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How Much Does a Drone Licence Cost?

Updated in 2024 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?

Here’s 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, and have the required skills and knowledge.

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 US.

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 should get a drone license if 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 certified and you can renew your license every 24 calendar months for free.

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International variation in part 107 costs?

When we compare drone operation costs internationally, we see big differences from country to country, unlike the uniform cost of the Part 107 license in the U.S. A variety of factors is relevant here:

  • Different Rules Abroad: Every country has its own drone rules, making the requirements and fees for flying drones commercially vary significantly. For example, in Japan, drone pilots must navigate strict airspace regulations, whereas in Canada, regulations focus more on the drone's weight and the pilot's distance from bystanders.
  • U.S. License Acceptance: Most countries do not recognize the U.S. Part 107 license, necessitating pilots to obtain a new license that complies with local regulations. For instance, in Australia, commercial drone pilots are required to obtain a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), which outlines different rules for commercial operators.
  • Varied Requirements: The process to obtain a drone license can range from simple online tests, as seen in the UK, where pilots must pass an online test to receive a flyer ID for drones weighing 250g or more (UK Civil Aviation Authority), to detailed in-person training, like in France. This variance can be both exciting and daunting for drone enthusiasts.
  • Changing Fees: The cost of obtaining a drone license can differ dramatically from one country to another. While in Canada, the fees might be relatively low, in countries like Germany, the costs can be significantly higher, which may come as a surprise to many.
  • License Duration: The validity period of drone licenses also varies by country. In the United States, a Part 107 license is valid for two years before requiring renewal, as outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), whereas in Brazil, drone licenses have a five-year validity period, requiring less frequent updates.

Following are the approximate drone license costs in different countries:

CountryDrone License Cost
India ~$400-500
South Africa~$800-1000
United KIngdom~$1200-1500

Part 107 license necessity and purpose

If you're aiming to fly drones professionally, you need the Part 107 license. It's not just a legal requirement; it's your gateway to understanding and navigating the busy skies safely. This license proves that you know the rules of aerial flying, much like a driver's license for your drone. It's essential for your career, allowing you to undertake tasks like aerial photography or farm monitoring.

Wondering how to get this license? You'll need to pass an exam and get TSA clearance. Altitude University offers a Part 107 Online Prep Course to help you succeed. With a 99% pass rate, interactive training, lifetime access, and a money-back guarantee if you don't pass, it's an excellent resource for aspiring drone pilots.

Once you have your Part 107 license, it's valid for two years, giving you ample time to explore and grow in the professional drone flying field.

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?

There are a couple of things you’ll need to check off. Here’s a quick rundown…

To get an FAA Part 107 license, you’ll need to:

  • 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.

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 of these are simple, routine steps that you can read more about 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 courses start at $125 and can go upwards of $1,500 or even beyond in some sectors.

image 131

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.

If you're a drone pilot planning to fly internationally, you need to actively learn these details to ensure you follow the rules and avoid problems.

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.

Learn how you can prepare for the Part 107 test

Preparing for the FAA Part 107 Knowledge Test can be approached in various ways, catering to different learning styles and preferences. The test itself is a 60-question multiple-choice exam with a 120-minute time limit, administered at FAA-certified testing centers nationwide.

Self-Paced Learning Options:

There are ample free resources available online for those who prefer self-paced learning. These include:

  • YouTube videos
  • Podcasts
  • Online sample tests

These options offer a flexible and cost-effective way to study. Additionally, the FAA provides a free Part 107 online course on its website, a popular choice for many aspiring drone pilots.

Paid Courses:

While free resources offer a wealth of information, paid courses, such as those from Drone Launch Academy, are also available. They provide a more structured learning environment. Here’s what you’ll typically find in these courses:

  • Instructional videos
  • Sample questions
  • Practice tests
  • They help ensure a comprehensive understanding of the required material.

Courses for Business-Oriented Pilots:

For those interested in combining drone piloting with business acumen, some courses offer a bundled approach. These include both test preparation and insights into drone business management, covering aspects like:

  • Business planning
  • Marketing strategies
  • Legal considerations

The choice between free and paid resources depends on individual learning preferences and budget. Both options can effectively prepare candidates for the Part 107 Knowledge Test, ensuring they are well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills.

Drone Pilot Renewal

image 132

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:

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.

faq what should you look for in a drone

Frequently Asked Questions

Everything you need to know will be answered in this section.

Is it worth getting a drone license?

Yes, it's worth it if you want to use a drone for business or commercial purposes. It's legally required in the US for commercial drone operations, and it also gives you a better understanding of drone safety and regulations.

Is getting your drone license hard?

It can be challenging, especially if you're new to aviation topics. The test covers various areas like safety rules, airspace regulations, and weather understanding. Studying well and using good preparation materials can make it easier.

What are the eligibility criteria to apply for an FAA Part 107 drone license?

To apply, you must be at least 16 years old, able to read, speak, write, and understand English, and be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a drone. Also, you must pass the Part 107 knowledge test.

How long does the entire process of obtaining a Part 107 license take from start to finish?

The time can vary. After studying and passing the knowledge test, you must complete an FAA form and wait for your application to be processed. This can take a few weeks to a couple of months in total.

What are the insurance requirements for a licensed commercial drone operator?

The FAA doesn't require insurance, but it's highly recommended for commercial drone operators. Insurance can cover damages or accidents that might happen during drone operations. The type and amount of insurance will depend on your specific drone activities.

Can the Part 107 license be transferred or used in other countries?

The Part 107 license is specific to the United States and doesn't automatically transfer to other countries. Each country has its own drone regulations. However, having a Part 107 license might be beneficial when applying for permissions or licenses in other countries, as it shows you have a certain level of knowledge and skill.

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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