If drones are the business of the future, companies need professionals to operate them and, with that in mind, several U.S. universities offer courses, degrees and even doctorates to prepare students for the emerging sector of unmanned aircraft.

Companies, universities and students don't want to wait until the civilian use of of unmanned aircraft is legalized.

By the end of 2015, when the commercial use of drones is expected to be widespread, they want to be ready to garner revenues in a sector that promises to create thousands of jobs and earn billions of dollars.

Mario Pisa, a 40-year-old computer-systems analyst at a Spanish multinational, is now studying for an online master's degree in this specialty from Madrid.

He enrolled in the Phoenix, Arizona-based Unmanned Vehicle University, a pioneer in online courses for training future drone pilots along with engineering experts in this field and aerial photographers.

Unmanned Vehicle University has awarded 500 degrees up to now.

The University of North Dakota and the University of Kansas also offer degrees in this subject.

Students are taught mathematics, physics and engineering, among other specialties, while possible civilian uses for unmanned aircraft in the future appear countless - everything from inspecting high-tension cables and border surveillance to crop fumigation, fire detection and alarm systems, or simply as toys for competing in contests. EFE