Promoters of job training programs may sometimes drone on about the wonderful opportunities their classes provide. But what field can use the magical phrase "100 percent job placement"?
And right now the only U.S. college teaching students how to fix unmanned aircraft systems is a school in Thief River Falls.
Valley News Live visited Northland Community & Technical College, where instructor Thomas Biller said of drones: "A lot of people are going to want to fly them, but somebody is going to have to fix them when they come down broke, and that's where we come in."
Northland's two-semester program trains students to gain Federal Aviation Administration certification as a mechanic equipped to work on drones. Valley News reports starting salaries in the field are $80,000 or more.
Unmanned aircraft have been used by the military for years, but now it's commercial uses that are taking off. A recent Star Tribune article notes that researchers are making plans to use drones for firefighting, search and rescue missions, and farming.
A Massachusetts newspaper, the Berkshire Eagle, reported this week on a real estate company using a drone to capture aerial videos of a 27-acre luxury estate. What better way to give prospective buyers an overview of the equestrian center?
The Star Tribune notes that Northland worked with both Minnesota and North Dakota on their bids to be selected one of the FAA's test sites for new commercial uses of drones. North Dakota got the agency's nod, becoming one of six states that host such sites.
With uses for drones still emerging, job prospects for flying – and fixing – them are bright. The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System recently forecast creation of 1,700 jobs in the state in the drone maintenance field, the Star Tribune says.