Feet on the Ground – Career in the Clouds

/, Conference Spotlight Series/Feet on the Ground – Career in the Clouds


by Roth Britton, Project Manager, Worldwide Career Services

The Unmanned Systems Industry has captured the attention of many however does it have a solid platform to launch, and the fuel cell to propel sustained growth? If the AUVSI XPONENTIAL Expo was any indication of the future, the sea, ground, and sky’s the limit.

From the perspective of an av-geek the event had a “candy store” feel yet it was all business. The event boasted numerous corners of the industry. While most would immediately envision advanced quadcopters these beautiful birds were just the start. XPONENTIAL boasted advanced technology that touched industries related to air, land, and sea. The UAS platforms in attendance varied from military assets to the sustainable-focused long-range.

While platforms often get the immediate attention their capabilities are incomplete without sensors and payload options. XPONENTIAL showcased next generation compact LIDAR, infrared, ultra high-def cameras, swarming technology, mapping software, and much more. One thing that caught my eye was Dynetics grid-fin gliding munitions. The capabilities are largely classified however the external design is sophisticated, simple, and in my mind, a work of art.

There was also a buzz surrounding Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s very own Trusted Operator Program ( TOPtm). The ERAU Worldwide Department of Flight, the first academic organization in the world to be certified by AUVSI as a TOP training provider, conducted academics at XPONENTIAL 2019 to certify new TOP Level-1 operators. Dr. Scott Burgess and Dr. Joe Cerreta, both TOP Level-3 Instructors, led the 4.5 hour course through topics such as risk management, safety assurance, human factors, weather, aircraft maintenance, record keeping, and operational best practices. At the completion of the course, the students were certified as AUVSI TOP Level-1 operators. TOP also includes Level-2 and 3 certification which require more in-depth academics as well as a practical flight examination to evaluate the student’s flight proficiency similar to an FAA style check ride. TOP Level-3 certification is included in ERAU Worldwide degree programs through the UAS operations minor and concentration.

The TOP training offered by ERAU is more than just top-notch, it’s a career “door-opener.” The same can be said about the following programs the University offers*:

ERAU Worldwide

  • Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Systems Applications
  • Masters of Science in Unmanned & Autonomous Systems Engineering
  • Master of Science in Unmanned Systems
  • Various Professional Development Courses

ERAU Daytona Beach, FL

  • Bachelors of Science in Unmanned Systems Science
  • Masters of Science in Unmanned & Autonomous Systems Engineering

ERAU Prescott, AZ

  • Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems

*Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University offers other programs with UAS specializations.

If you are a student there are steps I encourage you to take that will elevate your status with employers. Your world-class Embry-Riddle education ensures a solid foundation to build from. To set yourself apart in a competitive industry, students must also look to elevate their profile beyond their degree.


Students are often looking to break through into new career paths and industries. Internships are a great fit for these types of students. Internships give students an opportunity to fill gaps in experience. If you are looking for internship opportunities please contact your corresponding career services team.

Translate – Transfer

If you have limited direct experience or experience in a different sector you may be able to leverage that in the unmanned systems field. You may have complimentary skill sets that would be marketed towards your new path. Along the same vein, you may have military or other industry experience that relates but needs translation. When applying for jobs or internship you must take care to know you audience and speak their language. If you need assistance capturing or translating past experience please reach out to your career services team.


The aviation community is known for being tight-knit. The same can be said about the unmanned community. Your ability to connect with companies and insiders is paramount. While this can be achieved through things like internships and LinkedIn, students often overlook the power of an expo. While some companies many not send recruiting representatives they do send other members of the team. This could give you the ability to connect with employees, gain insight into the hiring process, see what that company is showcasing, and possibly have your resume placed into the right hands. At the very least you will see what the industry is up to and who the players are. This will better prepare you for future professional interactions and interviews.

If you are looking to expand your reach within unmanned systems, expos like XPONENTIAL are a fantastic place to start. The industry and employers are calling! Get connected with your career services team today to help your career go further – faster!

You can read another article about the industry and TOP certification written by ERAU via the following:


Roth started his professional pursuits in the United States Air Force. This path provided a perfect channel for his love of aviation and service to others. Roth rose through the ranks of aircraft inspection, team leader, and shift supervisor. His breadth of experience in the military led him to complete his associates degree and A&P license while still on active duty. After his time in the Air Force, Roth completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Aviation Management as well as his Master of Business Administration degree from Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach campus. Following graduation, he was employed as an Academic Advisor and a VA Counselor/Certifying Official for the Embry-Riddle Worldwide (WW) Online campus. Roth has also been employed as an adjunct faculty member for the Daytona Beach Campus. Roth’s prior experience and passion for both students and the industry we serve made him a great fit for the Career Services department. He currently serves the team as a project manager and the University as adjunct faculty. Roth has also served the University’s Women in Aviation Chapter as the former treasurer and vice president as well as the current president. Roth also serves the ERAU community as the director of events for the Workplace Environment Quality Counsel.


2019-05-26T10:33:23-05:00May 28th, 2019|Career Paths, Conference Spotlight Series|

Leave A Comment