FAA Drone License: Do You Need One? Exploring the Pros and Cons

In recent years, drones have soared in popularity, revolutionizing everything from photography and surveying to agriculture and delivery services. As these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) become more ubiquitous, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States has implemented regulations to ensure safe skies. One such regulation is the requirement for a drone license, officially known as a Part 107 certificate, for certain types of drone operations. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, it’s crucial to understand if you need this certification and what the pros and cons are.

Who Needs an FAA Drone License?

The Part 107 certificate is required for drone pilots conducting commercial operations in the U.S. This means if you’re using a drone to make money – whether it’s taking aerial photographs for real estate listings, inspecting pipelines, or filming for a movie – you need to be licensed. Hobbyists who fly for purely recreational purposes and adhere to certain guidelines do not need this certificate.

Pros of Getting an FAA Drone License

  • Legal Compliance: First and foremost, obtaining a Part 107 certificate ensures that you’re operating within the law when using your drone for commercial purposes. This compliance is crucial to avoid hefty fines and legal issues.
  • Expanded Opportunities: With a license, you can legally pursue various commercial drone activities. This opens up numerous opportunities for professional growth and income in various sectors.
  • Increased Knowledge and Safety: The process of obtaining the license equips you with essential knowledge about airspace regulations, weather understanding, drone operations, and safety practices, reducing the risk of accidents.
  • Credibility: Holding an FAA drone license enhances your credibility as a professional drone pilot. It can be a significant advantage in attracting clients who value safety and professionalism.
  • Insurance Benefits: Some insurance companies offer better rates or more comprehensive coverage for licensed drone operators, considering them lower-risk.

Cons of Getting an FAA Drone License

  • Time and Cost: The process of obtaining a Part 107 certificate involves studying for and passing an exam, which can be time-consuming. There’s also a fee for taking the test.
  • Continuing Education: Drone laws and technologies are constantly evolving. Keeping your license means staying updated and potentially undergoing recurrent training and testing.
  • Operational Restrictions: Even with a license, there are operational limitations (such as flying at night or over people) that may require additional waivers or certifications.
  • Liability: As a licensed professional, there’s a higher standard of responsibility, which could lead to greater liability in the event of an accident.

Do You Need One?

Ultimately, whether you need an FAA drone license comes down to your intended use of the drone. If you’re flying for fun, a license isn’t necessary, but for any commercial venture, it’s a legal requirement.


The decision to obtain an FAA drone license hinges on your aspirations and how you plan to use your drone. While there are undeniable benefits, particularly for those looking to capitalize on the burgeoning drone market, the process does require commitment and ongoing responsibility. As the drone industry continues to grow, staying informed and compliant with FAA regulations will be key to flying safely and successfully.