CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) Chandler-Gilbert Community College is the first community college in Arizona to offer a program teaching students how to operate a drone.

The two-year Unmanned Aircraft Systems program allows students to earn credits and their "Part 107," which is a license from the FAA to fly a drone commercially or just for fun.

"You're part of an elite group," said Logan Russo, a student in the program. "When you get that license, you're not just some guy that went to Walmart or Best Buy and picked up a drone."

[WATCH: "The drone industry is the next internet."]

According to Chandler-Gilbert Community College, there are only five other community colleges in the nation that offer a similar program.

"We are on the forefront of this, gathering up as many students as we can, getting them spooled up, schooled up, and trained to enter the job market," said Charles Morgan, an aeronautics professor at Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

The drone school is just getting off the ground with a handful of students. The community college hopes to enroll about 100 students by next fall.

"We're available. We have openings. We're ready to take on board all of the students that we can," Morgan said.

Chandler-Gilbert Community College is only steps from Mesa Gateway Airport, so the school had to install a large netted area to ensure drones and aircraft don't collide while students are practicing. The netting stretches 50 feet into the air and holds about a million-and-a-half cubic feet of flying area.

"This is such a great opportunity," said Gabriela Rosu, the dean of Chandler-Gilbert Community College. "The drone industry is the next internet."

And it's a chance for students like Russo to soar.

"You are a pilot," Russo said. "And that's special to me."

 


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