A program to provide pathways for students to become certified drone operators qualified to fly for aerial surveys, data collection and other missions will be available this spring at Mt. San Jacinto College — the only community college in the state offering the certification, it was announced Monday.

“There are many, many job opportunities out there,” MSJC Geospatial Information Sciences Chair Roy Mason said. “That’s why we’re really honing in on this. We want to get an inroad into that market.”

The new Drone Application Certificate Program will entail both computer-based classes in the campus’ GIS lab and hands-on flying with drones operated by the college, according to Mason.

The goal is to prepare students to become unmanned aerial systems operators, working in agriculture, construction, law enforcement, real estate, surveying and other fields, Mason said.

MSJC is the first college in the California Community College System to provide such a certification program, which requires an eight-month commitment, for a total of seven courses and 20 units.

“Students will develop the unique capabilities that drones provide for the collection of information that helps GIS technicians reveal deeper insights into data, such as patterns, relationships and real-time situations,” according to the program description.

More information on how to enroll and what is required can be found at catalog.msjc.edu/instructional-programs/geospatial-information-science/drone-applications-in-geospatial-information-science-certificate/

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