Why We Love It
$56,320Potential Avg. Salary
0.7%Job Growth Rate
Growing DemandJob Outlook
Don't Take Work HomeCareer Attribute
Unmanned vehicle technicians perform routine maintenance on vehicles that do not require drivers or pilots. This may include unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or ground-based vehicles like self-driving cars and trucks.
What is an Unmanned Vehicle Technician?
The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in unmanned vehicle technician roles:
- Conduct routine maintenance on UAV drones and/or self-driving cars
- Troubleshoot malfunctioning or defective unmanned vehicles, and repair issues discovered
- Inspect unmanned vehicles for maintenance issues or possible malfunctions before use
A Day in the Life
Advances in technology have brought ideas like self-driving cars and drones off of the big-screen and into our daily lives, and unmanned vehicle technicians play an important role in the adoption of these technologies. Unmanned vehicle technicians perform maintenance tasks on vehicles that do not require a driver or pilot, such as self-driving cars and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) like drones. Unmanned vehicle technicians oversee the day-to-day operation of these vehicles, conducting routine maintenance and ensuring vehicles are in working order.
Before flights or drives, unmanned vehicle technicians inspect vehicles to ensure they’re in working order. When vehicles are not in working order, technicians perform the necessary diagnostic and repair work, evaluating issues, conducting maintenance, and replacing parts. They may also have administrative tasks such as reporting maintenance performed, notifying engineers of ongoing or unsolvable issues, or demoing vehicle capabilities to interested parties.
While self-driving cars have not yet reached a point of wide adoption, they are frequently used in manufacturing facilities for the transport of goods from one location on property to another. Additionally, companies like Google are working hard on self-driving car technology, and self-driving semi-trucks are in research and development as well. All of the hard work that is going in to the design and production of these vehicles promises a bright future for aspiring unmanned vehicle technicians.
Typical Work Schedule
Most unmanned vehicle technician roles are full-time positions conducted during normal business hours. However, some UAV technicians may be employed by emergency services companies to assist with firefighting or paramedic operations, and unmanned vehicle technicians may need to be on hand at all hours of the day—including weekends and holidays—to conduct inspections and maintenance on equipment before use.
Projected Job Growth
As a result of advances in technology for UAV drones and wider availability and adoption, it’s expected that the demand for unmanned vehicle technicians will increase significantly in the coming decade. This is also expected to receive a boost once self-driving vehicle technology has improved to the point where it can be used more widely.
Unmanned vehicle technicians are commonly hired to work for research and development companies, engineering companies, the federal government, manufacturing companies, and emergency services providers.
How To Become an Unmanned Vehicle Technician
Unmanned vehicle technicians need the skills of both a mechanic and an electrical engineer to perform their roles—responsibilities include both routine vehicle maintenance tasks and very detailed computer troubleshooting and component repair. For this reason, there is no straightforward path to becoming an unmanned vehicle technician, and training for the role may require a variety of professional and educational experiences.
Professional experience working as a mechanic on manned vehicles can be a good starting point for a career as an unmanned vehicle technician. Because mechanics can be hired right out of high school, aspiring unmanned vehicle technicians can begin familiarizing themselves with the inner-workings of normal vehicles and learning how to conduct maintenance and repair tasks. While gaining this professional experience, it is also good to pursue a degree at the same time.
Common degrees for aspiring unmanned vehicle technicians include bachelor’s or associate’s degrees in computer science, electrical engineering, or robotics. These programs are all focused on training students how to work with computer systems and components—a valuable skill for performing technician tasks on computer-guided vehicles. With experience as a mechanic and a computer-focused degree, you should be able to qualify for entry-level positions as an unmanned vehicle technician.
For individuals looking to work as technicians on unmanned aerial vehicles, FAA aircraft mechanic certification may be required. To earn an FAA certification, aspiring UAV technicians need to complete up to 30 months of professional training under an experienced mechanic and pass written, oral, and practical examinations. A bachelor’s degree is also commonly required in addition to an FAA certification.
Unmanned Vehicle Technician Salary Data
We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.
National Anual Salary
National Hourly Wage
How do Unmanned Vehicle Technician salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Unmanned Vehicle Technician's can make an average annual salary of $56,320, or $27 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $41,600 or $20 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.
Salary Rankings And Facts
#311 Nationally for All Careers
Highest Education Among Unmanned Vehicle Technicians
- 0.5% Doctorate
- 2.6% Masters
- 15.2% Bachelors
- 21.6% Associates
- 33.5% College
- 22.6% High School
- 4% Less than High School
Job Growth Projections and Forecast
2014 Total Jobs14,700
2024 Est. Jobs14,800
Job Growth Rate0.7%
Est. New Jobs100
How does Unmanned Vehicle Technician job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 100 jobs for a total of 14,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 0.7% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.
Growth Rankings And Facts
#585 Nationally for All Careers
What Companies Employ The Most Unmanned Vehicle Technicians
|Industry||Current Jobs||New Jobs Needed||% Increase|
|Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and control instruments manufacturing||1,900||-200||0%|
|Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing||1,300||-200||0%|
|Support activities for mining||1,100||200||0%|