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How to Get a Drone License in New Jersey (Explained for Beginners)

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Drone Blog
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Did you know you can see the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline from New Jersey via drone?

But to attribute to NJ’s own charms, this state is the home of beaches and historic city sectors like Trenton. It’s got a bit of everything, from mountains to coastline and forests.

It’s all so much fun to explore, but not until you have a drone license. What’s required?

How to get a drone license in New Jersey?

Here’s how to get a drone license in New Jersey:

  • Meet the FAA’s basic testing requirements
  • Enter into the FAA’s system with an FTN through IACRA
  • Register at a New Jersey Knowledge Testing Center
  • Study for the Part 107 test
  • **Get a passing grade **
  • Send in Form 8710-13

I live in New Jersey, so who better than me to help you through the steps to obtain a commercial drone certificate in the Garden State? I’ll share my top tips and pointers for navigating the process so you can have license in hand quickly.

Here’s how to get a drone license in New Jersey #

I’m sure you’re eager to explore New Jersey via drone, but first, you need to decide which type of drone license you want. 

If you’re reading this, you’re probably interested in the Remote Pilot Certificate, which is obtainable by passing the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam. 

The Remote Pilot Certificate is another name for the commercial drone license, the one that lets you make money from flying your drone (nope, you can’t do that with the hobbyist license), so it’s the one most people want. 

You’re just where you need to be if that’s also the license you’re interested in acquiring. Sit back and let me explain how it’s done. 

Meet the FAA’ s basic testing requirements #

Before diving in headfirst, let’s make sure you meet the FAA’ s drone pilot criteria. The FAA requires you to be at least 16 before taking the commercial drone exam.

You also need full English comprehension and to be in optimal mental and physical shape to operate a drone. 

In other words, if you feel like you can safely fly, you’re good to go. 

Enter into the FAA’s system with an FTN through IACRA #

If you like checking items off lists like I do, that’s already one checkmark for you. Now, it’s onto the second one, and it’s a biggie. 

You need an FAA Tracking Number. 

An FTN is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a number the FAA uses to track your aeronautic activities to ensure you’re not doing anything illegal. And if you are, the FAA relies on your FTN to find you and issue a punishment, such as a fine. 

How do you get your own FTN? As a caveat, you don’t need one if you’ve engaged in other aeronautics, as you already have an FTN. For first-time, brand-new drone pilots, here’s what you need to do.

Visit the IACRA website. IACRA, or the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application, is a web resource the FAA uses for aircraft searches, documentation, registry processing, and training. 

It’s a website you’ll know like the back of your hand by the time you finish this whole process. Until you do, let me help you navigate.

You need an IACRA account to log in and get your FTN. Follow these steps to make yours.

  • On the IACRA homepage, click the Register link under the login box.
  • Choose the appropriate role for you. I can’t tell you what that is, but if you’re a brand-new drone pilot, you only have to select applicant
  • Read IACRA’s terms of service and click Agree to TOS and Continue when you’re ready to move on.
  • Skip the **Certificate Information **section, as you don’t have an FAA certificate date and number yet (we’re working on that for you now).
  • Input all information under the **Personal Information **section, including your first, middle, and last name. Don’t forget your birthdate and email address. 
  • Answer two **security questions **from a list of dropdown options.
  • Make a unique **username and password **for logging into IACRA.
  • Click Register.

Next, open your inbox and keep watching it. IACRA will send you an email confirming your account was successfully created, although this can sometimes take a few minutes. 

After receiving the email, you can log in. Now that you have an account through IACRA, the FAA will generate a unique FTN for you. Cool! 

Register at a New Jersey Knowledge Testing Center #

With your FTN at the ready, you can continue toward your commercial drone license. That’s right, you’re still not exactly ready to take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam, but it’s coming. 

Before that, you have to register to take the exam. You can do so through PSI. Once you click the **Create an Account **button, you have to verify your identity via your FTN. 

PSI also requires Multi-Factor Authentication beginning in 2024 using a temporary one-time password service and an authenticator you can download through PSI for your browser or operating system. 

Once you’ve gotten that taken care of, proceed to the User Registration page. Here, you can create your username and password. Type your password a second time, click Continue, and voila, you’re finished.

Keep your eyes peeled for an email from FTN. When you get it, click the link in the email to verify your account.

Now you’re ready to log in. Choose **Find a Test Center **to research FAA Knowledge Testing Centers nearest you.

