If you’re looking to sit for the FAA’s Part 107 Exam but unsure of the administrative details, this is the article for you. Between the vast expanse of information available on the internet, and the information you actually need to know, it’s getting tougher and tougher each day to get straight answers. We’re here to cut to the chase, and give you the clarity you need to earn or renew your drone license. After all, why stress all of the administrative details around taking the test, when the test is what really matters?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
What to do before scheduling an exam at a testing center
First things first, be sure you’ve knocked out your relevant training courses, studied your sectional charts, and have brought yourself up to speed on current drone regulations. Once you feel comfortable with the material, have successfully completed multiple practice tests, and are ready to ace the knowledge test, you will need to schedule an appointment at an approved testing site. Before scheduling your Part 107 exam with the FAA’s Knowledge Testing Center partner, PSI, you will need to register on the FAA’s IACRA (Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application) website to receive an FTN (FAA Tracking Number). Your FTN is just a unique identifier that the FAA assigns to you, kind of like a social security number. So, just as you would with your SSN, make sure you write this number down and save it in a bunch of places – it’s important!
Here’s a guided walkthrough of how to get your FTN in IACRA. It literally only takes 10 minutes!
- Visit the IACRA website, and click the Register button at the upper-right hand corner.
- On the next page, click the box for Applicant and scroll all the way down to the bottom. Once that’s done, read through and accept the Terms of Service and click Agree to TOS and Continue >>.
- On the next page, you can leave the Certificate Information box blank – it doesn’t apply to most people, unless you have an existing FAA certificate. Fill out the Personal Information, Security Questions, and User Name / Password sections. Then, click Register at the bottom of the page.
- That’s all you need to get your FTN! At this point, you should be able to see your FTN at the top left corner of the page in IACRA when you’re logged in. If you’re out of time you can stop here, but while you’re at it, I highly recommend you go ahead and click Start New Application to begin your application for the Remote Pilot Initial Knowledge Test. You won’t be able to complete the application until you actually take the exam, since you won’t have your 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID, but you can get everything else filled out. If you don’t feel like starting the application now, don’t worry – you can always do it after you take the test.
How has COVID impacted the testing centers? Can I take it online?
As we’re writing this particular blog post, COVID is still a major issue around the world. As such, many PSI testing centers have had to close down to stem the spread of COVID. The bottom line is that testing centers in certain areas are closed, but not everywhere. All you need to do is visit PSI’s website, where you can search for testing centers near you that are *hopefully* open.
Unfortunately, while you can schedule the Part 107 Exam online, you may not currently take the test online from your home. The partnership between the FAA and PSI helps ensure that every student has every opportunity to succeed by taking the test in a standardized environment, with minimal to no distractions, and careful oversight from PSI employees to prevent any unauthorized conduct such as cheating.
Frankly, we commend PSI on their transparency during this global crisis. Any information you need about testing centers that we haven’t already answered here should be readily available on their website, by email, or by phone.
What to bring to the testing center
This is really important folks, because the last thing you want to worry about on test day is getting turned away because you forgot to bring the proper identification. We will start by covering information that pertains to all applicants, and then break out U.S. citizens & resident aliens, as well as non-U.S. citizens.
All Applicants must bring valid (legal) and current (not expired) forms of identification on test day. We will specify the documents that you can provide later on in this article, depending on whether you fall into the U.S. Citizen or Resident Alien bucket, or are a non-U.S. citizen. Regardless of which category you fall into, your identification must include ALL of the following information:
- Date of birth
- Physical, residential address
I want to emphasize that last part about your residential address. This needs to be current, and if it isn’t, they may not accept it at the testing center. If you are among the many people who have IDs with old residential addresses, or you just don’t have identification that includes your valid and current physical/residential address, you have a few options:
You may use your parent’s permanent address, OR you’ll need to bring another acceptable form of address verification with you on testing day. The FAA has listed a number of forms that folks can bring to verify their address, but we’ve gone ahead and simplified the list for the average person who either owns or rents a home:
If you own a home, it would probably be easiest to provide:
- Mortgage statement
- Public utilities (i.e. water, electric, gas) statement, but not your cable bill
- Property deed
- Property tax bill or receipt
- Homeowner’s insurance statement
If you rent a home, it would probably be easiest to provide:
- Signed lease agreement
- Public utilities (i.e. water, electric, gas) statement, but not your cable bill
- Renter’s insurance statement
Again, this only applies if the address listed on your identification is not current. If it is, then that’s enough to prove who you are and where you currently reside.
