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As the world’s largest drone manufacturer, China is in a prime position to become a leader in all things drones. For anyone who’s approached a drone as a toy and thought, “hey, this looks easy enough to fly,” no doubt your bubble was popped and your drone was crashed. It takes a certain skill and finesse to successfully pilot a drone, which is why a wave of schools has opened in China to teach students the art of flying drones. That’s right, getting a degree in drone piloting is probably the most 2016 thing to happen thus far.

With more than 40 drone pilot schools to choose from, registration is in high-demand, with many itching for a spot to learn more about how to pilot and operate drones in order to score lucrative jobs in this booming industry. The TT Aviation school provides an intensive two week program where students learn all about drone regulation and eventually how to pilot drones using both simulators and actual drones. Once completed, the graduating students can try for their drone license, an accreditation China’s Civil Aviation Administration made necessary in order to operate drones that fly higher than 400 feet or weigh more than 15 pounds.

The demand for drone pilots in China is extremely high, which makes sense considering their position as the tech’s leading manufacturer. Surprisingly, there is a deficit of qualified and licensed pilots – only 1,000 pilots in the country possess a license. These drones pilot schools are hoping to train individuals to fill more than 10,000 pilot jobs open in industries across China ranging from agriculture, film production, logistics and law enforcement.

Agriculture is one of the biggest industries where drone usage has proved helpful, especially when it comes to spraying large amounts of land with pesticides. More than half of TT Aviation’s drones have agricultural applications, while their drones will also be put to use by police for patrolling purposes and utility companies to map pipelines and maintain the electrical infrastructure. With so much evolution in drone technology and what these devices are being positioned to do, there’s a great need for qualified and educated pilots to operate them. Safety is a primary concern, and the hope is that these drone pilot schools can create a large pool of professionally trained and specialized drone pilots to capitalize on what drones are truly capable of achieving.

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