LATON, California (KGPE) – Laton High School is now teaching its students how to be drone pilots.

Students can earn their drone pilot licenses through after-school coursework offered through the Expanded Learning Program.

Expanded Learning Program coordinator Melody Montoya says the goal is to offer career-focused opportunities.

“The focus of our program is to provide industry-recognized certificates to give the students more of an opportunity to enter the workforce – and the drone program came about because there’s a strong ag program here at the school and we were thinking about ways that we could enhance the skill ability of the students here.”

Montoya adds that by 2025, there is projected to be thousands of career opportunities in piloting unmanned drones.

Instructors Jet Vong and Joshua Medrano take students from drone basics to the skills and knowledge necessary to earn their license.

“It opens doors to a career as an aerial photographer, videographer in the film industry, or a surveyor for an engineering company,” said Vong.

Interested students need to be at least 16 years old to get a drone pilot’s license. Vong says the program is a good fit for high schoolers because it offers teenagers freedom and opportunity.

“Once you get your drone license you can actually do freelance work.”

Laton High School students are just now returning to in-person learning. Montoya says students can still join the Extended Learning Program in time to earn their drone pilot’s license.