A condensed pathway to industry certification and workforce

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GCSCBrought to you by Gulf Coast State College in Partnership with Unmanned Safety Institute

Financial Assistance & Scholarships Available

No Experience Required

Employment Pathways & Careers

Salary Range 55k - 130k at Stage 2

Up to 8 Industry Certifications

Experienced Industry Instructors

Online/Virtual Learning Options

Next Class Starting July 10, 2023


Calling all current military, exiting military entering the workforce and their spouses!

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NOTE: This program is also available to any resident of:

Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Wakulla Counties in Florida. 

Applications are accepted into each Stage of the program by seat availability and performance in coursework and training. Priority seating is given to exiting military members and their spouses.

Online instruction by GCSC & USI Instructors.  These hybrid live instruction programs can be completed from the comfort of your home.  Flight training will take place onsite and will occur at the end of each program cycle.

What industries utilize unmanned technology?



Who is Hiring Unmanned Pilots?

See Employers at: Unmanned Connect®

Drone Pilot Careers

Industry Certifications

Stage 1 Schedule and Timeline

6 Week course (Includes 1 week in-person flight training) at a location TBD
Upcoming Start Dates: July 10 - August 18, 2023 Register by June 30, 2023

Stage 2 Schedule and Timeline

11 Week course (includes 2-3 weeks of in-person flight training) at a location TBD
Upcoming Start Dates: June 12 - August 18 Register by May 29, 2023

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I pursue an AS degree based on my certifications?
Yes! Contact Gulf Coast State College to inquire about financial aid. Certifications can be evaluated by the College for external credit.
How much does the program cost?

Scholarships for individuals residing in one of the following Florida counties cover the cost of Stage 1 and Stage 2 tuition and certification.

Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, and Wakulla Counties in Florida

NOTE: Students must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate from the FAA (Part 107) prior to the completion of Stage 1. The cost of the exam is $175 and the student is responsible for covering the cost. However, upon successful completion, the student may qualify for reimbursement from USI. The Part 107 exam is not provided by USI or Gulf Coast State College.

I've never flown an unmanned aircraft, can I still take part in this program?
Yes! If seats are available, this program is available to you.  
Can I complete the Advanced certs in Stage 2 without completing the 2-3 week flight training?
Yes!  This is possible and common, especially if you don't plan on operating technology at that level but are looking for safety management, payload operations, or data processing type of job roles in the industry.  Please be sure to let us know that in the application process.
What is the start time of class each day?
Weeks 1-4, classes are M-F, 1PM to 5PM
How long is each day of class?
Each class lasts 4 hours.
Is there a drop period?

The drop period ends on the third day of class.

If the student does not attend the orientation briefing, the first day of class, or does not communicate with the instructor, the student will be dropped automatically.

Can you come and go each day with class as long as the work is done or do you have to log in at a certain time and interact with a live instructor?
The class is live and preferred, but it is also recorded in case you can’t make the live version.  It’s best to attend the class live for the interaction with the instructor.
What week is the in-person flight training?
Week 5, for 3 days.  Depending on the makeup of the class, we will do 3 days in Panama City or 3 days in Port St. Joe.  In that case the first 3 days would be Sunday to Tuesday in one place and Thursday to Saturday in the other.
What days of the week is the 16 week class on (so they can go ahead and schedule class days on their calendar)?
16 week class sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
What is the start time of the 16 week class each day?

6 PM to 8 PM.  We are flexible and if another time works better (5-7 or 7-9) will hold the sessions then for a majority of the class. The instructor will accommodate the class.

How are the certification exams administered?
Each session has three certification exams, administered by an independent testing service and proctored by college staff.  Dates for the exams are firm and are listed in the course class schedule (generally Week 3, Day 5 and Week 4, Days 4 and 5 are exam days).  We allow for one makeup date, but given the logistics of the exam process, we can’t schedule individual exam dates/times.
Are travel and accommodation costs covered under this program?
Travel and accommodation are not covered under this program.