In the view of Aaron Cook, aviation director at Northwestern Michigan College, the sky’s the limit for the future of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones.
“It’s kind of like the Wright Brothers all over again,” he said. “People see this (drone) technology having the same impact on aviation as the jet engine.”
For the past four years, NMC, located in Traverse City, Mich., has been offering courses in unmanned aerial systems, cementing its place among the nation’s leaders in training students how to operate drones. Students learn how to fly remotely controlled aircraft. They discuss the current state of the drone industry and undergo hands-on training in the field.
Now, colleges around the country, anticipating a boom in the domestic applications of drones, are following NMC’s lead, developing certificate and degree programs for an industry that seems poised to generate thousands of jobs and millions in research funding in coming years.
Sinclair Community College (Ohio), for example, currently offers a certificate program for students seeking entry-level technical positions involving unmanned aerial systems and is planning a two-year degree program. Northland Community and Technical College (Minnesota) is offering a program teaching students how to analyze images captured by unmanned aircraft. <Read more.>