Big Bend Takes Off: Unmanned Aerial Systems Programs Gains Accreditation

MOSES LAKE — Big Bend Community College has been offering unmanned aerial systems classes since fall 2016, but starting in January students can receive an Associate of Applied Science degree in the program.

The college received notice last week that the program has received accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Big Bend also received accreditation for a “certificate of achievement” in its mechatronics program.

Accreditation means students taking those classes will qualify to receive financial aid for them, said program director Pat Ford. And training in both unmanned aerial systems and mechatronics will open up opportunities in a growing number of jobs, he added.

Unmanned aerial systems are what they sound like, and actually, versions of them are available in the toy and hobby aisle. Their applications, however, go way beyond flying around the neighborhood.

Rafael with drone
Rafael Villalobos operates a rotocopter used in the Big Bend Community College Unmanned Aerial Systems program.


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