In the past few years, the most remunerative majors have been in STEM fields like computer science and engineering, and energy-related coursework in petroleum sciences. But there’s a new lucrative major on the rise, meeting the demand of one of technology’s most controversial new developments: Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).
In other words, the newest hot major on campuses across the country is drones. Thirty universities already have UAS programs, where students learn how to fly everything from small quadrocopters to military-grade drones, Business Insider reports.
Drone operators do more than take sick aerial videos of erupting volcanoes, sunsets and fireworks displays. As small drones work their way into the mainstream, farmers, storm-chasers and real estate developers are all finding uses for camera-mounted drones that can quickly get high up to look at broad landscapes or hard-to-reach places.
Jobs on U.S. soil can start at $60,000, but if you manage to land a military contract, the entry level jobs edge up toward six figure salaries.
“If it involves overseas deployment, starting salary is close to six figures, $80,000 plus deployment pay, an additional compensation package for being deployed and having to spend six months out of the year sequestered away in Afghanistan,” Kurt Barnhart, who oversees Kansas State’s UAS program, told BI.
The UAS field is already an $11 billion industry, and that number is only set to rise. So if you’re in the quad and you see a hexicopter trying to sneak a peak into a dorm window, remember: it’s probably just for a class project.