How Much Do Drone Pilots Make

May 23

The global drone market has quickly become one of the world’s fastest growing industries. It offers fantastic opportunities for pilots and drone service providers, especially if you’re willing to invest in training and professional development.

The industry has the potential to be highly lucrative for some drone pilots. But that’s not the case for everybody, and the money you make can be highly variable.

We’ll discuss how much drone pilots make in Australia, as well as which industries offer the best opportunities to aspiring pilots.


How Much Do Drone Pilots Make?

In Australia, you can expect to make $70,000 to $120,000 per year as a qualified drone pilot. Drone pilot salaries vary widely depending on your skills and experience, the industry you’re working in, and where you’re operating.

For example, a pilot offering drone real estate photography services can make approximately $30-$40 per hour. On the other hand, pilots who work in mining and engineering could earn over $100,000 per year.

The money you can earn as a drone pilot is generally determined by your skills. Because drones now feature advanced automation functionality, it’s important to upskill and find a serviceable niche.


Industries Where Drone Pilots Are In-Demand

The Australian drone market was estimated to be worth $30 billion in 2023. That number will only grow in the coming years, and that’s largely due to advances in technology.

As drones have become more capable, pilots are able to add more value for their clients. The savings offered by using drone technology means that pilots are currently in demand in the following industries:

  • Mining
  • Agriculture
  • Construction and engineering
  • Surveying and asset inspection
  • Emergency response
  • Entertainment (e.g. cinematography)
  • Real estate

Some of the biggest opportunities for drone pilots lie in highly skilled fields, such as surveying, engineering and agriculture. These industries utilise specialist equipment, software and training, so you can expect to earn more money in these types of roles.


Growing Drone Industries

Some of the best opportunities for drone pilots lie in emerging industries. As the technology evolves, the role that pilots play will change, and it’s good to be ahead of the curve.

Forecasts from Airservices Australia predict there will be 60 million drone flights in Australia every year by 2043. They also identified the fastest growing drone industries over the next 20 years:

  • Goods delivery and logistics
  • Environment
  • Safety and security
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishery
  • Construction and engineering
  • Passenger transport
  • Mining
  • Entertainment

Most of the 60 million flights will occur in goods delivery and logistics. Those flights will largely be automated, but the remaining industries will still be dominated by skilled pilots.

While automation and the use of AI in drone operations will become more common, human operators will always be in-demand. Now is a great time to plan for the future and upgrade your skills in areas like agriculture, surveying, engineering and asset inspections.


What Training is Required to be a Drone Pilot?

Australian drone pilots are generally required to hold a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL). Your RePL allows you to fly drones for commercial purposes or as part of your normal employment.

If you want to operate your own drone services business, you will also need a Remote Operator Certificate (ReOC). An ReOC allows you or your business to offer drone services for money, and it means you can perform drone missions that aren’t available to other operators.

There are limited circumstances where you may not need to hold an RePL or ReOC to fly a drone as part of your job.

Learn more about the two licence types.


Expanding Your Career With a Remote Pilot Licence

Earning an RePL is the first step in your career as a drone pilot. But you aren’t limited to just working as a drone pilot. Once you’re qualified, you can use your skills to expand an existing career.

For instance, a mining surveyor could increase their salary by learning how to operate a drone. Similarly, if you’re working in an industry such as construction and engineering, having your drone licence could allow you to take on new responsibilities and increase your salary.

It’s increasingly common for these types of roles to require a Remote Pilot Licence and experience with a drone. If you want to take your career to new heights, earning an RePL is a quick and affordable pathway.


Get Ready for Your Career as a Drone Pilot With Toll Uncrewed Systems!

Rapid growth in the drone industry means that pilots are always in demand. There’s plenty of money to be made for skilled operators, and now is the perfect time to plan for the future.

If you’re just getting started in the drone industry, or if you want to upgrade your skills, Toll Uncrewed Systems offers drone training courses in Australia!

Toll Uncrewed Systems is a leading provider of accredited drone training courses. We offer programs for pilots at every skill level. Our initial drone licence training is ideal for anyone looking to earn their RePL, or we can help you establish your own business with ReOC consultation.

Beyond that, we also provide advanced courses in night flights, BVLOS operations, agriculture drone training and more.

You can browse our courses online at any time. Or contact us to discuss your career and figure out which drone courses will help you reach your full potential.


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UAV Training Australia and Advanced Aerial Solutions have merged as Toll Uncrewed Systems