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College of Innovation and Design offers new drone pilot certification

A drone and two drone pilots pre-flight as they begin filed work.
Boise State EPSCoR GEM3 project, Geospatial Techniques with Anna Roser and Valorie Marie, Initial Point field work and drone flight, Kuna, photo by Priscilla Grover

The College of Innovation and Design is now offering a drone certificate program. Drone Operations for Visualization, Research, and Resource Management is an interdisciplinary certificate program that trains participants to plan, lead, and implement projects using drone technology, also commonly referred to as unoccupied aerial systems, or UAS. The program offers both undergraduate (7-credit) and graduate (10-credit) certificates.

The program capitalizes on existing expertise and capacity throughout the university and is a combined effort to codify drone-based curriculum across campus. Program leadership includes Program Director Megan Cattau in Human-Environment Systems, Trevor Caughlin in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Jeffrey Johnson in the Department of Geological Sciences.

Upon completing the program, students will be licensed drone operators who are fully capable of planning and executing drone-based projects for a variety of purposes. The program gives students the skills to enter the workforce as capable drone practitioners, managers, technicians and researchers.

The core courses will teach students how to operate a drone confidently in a variety of flight scenarios and learn how drones are used across industries and disciplines, including for societal good, and students will have the opportunity to pick a specialization to deepen their knowledge.

The use of drones has grown considerably in recent years and it is projected to become a multi-billion dollar industry over the next decade. With that growth, job prospects in this field are increasing, and university-level drone programs and drone-based research are on the rise and the investment in the drone certificate program demonstrates Boise State’s commitment to merging science and technology, program leadership said.

This program is open to all students regardless of major. Explore more at or email with questions.