Drones creating thousands of new jobs in Florida

St Pete College adding drone-certification classes
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Thousands of new jobs are coming to every industry in Florida and it's all because of drones. 

“I can have fun and I can get paid, wooh!” said Shawn Morse. 

Morse typically gets that reaction when he sells drones to customers from his TB Drones and Hobby Store on Ulmerton Road.

St. Petersburg College professors typically get that reaction too when they introduce students to careers with drones. Nearly every industry from emergency workers to realtors are turning to the high-flying contraptions.

“The industry is just going to blow up,” explained Program Coordinator Fred Tucker, who coordinates the drone program out of the SPC EpiCenter Tech campus in Clearwater. 

For Page Wurts, who just over a year ago became a certified drone pilot, it wasn’t about taking his roof inspection career to new heights, but instead: Keeping himself grounded.

“Safe is important to me. Falling on your head is no fun,” he said with a laugh.

The older Wurts became, the more he realized he needed a safer option. 

“Without taking any chances falling of falling off 45 foot ladders and sliding off roofs.”

He took classes at St. Petersburg College and became a certified drone pilot. He cut the time it takes to survey a roof from four hours to less than 20 minutes, and that’s helped him add more clients.

Wurts isn’t alone, St. Pete College keeps adding drone classes for the public and they keep filling up.

It's for good reason. The industry is growing wildly fast. Within the next few years, 100,000 new jobs are expected to be added and 1.6 million commercial drones will be in the air helping people run their businesses.

There are several drone classes coming up at St. Pete college in the next few months. 

The Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College is offering the courses to the public. They range in price from $79 to $340.

Here are the upcoming classes:

  • One-day UAS Overview Course from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 29 at SPC EpiCenter, 13805 58th St. N., Clearwater.
    • This one-day introductory course includes hands-on flight lessons for students, flight demonstrations and drone displays, FAA airspace regulations, appropriate use of drones, weather topics, and resources for drone operators.  To complete registration, visit here.
  • Four-week UAS Remote Pilot Certificate Prep Course from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on four consecutive Wednesday s from May 3 to may 24, SPC Oldsmar Training Center, 127 State St. West.
    • This four-week course is designed to prepare students to pass the FAA Remote Pilot Certificate exam.  The course will include UAS regulations, flight operations and restrictions, emergency procedures, crew resource management, radio communication procedures, aeronautical decision-making and judgement, and maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures.  To complete registration, visit here.

The college also plans to host a summer program for Pinellas County high schoolers and a drone entrepreneurship class.

For more information, contact Fred Tucker at 727-791-2409 or