Brownwood High School adds drone pilot licensing to CTE Program

Special to the Bulletin
Martin Buzbee flys a drone to demonstrate possible use during rescue operations.

Brownwood High School students now have the opportunity to obtain their commercial drone pilot license through a new career and technology course that began this year.

Dual credit courses, such as Drone Construction and Programming, allows high school students the opportunity to earn college credit in order to expand their resumes. BHS and Ranger College work in tandem in this dual-credit Career and Technology Education course. Students study the rules and regulations for commercial drone operation, and at the end of the course, earn their FAA Unmanned Aircraft Pilot License.

On Friday, April 23, BHS students viewed a drone demonstration provided through the partnership with Ranger College. Geographic Drone pilot Martin Buzbee discussed the various career opportunities for drone pilots and flew a few of them inside the Old Lion Gym to show off their capabilities. Buzbee, who has worked everything from movies to aerial photography and mapping, answered students' questions and provided insights to getting started in the industry.

Drone pilots are in demand. In fact, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International projected more than 100,000 new jobs will be created in unmanned aircraft by the year 2025.

“Our society and economy have transitioned in many areas from human labor to technology and robotics,” said Edward Yantis, Computer Science and Robotics teacher at BHS. “We provide skills and knowledge that will allow our students to fill jobs supporting robotics and technology. The challenge is trying to prepare students for technologies and jobs that may not yet exist.”

Students who complete the Drone Programming course will be able to legally operate a commercial drone, which allows for more comprehensive career and financial prospects after high school.