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Help wanted: Commercial drone boom opens door for mechanics

FILE - In this June 22, 2016, file photo, a drone aircraft with a payload of simulated blood flies during a ship-to-shore delivery simulation in Lower Township, N.J. With the number of commercial drones expected to soar into the millions in the next few years, it spells an opportunity for budding drone mechanics to make a good living without spending a lot of time on training. A community college in northwestern Minnesota that has been teaching unmanned aircraft maintenance for larger military-type drones is expanding its program to include smaller drone repair. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — With the number of commercial drones expected to soar into the millions in the next few years, it spells opportunity for avionics shops and budding drone mechanics who could secure lucrative careers repairing aircraft. And it won’t take a four-year college degree.

A community college in northwestern Minnesota that has been teaching unmanned aircraft maintenance for larger military-type drones is expanding its program to include smaller drone repair. Officials at Northland Community and Technical College are promising a high-paying job after just one or two years.

One Northland student, 26-year-old Chris Rohlfing, is taking drone maintenance and repair classes after serving four years in the military. He plans to include drone repair as part of a business to help local farmers fly unmanned aircraft to grow crops.

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