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Mt. SAC Chosen for FAA Training Program

Group shot of drone program students

June 10, 2021 - 09:49 AM

Mt. San Antonio College has been selected to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems - Collegiate Training Initiative program (FAA UAS-CTI Program).

The FAA’s UAS-CTI program recognizes institutions that prepare students for careers in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly referred to as drones. In order to qualify for the initiative, schools must offer a bachelor’s or associate degree in UAS or a degree with a minor, concentration, or certificate in UAS. Schools must provide curriculum covering various aspects of UAS training, including hands-on flight practice, maintenance, uses, applications, privacy concerns, safety, and federal policies concerning UAS.

Mt. SAC’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Certificate and Degree programs prepare students for careers in the rapidly growing area of unmanned aircraft systems, including piloting, mission planning, data collection and analysis, and other related skills. Students have the opportunity for flight training with multi-rotor and fixed wing unmanned aircraft systems. Through course work, simulation and flight training, students may achieve the FAA remote pilot certificate. Successful completion of this program enables students to take the FAA examination.

Robert Rogus, co-chair of the Aeronautics Department, said the FAA UAS-CTI Program helps the college’s on-campus programs by bringing together FAA expertise, UAS industry partners, and other UAS-CTI colleges in sharing best practices.

“We’re excited about the FAA UAS-CTI Program because it gives us the opportunity to collaborate with the FAA and the other UAS-CTI colleges in helping build a new industry and prepare a new workforce,” he said. “Aviation has been part of Mt. SAC’s programs since 1946 and there’s no better place for people in our community to get started in the aviation industry than Mt. SAC.”

One of the courses in the UAS program is drone photography. Photography and Drone Imaging Professor Jason Perez said he is thrilled Mt SAC has been named an FAA College Training Initiative school. “Cross-discipline collaboration between Aeronautics and the Photography program as a recognized CTI campus will further our commitment to student success in the field of unmanned and automated flight systems,” he said.

Aeronautics professor Will Chesher said the partnership provides a guided pathway to high paying jobs. “The expansion of this industry reminds me of when the iPhone was released,” Chesher said. “It represents a true shift in how technology can be used to better our lives. Unmanned aviation, robotic sensors, the promise of artificial intelligence, and autonomous flight open endless job opportunities for our students."

For more information on Mt. SAC’s UAS program, visit