Now that we know what information must be in the documents that we display at the testing center, let’s cover the specific documents that you must use to satisfy the aforementioned requirements, depending on your residency status.
U.S. Citizens & Resident Aliens must provide:
- A U.S. state, territory, or government ID card (such as a driver permit or license, a government ID card, or a military ID card); OR
- Passport; OR
- Alien residency Card.
Non-U.S. Citizens must provide:
- Passport; AND EITHER
- Driver permit or license issued by a U.S. state or territory; OR
- ID card issued by any government entity.
Now, for those of you who are under 18 years old, and who do not have an acceptable form of identification, your parent or legal guardian must accompany you. They would need to bring the appropriate identification as described above.
Here is the FAA’s reference information if you’re looking for more granularity on this topic – just click View Test Authorization Requirements and it will show you the FAA’s most up-to-date guidance.
How do I find the nearest testing centers?
Navigate to the PSI Exams homepage, where you will see Find a Test Center on the primary navigation bar at the top of your screen.
While this will help you find the testing centers, you’ll still need to create a PSI account on the homepage in order to view the actual prices associated with those testing centers, and to schedule your exam. We’ll discuss that more below.
How much does it cost to schedule the exam?
The number you’ll often hear is $160, but if you’re a bit more flexible and live near a testing center that is within the PSI trusted network of testing centers (i.e. owned by PSI), you will only have to pay $96, saving you the $64 testing fee that PSI charges to take the test at most other facilities.
The good news is that once you’ve created your PSI account, you can search all locations nearby, giving you the choice of where you’d like to take the test (and when).
If you’re getting bogged down by the costs associated with getting started in the drone industry, just remember that once you’ve passed your Part 107 exam and purchased your drone, you can join Dronegenuity’s pilot network to start putting your investment to work. That should help you to stop spending, and start earning.
When do I find out if I passed?
You will be handed your score report as soon as you finish the exam. Additionally, you can always login to your PSI profile, and at the top of the next page, click Results. This will allow you to digitally download your score report, which is where you can access your Exam ID (required to complete your application for a Remote Pilot Certificate).
What if I didn’t pass?
If you didn’t pass the exam with the required 70% (42 / 60 questions must be answered correctly), you will need to wait 14 calendar days to retake the test, and pay the testing center fee again (either $96 or $160, depending on where you take it).
A word of advice: don’t let it shake your confidence.
Passing or failing the exam isn’t by any means a measure of your intelligence, it just means that you may not have correctly prepared for it. Make no mistake, there are plenty of tricky topics on this test, and if you don’t have any background in aviation, a lot of topics can feel really foreign. Dronegenuity offers an online Part 107 Test Prep course that will rebuild your confidence and ensure that you pass it on the next go. We’ve linked the course above, but if you’ve got any questions about it whatsoever, reach out to our team and we will gladly clarify anything we can.
What’s next after I pass my Part 107 exam?
There this one small thing that folks often overlook; just because you passed the test, does not automatically grant you your Part 107 certification! I mean, don’t get me wrong – you’re 95% there, but there are just a couple more things that need to happen before you are officially licensed.
First, you need to formally apply for your Remote Pilot Certificate. At the beginning of this article, when we discussed how to register for your FTN, you had the choice to begin your application for your remote pilot certificate. If you already did so, all you need to do is to update your application with your 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID (again, this can be found in your Score Report in PSI), and submit your application. If you didn’t already fill it out, go ahead and take care of that now, and submit your application.
It may take up to 48 hours from your test date for the Knowledge Test to appear in IACRA, so just give it some time. If you get home straight from the testing center, try to input the Exam ID, and it doesn’t work, you’re almost certainly fine – just give it a few days.
Anywhere from several days to a couple of weeks after submitting your application, your Temporary Remote Pilot Certificate should show up in IACRA (with the Permanent Remote Pilot Certificate in the mail). The system is supposed to send you an email when it’s available, but you can just as easily login every few days and check on the status of your application.
Once you’ve applied for your remote pilot certificate, the TSA will automatically run a background check on you to confirm your eligibility to become a Remote Pilot. The key word here is automatically – no action is required on your part! Also, if you’ve got a criminal background, don’t necessarily count yourself out – the TSA is primarily concerned with major crimes and terroristic activities, so it’s probably in your best interest to apply regardless of your history.
