Professional Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
On-Campus Day* - Your course activity is done in-person Monday - Friday, before 6 PM.
On-Campus Evening/Weekend - Your course activity is done in person on weekdays from 6 PM or later, or Saturdays and Sundays.
Online Day* - Your course activity is done online Monday - Friday, before 6 PM.
Online Evening/Weekend - Your course activity is done online on weekdays from 6 PM or later, or Saturdays and Sundays.
Online Flexible Delivery - Your course activity is not scheduled and therefore you can determine when to do the coursework.
Blended Delivery - Both On-Campus and Online - Some of your coursework will be in-person, on-campus and some will be done online.
* There may be circumstances that require some day delivery of classes to be scheduled into the evenings.
Please note due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these delivery options may shift from term to term. Please consult your program for details on delivery options.
Estimated program length is based on the recommended course load per semester as outlined in the Courses tab.
Actual program length will vary based on the number of courses/credits successfully completed per semester.
This program meets the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit program for international students as long as the student is enrolled in the on-campus delivery mode or completes more than 50% of the courses on campus (for the blended option).
International students attending all classes online will NOT be eligible for a Post-Graduate Work Permit. International students are responsible for maintaining their eligibility throughout their studies.
This program is available to international students, however, program availability may be limited. This program does not meet the eligibility criteria for the Post-Graduation Work Permit program.
Gain specialized professional skills to become a drone pilot in this emerging field with application to various industries.
Our Professional Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) program will teach you all aspects of operating drones for commercial use. From agricultural, environmental and industrial monitoring and inspection to emergency response to 3-D mapping and beyond, the use of drones for a variety of applications in numerous industries is rapidly evolving.
You’ll learn about the construction and maintenance of drone technology and be trained and licensed according to Transport Canada guidelines for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. You’ll also add value to clients and employers by gaining practical experience with inspections, mapping and the processing of geomatics data performed by Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and emerging Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations. Understanding these systems will allow you to contribute to business operations by addressing how RPAS and BVLOS can help meet business needs and client demands.
Is this the right fit for me?
In accordance with Transport Canada’s overall requirements, the pilot operating the RPAS must:
- not suffer from any condition which would render them unfit to perform their duties.
- have visual acuity 20/20 or 20/20 corrected (i.e. use of corrective lenses).
- have sufficient English language ability to be understood by local Air Traffic Control when using VHF radio.
- have evidence of good health.
After successfully completing this program, graduates will receive their Professional Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems certificate.
Get more information about this and similar programs
Graduates can pursue job opportunities as a(n):
- RPAS pilot performing visual inspections
- beyond visual line of sight RPAS operations
- mission planner
- pilot performing survey and mapping flights
Related careers include:
- geographic information systems technologist
- non-destructive inspection technician
Tuition and fees
- Year 1: $10,387.50
Final costs are dependent on the number of course credits a student takes per semester.
You will be offered admission to this program through direct entry if you meet the admission requirements and space is available.
This program may not have an intake every semester. See available intakes above.
This program does not accept international applicants.
|Intake semester||Semester begins||Applications open||Domestic applications close*|
|Winter 2023||Jan. 9, 2023||March 30, 2022||Oct. 27, 2022|
|Spring 2023||May 8, 2023||June 13, 2022||Feb. 24, 2023|
|Summer 2023||July 4, 2023||Oct. 5, 2022||April 28, 2023|
|Fall 2023||Sept. 5, 2023||Oct. 5, 2022||June 28, 2023|
|Winter 2024||Jan. 8, 2024||March 29, 2023||Oct. 26, 2023|
|Spring 2023||May 6, 2024||June 12, 2023||Feb. 23, 2024|
*In some instances, domestic applications will be accepted after the application deadline. In that case, the program's intake status will remain open.
At least 50% in the following courses or their equivalents:
- English Language Arts 30-1 or English Language Arts 30-2, and
- Math 30-1 or Math 30-2, and
- one grade 12 science course
All applicants must demonstrate English language proficiency prior to admission, including students educated in Canada.
SAIT evaluates international documents for admissions. After you've applied, consider our international document assessment service if your education is from outside of Canada. SAIT may also accept courses completed at certain international post-secondary institutions.
Direct entry: four-step process
Step 1: Read the program information to see the qualities needed for student success.
Step 2: Ensure that you meet all of the admission requirements listed above.
Admission will be extended on a first-qualified, first-offered basis until the program is full.
You must submit final transcripts/grades to show you have completed the courses and met the minimum admission requirements by the transcript deadline or your seat will be rescinded.
Communication during admission
Email is the primary source of communication during the selection process. Ensure your personal email account is managed appropriately to receive our emails, files and communications. We recommend you add the firstname.lastname@example.org domain to your safe senders' list or you risk missing critical email messages.
