January 9, 2020

Nunez college offering drone certification course in Chalmette

Created following high demand for certified drone operators

Some would say we’re living in the future. Now, a school in the metro area is offering a course on how to fly drones, become certified operators and make a new career path.

On a sunny Saturday at Nunez Community College in Chalmette, students like Brian Picou can be seen getting hands-on experience launching small but powerful drones around campus.

Picou has worked in the operating room for 10 years at hospital in the New Orleans area. He says his children are the ones who made him interested in drone technology.

“I have a 14-year-old and an 11-year-old at home and so they’ve always talked about these things for Christmas, but this is a bit more high-tech and technical,” Picou said.

He is one of seven students the drone certification course at Nunez. The class is a five-week program that cost $300 and is available to anyone, enrolled student or not, 16 and older.

Picou says he’s getting his certification for a side job to fly drones for construction companies.

David Vumbaco, the director of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) at Nunez says the course teaches students the ins-and-outs of flying a drone.

“If something goes wrong with the drone, you have to be able to fix in the air before it falls, right? And then you got to learn all the rules, and the government has a lot of rules with flying drones,” Vumbaco said.

Vumbaco says Nunez started offering the courses due to a high demand for certified drone operators.

Saturdays are when the fun happens. Students fly as part of the certification process, starting with smaller drones and working their way up to the Mavic series of drones used commercially.

Vumbaco says the goal is get 15 people enrolled in the course.

“We’re living in the future, it’s a pretty cool idea to be providing a service that depends on drones and getting that out there,” Vumbaco said.