost could be much higher or much lower depending on how well-prepared you want to be for the knowledge test.

After all, depending on what you’re trying to do you could find yourself needing courses that cost as much as $3000!

If you want to use the drone license as a kick-off point for a career as a professional drone pilot, then consider the cost of the license as an initial investment.

Hi, I'm Paul.
A big drone enthusiast, reviewing, comparing and writing about drones since 2015. I'm all about helping people enjoy and even monetize their hobby.

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paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.
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