Oh, let me rewind a moment. FAA Knowledge Testing Centers are where you take the Part 107 exam. It’s not offered online, so you have to venture out. No matter where you live in Jersey, from Orange to Cape May, you can find a Knowledge Testing Center on PSI. 

Just don’t forget to select Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) for the type of exam you’re taking. 

Study for the Part 107 test #

While studying is technically optional, I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. The Part 107 exam is not free to take. It costs over $150, which is a lot of money to have to shell out once, let alone several times. 

Indeed, you can take the Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) test as many times as needed to pass. The FAA won’t stop you, and you’re only required to wait two weeks in between.

However, you’ll put such a huge wallop on your wallet if you go that route. That’s why I recommend studying.

I won’t leave you to fend for yourself, finding study resources out in the wild. We’ve kindly compiled the best of the best drone courses for beginners courtesy of Droneblog.

» MORE: Best Drone Courses for Beginners (Part 107 & More)

You can’t go wrong no matter which of those resources you select. Many offer a pass guarantee, where if you don’t score a passing grade on your commercial drone exam, you can get money toward your next exam and a full refund for what you paid for the course. 

But don’t worry, I doubt it will come to that. The pass rate for most of these courses is 90 percent or higher. I told you I only recommended the best! 

Get a passing grade  #

The aeronautic knowledge exam or Unmanned Aircraft General – Small (UAG) exam will cover every last rule the FAA has created about unmanned aircraft activity. You must know how to radio others, all the different airspace classifications, and what to do in an emergency. 

That’s just scratching the surface, of course. 

You should be ready for the exam after enrolling in a beginner Part 107 course. You’ll be put up to the task of answering 60 multiple-choice questions on the above drone rules, with three possible answers to choose from. 

Your mission? Answer 70 percent of the questions correctly, meaning you can get 18 wrong. 

Here’s some more info so you don’t get tripped up on testing day. You must have a valid form of photo ID on you, like a driver’s license. You don’t have to bring extra items with you, but you can if you want. A math calculator and protractor are two tools you can use. 

Above all else, take a deep breath and go slowly. The test is two and a half hours, so you have time to answer all the questions and check your work before submitting your answers. 

Send in Form 8710-13 #

And now begins the toughest part of all, the arduous wait to see if you passed. IACRA will have your test results, but don’t hold your breath. They’re sometimes not ready for weeks. Yes, I said weeks. Ugh, I know.

When the fateful day arrives that you hear the good news, there’s one more step to complete the process of becoming a commercial drone license holder in New Jersey. You need to send in FAA Form 8710-13. 

It’s back to IACRA to access and send the form. Upon logging in, select Start New Application. You will see several dropdown menus, such as **Application Type **and Certifications. Choose **Pilot **for the first dropdown and **Remote Pilot **for the second. 

That’s easy enough.

Next, navigate to Other Path Information, then Start Application. Follow through the prompts, which are very straightforward, and leave an electronic signature before you submit your paperwork. 

IACRA and the FAA will begin processing your request. Along the way, the TSA will get your information for a background check. If all goes well, IACRA will send you a temporary, printable version of your Remote Pilot Certificate. 

The FAA will issue you a permanent license in the mail, but since it has a lot more processing to go through, expect to wait longer for the certificate. 

I have my drone license in New Jersey – Now what?  #

Congratulations on becoming an official commercial drone license holder in New Jersey. Now you can take your drone wherever you want to go.

Well, you can almost do that. Just a few more things that are important before you start flying.

For example, you have to register all drones for commercial use once every three years under FAA regulations. While you don’t have to insure your drone, I always think it’s a good idea for new pilots. You can never be too careful out there! 

Also, how familiar are you with New Jersey’s drone laws? If you answered sort of familiar or unfamiliar, that’s a problem. 

SB 3370 is a state law prohibiting pilots from endangering property and lives with their drone, using a drone to hunt, and operate a drone intoxicated. You could go to jail for six months and/or receive a $1,000 fine for violating this law.

The New Jersey State Park Service Policy doesn’t allow any drones across NJ’s state parks unless you have Assistant Director permission. 

New Jersey has a slew of local laws discussed in the link above, so give them a read! 

Before you know it, license renewal time will come. That’s right, your commercial drone license is only valid for two years. At that point, if you wish to continue flying, you must renew it.

This handy post from our blog reviews everything you need to know about drone license renewal.

» MORE: Renewal of Your Part 107 Certificate – 5 Steps to a Part 107 sUAS Recurrent Certificate


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