I’ve already completed my initial Part 107 exam. Can you help me schedule my recurrent exam to renew my Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate?
Of course we can! Once you pass your initial Part 107 exam and receive your Remote Pilot Certificate, you don’t have to worry about renewing it for 24-months. At that point, you need to go through a recurrent knowledge testing process to maintain your legal status as a commercial sUAS pilot – if you’ve already enrolled in our Part 107 Test Prep course, you will still have access and should absolutely use it to prepare for the exam.
You go about scheduling the recurrent knowledge test in the same way that you scheduled your initial knowledge test – just log back into your PSI account and register for the recurrent test instead of the initial one.
In addition to the identification documents that were detailed above for the initial knowledge test, make sure you bring your existing remote pilot certificate with you to your recurrent knowledge test. You will need to present this to the testing center employee or test proctor.
I’m already a Part 61 pilot, but I’m new to drone industry. How does my Part 107 certification process work?
We wanted to touch on this because, even though it’s a simplified process, it’s completely different than how much people get their Part 107, and often not explained very well.
The process for Part 61 certified pilots to receive their Part 107 certification is as follow:
- Create an account on the FAA Safety Team website
- Complete the ALC-451 Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems online course
- Once you’ve completed the course (about 2 hours), just log into IACRA (or create your account if you haven’t already) and fill out the 8710-13 electronic form (make sure you apply for a Remote Pilot Certificate), and print out the filled form. Bring the printed form, the certification of completion of the online course, the documentation of your flight review, and a photo ID to any of the following personnel for validation:
- FAA Flight Standards Office
- FAA-certified Flight Instructor (CFI)
- Per the FAA, CFIs cannot issue temporary certificates. They can, however, process applications for applicants who do not want a temporary certificate.
- FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE)
- Airman certificate representative (ACP)
- The FAA-certified personnel will give you a temporary certificate. Meanwhile, your permanent certificate should be making its way to you by regular mail.
- Every 24 months, you’ll need to renew your Part 107 certificate. As a Part 61 certificate holder, you need to have a current flight review under 14 CFR Part 61.56 requirements. Then, you’ll need to complete the Part 107 Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Recurrent online course (which is free, and again only takes about 2 hours). After completing the course, you just need a copy of the course certificate as proof that your Part 107 certificate is current – no in-person validation is required.
Is there anything else you think folks should know?
- Show up early. The latest you should be there is 15 minutes before your exam start time, but it helps to get there even earlier, since the proctors will have more time to get you squared away. Depending on how busy the testing center is, they might even just let you take the exam earlier than you had planned, getting you home early after the test!The testing center makes this point pretty clear: If you are more than 30 minutes late for your appointment – you will NOT be permitted to test and your exam fee will be forfeited.Yeesh…nobody wants that.
- Other than your brain and your required documents, you don’t need anything on test day. You are permitted to bring a four-function calculator, but you shouldn’t even need that since the test itself has a built-in calculator on the computer (and because there is hardly any math at all on the test).The test proctor will provide you with a hard copy of the testing supplement for the exam (super important). You can’t bring in your own documents or writing utensils – again, they will provide you with everything you need. For those of you who are really trying to follow the rules, just know that if you do bring any prohibited materials to the exam site, you’re fine as long as you don’t bring them into the exam room with you – the test proctors should provide you with a place outside of the exam room to store your personal belongings.
And that’s all there is to it!
Hopefully this information helps you show up on test day prepared, confident, and on-time!
Get there early, and don’t sweat the little stuff – you’ll do great.
Get Certified to Fly Commercially
The Dronegenuity Part 107 Test Prep Course does a deep dive into all of the topics that are covered on the FAA’s Part 107 Exam. This exam is required for drone users who intend on using their drone commercially. In other words, if you intend on making money with your drone, this course sets you up to take the FAA’s exam and get your certification. We’ll cover topics such as FAA regulations, weather, radio communications, sectional charts (of course), the national airspace system, and more. Enroll now to take your first step towards FAA certification.
We’d love to hear from you if you want to learn more about the benefits of aerial drone photography for the real estate industry. If you’re interested in obtaining your Part 107 Commercial Drone License or other drone training courses, please contact us at Dronegenuity today! We offer professional aerial photography services, performed by FAA licensed drone operators for customers of all sizes. All of the work that we do is completely customized and we make the process simple and convenient.