UAS Teacher Professional Development

Preparing the Future Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Pilot Workforce

The project will increase and diversify the UAS pilot workforce by recruiting more students into the pipeline and by building high school teacher capacity to prepare the workforce. The project will target increasing the number of UAS pilots trained and certified to fly small UAS (sUAS), defined as UAS weighing between .55 lbs. and 55 lbs. at takeoff. Under FAA Part 107 regulations, a person flying a sUAS commercially must have an RPC. Twenty teachers will obtain their RPC and will receive classroom-ready instructional resources allowing them to prepare more than 300 high school students to obtain their RPC in the award period alone. Teachers will also be able to apply for a mini-grant of up to $2,500 through the project to procure UAS, sensors, and related supplies necessary to teach the course.


Participating in this Professional Development includes Four Parts:


1. Teachers will attend a virtual FAA Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC) 2-day workshop on March 21-22 2022. Teachers will pass the RPC exam by April 30, 2022. Teachers who already have their RPC do not need to take the course. Teachers can prepare for the RPC exam through other approaches. These must be pre-approved by the VSGC.


2. Teachers will attend a four-day in-person UAS Institute at Virginia Tech on June 26-30, 2022.  (Teachers must attend full workshop).


3. Teachers will teach the CTE UAS course (#8910) during the 2022-23 academic year, OR integrate UAS course competencies and content within an existing CTE course. If choosing to integrate content in 2022-23, selected teachers and districts should commit to offering the new UAS course during the 2023-24 year.

Integration of UAS content is defined as: teaching all course competencies related to the FAA Part 107 remote pilot certificate exam, introduction to UAS and physics of flight, flight planning and operations, and hands-on and safe manual drone flying exercises. Students should be prepared to pass the Part 107 exam following completion of the course. Teachers will be provided with instructional modules to teach the content.


4. Teachers will be eligible for up to $2500 in instructional supplies and materials to include drones and related supplies for the 2022-23 academic year.





This project will provide professional development (PD) to 20 CTE teachers, and we will partner with VDOE to recruit and select the teachers to participate in the PD.

The new CTE UAS Course can be dual-enrolled with Virginia Community Colleges.

To prepare the teachers to obtain their Part 107 RPC and to get an introduction to UAS, this project will support selected teachers to take the 2-day Part 107 workshop offered by Virginia Tech in partnership with Virginia View and the GeoTEd-UAS project. This entry-level workshop provides a thorough review of Part 107 RPC requirements and prepares the participants for success on the exam.

Teachers will complete the workshop in March 2022 and be prepared to take and pass the Part 107 RPC exam by the end of April 2022. The project will fund the tuition for the virtual workshop and the exam fee to take the RPC exam. The project team will mentor the participants following the workshop.





The selected teacher cohort will attend a four-day PD Institute hosted by Virginia Tech. The Institute will develop the capacity of educators to instruct the UAS course content. A major component of the Institute will be the instruction of sUAS skills in the context of real-world applications using the new classroom-ready modules developed through this project. Skills will be taught through project-based learning and the projects will span different employment sectors and types of missions.

Institute content will include: sUAS selection, mission planning, manual and autonomous missions, sensors, troubleshooting, maintenance, and data processing. Other topics will include creating maps and orthomosaic files, safety, ethics, and regulations. The team will discuss potential student service-learning projects that could be implemented by the teachers when they teach the course.

The project will provide all costs to support the teachers attending the Institute including a $500 stipend for completing all components. Lodging, travel, meals, supplies, data, and resources will be provided.




Selected teachers will be required to teach the CTE UAS course during the 2022-23 academic year, OR integrate the UAS course content and competencies into an existing CTE course. Following successful completion of the Institute, attendees will be eligible to submit a mini-grant proposal for up to $2500 to obtain UAS and related supplies to teach the course. VSGC will also facilitate access to its fleet of UAS, software, supplies, and guest-speakers for all teachers. Teachers will receive active support and mentoring throughout their teaching of the UAS course. This mentoring will include virtual communication, webinars, and face to face interaction as appropriate.


**Depending on the status of the current pandemic, program participants will be required to follow guidelines set by the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and Virginia Tech to ensure the safety of all participants. These guidelines could potentially include providing proof of vaccination and booster, wearing masks, social distancing, and pre-program COVID testing.

Point of Contact

Chris Carter

Deputy Director

Virginia Space Grant Consortium