AUVSI Trusted Operator Program™ (TOP) Certification Workshop

Quick Facts

Please visit the individual course pages for prices and important information

Courses in Program
AUVSI TOP™ – Level 1 Certification Training
AUVSI TOP™ – Level 2 Certification Training
AUVSI TOP™ – Level 3 Certification Training

Course Dates & Locations
See individual course pages for dates and locations

About the Program

Developed by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI™), the Trusted Operator Program™ (TOP) provides an industry certification that demonstrates your knowledge, skills, and abilities as a professional unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) pilot.

Many industries such as fire rescue, law enforcement, agriculture, entertainment, inspections, and oil & gas seek to hire skilled UAV operators for critical operations around the world. UAV provide a host of benefits that enhance public safety, mitigate disasters, protect the environment, collect critical data and so much more. Learn more about the program in a recent article in Commercial UAV News.

How AUVSI TOP™ Works

  • Three sequential levels of certification workshops for remote pilots
  • Level 1 workshop is available 100% online and offered face to face at events throughout the year.  See individual course pages for schedules and prices.
  • Level 2 and 3 workshops are available for professional and experienced UAV operators online or in person, with an in-person flight assessment required
  • Prerequisite for all levels: FAA CFR Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Worldwide is the only university certified to deliver AUVSI TOP™ certification workshops and recently took first place in the organization’s Xcellence Awards as a training and education organization. Embry-Riddle has spent over 90 years improving operations and safety in the aviation industry. In this vital new industry segment, the university combines decades of professional theory, knowledge and experience from world-renowned faculty to provide unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operators with unparalleled, first-class education and training.

Who Should Attend

TOP certification offers benefits to individual UAS operators and allows them to demonstrate their professionalism, reliability, competence and commitment to safety. Organizations looking to stand up UAS operations or integrating with existing operations benefit by hiring TOP certified remote pilots and training existing employees to enhance their organization.


The three levels of TOP workshops are tailored to reflect different stages of safety resilience, skills, qualifications, and knowledge.

  • LEVEL 1 covers low-risk operations under the FAA’s small UAS rule (Part 107), such as flights during the day, below 400 feet and away from people.
  • LEVEL 2 is for operators who require a Part 107 waiver, a visual observer or sensor operator, or those that fall outside the Part 107 regulations. 
  • LEVEL 3 provides standards for operating in “safety critical” areas, such as near chemical, oil, gas or nuclear facilities, an extended line of sight, pipeline, power line, and cell tower inspections.

About the Instructors

Dr. Scott Burgess
Associate Professor of College of Aeronautics, Worldwide Campus

Dr. Scott Burgess' 35 years of aviation experience includes military, civil, and academic aviation organizations. Passionate about aviation education and training, Burgess is a certified flight instructor and remote pilot instructor, and professor in Aeronautical Science with Embry-Riddle for 19 years.

See Faculty Profile

Dr. Joseph S. Cerreta
Assistant Professor of College of Aeronautics, Worldwide Campus

Dr. Joseph Cerreta has 23 years of UAS experience as an instructor, manager, and director with UAS programs for the Department of Defense, Public Safety, and Academia. He developed a UAS emergency management response capability with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, which resulted in the National Weather Service’s use of UAS live-stream data specifically for tornado damage assessment for the first time in NWS history.

See Faculty Profile 

David Thirtyacre
Assistant Professor of College of Aeronautics, Worldwide Campus

David Thirtyacre has been an instructor with Embry-Riddle Worldwide for ten years and is the chair of the Department of Flight. He currently instructs at the undergraduate and graduate levels in Aerodynamics, Aircraft Performance, Unmanned Systems, Airborne Robotics, and Aviation and Aerospace Simulation Systems.

See Faculty Profile

Office of Professional Education
Worldwide Campus
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
1 Aerospace Boulevard
Daytona Beach, FL 32114,