When do classes start?
Classes for this program adhere to the following year start and end dates based on the semester the student begins their program.
|Classes begin||Year start date||Year end date|
|Spring 2023||May 8, 2023||Aug. 18, 2023|
|Fall 2023||Sept. 5, 2023||Dec. 15, 2023|
Looking for course descriptions and requisites? Visit the course catalogue
|Course code||Course name||Credit|
|AERO-200||Advanced Mapping for RPAS||1.5|
|AERO-201||Basic Mapping for RPAS||1.5|
|AERO-202||Beyond Visual Line of Sight Operations (BVLOS)||3.0|
|AERO-208||Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems - Professional Flight School||3.0|
|AERO-209||RPAS System Servicing||3.0|
|AERO-212||RPAS- Professional Operations and Planning||3.0|
|INSP-200||Visual Inspection Level II||1.5|
Students must attain a PGPA and/or a CGPA of 2.0 or better in each semester and pass the necessary prerequisite courses to progress through the program. To qualify for graduation, students must pass all courses, attain a CGPA of 2.0 or better and complete course requirements within the prescribed timelines.
The opportunity to advance your education by transferring in, within or on from SAIT is available.
Learn more about program and institution partnership agreements.
Domestic tuition and fees
Cost per credit: $529
|Year||Number of semesters||Tuition fees||SAIT fees||Saitsa fees*||Total|
*Maximum fee. Actual fees may be less and are based on the number of credits a student takes per semester and whether they opt-out of health and dental benefits.
- Campus athletic and recreation fee: $98
- Universal transit pass (Upass): $160
- Student support fee: $100
- Student technology fee: $100
Student Association fee
- Maximum: $145.50
This is the maximum amount the student will pay. Actual fees may be less and are based on the number of credits the students take per semester.
Health and dental fees
- Health plan: $127
- Dental plan: $135
Students with existing health and/or dental plans can opt-out. Please refer to Saitsa's website for information.
Books and supplies*
Books are approximately $50 to $150.
A mandatory drone build kit must be purchased from SAIT for approximately $500 – $1000.
For an estimate of the costs associated with purchasing a computer that meets the program's hardware and software requirements, see our computers and laptops page.
Learn more about tuition and financial aid.
*Tuition, fees, books and supply costs are subject to change.
Next steps for incoming students
Have you been accepted to this program? Here's what you'll need for your first day of classes.
Your program orientation (ORNT 118) will be held on campus on Sept. 1. Check your schedule in mySAIT for the time and location details.
Learn more about campus orientation.
How to register for classes
Course registration opens on Tuesday, Nov. 15 for Winter 2023.
You’ll receive an email from us indicating what registration process you’ll use to enroll in your classes.
Learn more about how to register and the different registration methods used at SAIT.
Computers and laptops
This is a bring your own device program with a standard hardware and software requirement. See the specific requirements on our computers and laptops page.
Students will be required to purchase a drone package totalling up to $999.00 for AERO 209. This package will be used to build and understand how all the components of a basic drone work.
A tool list and timeline for purchasing the required items will be provided at orientation.
Required personal protective equipment (PPE)
The industry-approved PPE you'll need will be discussed during orientation.
To support your success, short courses are available to you to help prepare you for the academic year:
PERS 050: Student Rights and Responsibilities
This course is designed to introduce you to student rights and responsibilities at SAIT. You will learn about SAIT's rich and diverse community, become familiar with guidelines and procedures that create a safe, respectful learning experience for you, and gain practical tips for how you can engage in the SAIT community in a positive and responsible way. PRES-050 must be completed within 30 days from the start of the semester.
PREP 100: The SAIT Experience
Get tips and insider information on time management, exam preparation, effective notetaking and more through this free, online short course for new students. Plus, learn about discussion boards, online communication and submitting assignments online. Course completion is recommended by the end of your first semester.
Both courses can be accessed through Brightspace (D2L) before the first day of classes.
Students taking a full-time course load, or more than nine (9) credits per semester, will be automatically enrolled in these courses.
They are optional for students taking a part-time course load (9 or fewer credits per semester). Part-time students can register by emailing email@example.com.
Find your booklist on the SAIT Bookstore's website. The booklist will be available closer to the program start date.
Can’t find your program or course? The bookstore didn't receive a textbook list. Contact your program directly to determine if they’re still refining course details or if you're in luck, no textbook purchase is required this term.
Stephanie Hogewoning, Academic Chair
Next steps for all students
Here's what else you'll need to do to get ready!
Important dates and deadlines
Find important dates applicable to all students, including your transcript and tuition payment deadlines on our Important Dates page.