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How to get a drone license in California

Are you interested in getting a drone license in California? If so, you’ve come to the right place! The process of obtaining a drone license in California is quite straightforward and can be completed in a few simple steps.

First, let’s start by discussing why you might need a drone license in California. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all drone pilots to obtain a drone license, also known as a Remote Pilot Certificate, if they plan to use their drone for commercial purposes. This includes things like real estate photography, wedding videography, and any other paid drone services.

Eligibility Criteria to get a drone license in California

Before we dive into the process of obtaining a drone license, let’s take a look at the eligibility criteria you’ll need to meet.

First and foremost, you must be at least 16 years old to get a drone license in California. The FAA also requires that you be able to speak, read, write, and understand English, as this will help ensure that you’re able to communicate effectively with air traffic control and other personnel if necessary.

In addition, you’ll need to pass the FAA’s aeronautical knowledge test. This test is designed to assess your understanding of key aviation concepts, including the rules and regulations that govern drone flight. You’ll need to score at least 70% on the test in order to pass and be eligible for a drone license.

Another important factor to consider is your physical and mental health. To get a drone license in California, you’ll need to be in good physical and mental health and able to operate your drone safely and responsibly. This means that you should be free from any medical conditions that could impair your ability to fly, such as epilepsy, heart disease, or vision or hearing problems.

Finally, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and skills required to operate a drone safely and responsibly. This can involve completing a training program or taking an online course, as well as getting hands-on experience flying your drone.

Find FAA Knowledge Testing Center and Register

If you’re looking to get your drone license in California, you’ll need to take an FAA Knowledge Test at an authorized Knowledge Testing Center. Here’s how you can find a testing center and register for the test:

  1. Find a Testing Center: You can find a list of FAA approved Knowledge Testing Centers in California by visiting the FAA’s website and searching for “drone license testing centers.”
  2. Register for the Test: Once you’ve found a testing center that is convenient for you, you’ll need to register for the test. Most testing centers will have a registration process online, but you can also call the testing center directly to find out how to register. When you register, you’ll need to provide your personal information and pay a fee to cover the cost of the test.
  3. Prepare for the Test: The FAA recommends studying the FAA’s study material, called the “Remote Pilot – Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Study Guide,” before taking the test. This guide is available for free on the FAA’s website. You should also review any additional study materials provided by the testing center where you will be taking the exam.

Taking FAA exam

Now that you’ve found a testing center and registered for the FAA Knowledge Test, it’s time to take the exam. Here’s what you need to know about the process:

  1. Arrive Early: Arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam time. This will give you enough time to sign in, use the restroom, and get settled in before the test begins.
  2. What to Bring: You’ll need to bring a few items with you to the testing center on exam day. These items include:
  • A government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Payment for any fees that may be required by the testing center
  • A copy of your test confirmation and/or any other necessary documentation
  1. Taking the Exam: The FAA Knowledge Test is a computer-based exam that consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. You’ll have two hours to complete the exam. The questions cover topics such as airspace regulations, weather, and drone maintenance and operations.
  2. Getting Your Results: After you complete the exam, you’ll receive your test results immediately. If you pass, you’ll receive a certificate of completion that you can use to apply for your drone license in California. If you don’t pass, you’ll need to wait 14 days before retaking the exam.

That’s all there is to it! With hard work and preparation, you can pass the FAA Knowledge Test and get your drone license in California. Good luck!

Fill Out FAA Form 8710-13

Congratulations on passing the FAA Knowledge Test! The next step in getting your drone license in California is to fill out the FAA Form 8710-13, also known as the “Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application.” Here’s what you need to know about this form:

  1. Where to Get the Form: You can download the FAA Form 8710-13 from the FAA’s website. Simply search for “FAA Form 8710-13” and you should be able to find it easily.
  2. What Information You’ll Need: Before you start filling out the form, make sure you have the following information on hand:
  • Your personal information, including your name, address, and Social Security number
  • Information about the type of drone you’ll be flying, including the make and model
  • Details about your flight experience, including the number of hours you’ve flown a drone and any relevant certifications or training you’ve received
  • Information about the FAA Knowledge Test you took, including the date and location of the test and your test results
  1. How to Fill Out the Form: The FAA Form 8710-13 is relatively straightforward to fill out, but it’s important to take your time and fill it out accurately. Make sure to read each question carefully and provide complete and accurate answers. If you need help, the FAA provides instructions on how to fill out the form on their website.
  2. Submit the Form: Once you’ve completed the form, you’ll need to submit it to the FAA. You can submit it electronically or by mail, depending on your preference.

Receive Your Certificate

You’re almost there! After you’ve filled out the FAA Form 8710-13 and submitted it to the FAA, all you need to do now is wait for your certificate to arrive. Here’s what you need to know about receiving your drone license in California:

  1. Processing Time: The FAA typically processes certificate applications within 30 days of receipt, but processing time can vary depending on the time of year and the volume of applications received.
  2. How You’ll Receive Your Certificate: Your certificate will be sent to you via mail. If you need to check the status of your application, you can do so by using the FAA’s online tracking system.
  3. Keep Your Certificate Safe: Once you receive your certificate, it’s important to keep it in a safe place. You’ll need to have your certificate with you whenever you’re flying a drone, so make sure you know where it is and that it’s easily accessible.
  4. Continuing Education: To keep your drone license in California current, you’ll need to complete continuing education requirements. The FAA will send you notifications when it’s time to renew your certificate and complete any necessary continuing education.

That’s all there is to it! After you receive your certificate, you’ll be fully licensed to fly a drone in California. Congratulations, and happy flying!


The cost of getting a drone license, also known as a Part 107 certification, in California can vary depending on a few factors, including:

  1. FAA Knowledge Test fee: The FAA charges a fee of $150 to take the Knowledge Test. This fee is non-refundable and must be paid when you register for the exam.
  2. Training courses: While not required, some people choose to take training courses to help prepare for the Knowledge Test. The cost of these courses can vary, with some being offered for free and others costing several hundred dollars.
  3. Exam preparation materials: There are many books, online resources, and study aids available to help you prepare for the Knowledge Test. The cost of these materials can also vary, but they can help increase your chances of passing the exam on the first try.

Yes, if you plan to fly a drone commercially in California, you are required to obtain a Part 107 certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This certification proves that you have passed a knowledge test and are authorized to fly a drone for commercial purposes.

Yes, a drone can fly over your house in California, but there are certain regulations that must be followed. For example, drones must fly at or below 400 feet and must not fly over restricted airspace or interfere with other aircraft. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the FAA’s drone regulations and make sure you’re flying your drone safely and responsibly.

The average salary for a drone pilot in California varies depending on several factors, including experience, the type of drone being flown, and the industry in which the pilot is working. According to data from Glassdoor, the average salary for a drone pilot in California is around $80,000 per year. However, some experienced drone pilots can earn significantly more, particularly those working in high-demand industries such as construction, agriculture, and real estate.

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