COLUMBUS, OHIO (WOWK) – It’s safe to say unmanned aircrafts or “drones” are a popular item in the U.S.. Whether being used for work or recreational purposes, the pilots flying them must know how to operate them correctly.

In the U.S., 1.7 million drones are registered with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, less than a quarter of the aircraft owners are actually certified to use them.

In an effort to encourage those in the buckeye state to get that certification, with the help of grant funding, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is offering a free online course.

ODOT spokesperson Amanda McFarland says it’s a fairly simple tool to use.

It’s like taking a driver’s (education) class. You take the class to get the knowledge and then you can go and take the test.

Amanda McFarland, ODOT spokesperson

The test pilots have to take after the course is the “Remote Pilot Certification Exam.” The course is not just designed to help pilots learn “how” to fly the aircraft, but also when and where they can fly it.

You’ll learn about the regulations for flying. So, where you can fly and where you can’t fly, when you can and when you can’t.

Amanda McFarland, ODOT spokesperson

Students of the course learn about the different disciplinary actions as well. If a drone were to be used to violate privacy laws, legal action could be taken against the pilot.

Opening doors for job opportunities is also an added bonus for taking the courses. Jobs such as surveying and inspections of property, roads, bridges, buildings, and telecommunications structures are just a few in the state of Ohio.

McFarland also says the course is being offered as a “self-paced course, so you can do it on your own time.”

For more information on the course and how to sign up, click here.