PRO™ Certification


Basic Certification Intermediate Certification Advanced Certification Expert Certification

A Certificate That Goes Above FAA Standards.

The FAA has made it acceptable for anyone who can pass a written test to fly heavy machinery at high speeds in the airspace. This poses a MAJOR threat to public safety. Crashing a 55lb drone moving 50mph has the same amount of force falling out of the sky as two grand pianos falling out of the sky!

Unmanned Safety Institute’s (USI’s) Professional Remote Operator™ (PRO™) ratings go above & beyond the FAA regulatory minimums and are an industry leading credential for remote pilots entering a crowded field. With four rating levels to match the needs of the industry, a PRO™ rating will only be awarded to remote pilots who meet USI’s high standards of practice, and are truly ready to be a professional drone pilot.





(Level 1)


(Level 2)


(Level 3)


Learn 150 hours of education in Unmanned Aircraft Systems and Aeronautical Knowledge


Hold a valid Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC)


Meet the number of years active status and satisfy the flight hour requirements

+50 hrs
(specific UAS)

2 years
+250 hrs

3 years
+500 hrs

3 years
+1,000 hrs


Demonstrate progression in your chosen profession or make contributions to the unmanned aviation community

2 CEUs
per year

2 CEUs
per year

4 CEUs
per year

6 CEUs
per year

USI Professional Remote Operator® Requirements

Before applying, please review the education, examination, experience, and professional requirements.


All PRO™ applicants will need a baseline education to include 150 continuing education units (hours) in the following subject areas: Crew Resource Management, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Aeronautical Knowledge.

USI offers these classes online through the Small UAS Safety Certification™ and in-person through partnerships at local universities and colleges.

• Level II applicants will need an additional 40 hours of continuing education units (4 CEUs) in unmanned aviation safety. This is offered online through USI, or in-person through partnerships at local universities and colleges.

• Level III applicants will need an additional 60 hours of continuing education units (6 CEUs) in any area related to UAS operations.

View aviation academic programs approved towards the education requirement for USI PRO™: View Details >


All PRO™ applicants must hold a valid Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration or a similar airmen certification from a Civil Aviation Authority. USI PRO® rated remote pilots will need to maintain continuous certification (or military equivalent) while building the experience requirements.


PRO™ applicants rating satisfy the following practice (experience) requirements for the level of rating sought. Hours must be presented as either a digital (preferred) or paper logbook and the remote pilot must sign an affidavit as to the authenticity of the hours. In addition to the hour requirement, PRO™ applicants will also need to meet the years of active status requirement. Active status refers to any time period in which the applicant was performing flight duties or was qualified to perform flight duties. Active status will be determined by submission of a flight log documenting dates and hours and the submission of a signed affidavit.

Level of Rating UAS Hours Requirement Active Status Years
PRO™ Basic Certification 50 hours (specific UAS) 1 year
PRO™ Level I 250 hours 2 years
PRO™ Level II 500 hours 3 years
PRO™ Level III 1000 hours 3 years


All PRO™ applicants must have “good moral character” as determined by investigation by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), or undergo an independent character review by a third-party if they reside outside the United States. All PRO™ applicants must not have been subject to any enforcement actions from any Aviation Safety Investigators during the tenure of their PRO™ status. Additionally, all PRO™ applicants must agree to adhere to the Unmanned Safety Institute’s Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics. Level II and III applicants are required to show progression in their chosen profession. Progression is defined as fulfilling duty positions, taking on projects, serving on committees/boards, or making a significant contribution to the unmanned aviation community. Progression will be determined by one of the following methods.

• Signatures from supervisors or managers who can verify the applicant’s progression.

• Submitting copies of articles, reports, manuals, or policies that show significant progress.


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Individuals who qualify as a USI Professional Remote Operator® (PRO™) represent the most elite group of professional remote pilots and set themselves apart from basic remote pilots who only seek to maintain the bare minimum requirements. A USI PRO® understands the complexity of unmanned aviation and has applied themselves in both theory and practice to earn the UAS industry’s highest achievement: The Professional Remote Operator®.

At Least 150 Education Hours

Logged at least 50 Flight Hours on Specific UAS

Valid Remote Pilot Certificate

Agree to USI’s Code of Ethics

Pro Certification

It’s Time To Go PRO™.

Get Started Today For $999 $295*

*For a limited time

Need more proof?

There are already nearly 100,000 licensed drone pilots in the United States alone. And the FAA estimates that this number could surge to anywhere between 400,000 and 2.3 million licensed remote pilots by 2020. Meanwhile, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) forecasts that there could be up to 150,000 new jobs in industries such as agriculture, oil/gas, electric utilities, infrastructure inspection, and many others. While there are many estimates and forecasts, one thing is certain: drones are here to stay and they are bringing real-world job opportunities with them!



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