Starting any career can be a scary and challenging part of your life. Everyone is a little nervous on their first day as an aircraft dispatcher. That’s natural.
Sheffield School of Aeronautics has been sending new aircraft dispatchers into the aviation industry since 1948. In that time, we have always ensured that our graduates were ready for aircraft dispatcher jobs. So, what should any new aircraft dispatcher know about the aviation industry?
- Listen to your instructors and feel free to reach out. Sheffield’s instructors maintain relationships with all graduates. Check our online posting for aircraft dispatcher jobs after graduation.
- Talk to other aircraft dispatchers in your System Operations Control Center (S.O.C.) and ask them about working in the industry. Get to know people around you. The aviation community is very tight knit.
- Be prepared to work the night shifts, weekends and holidays. Senior aircraft dispatchers have more control over their schedules. You’ll have to manage.
- This is not a 9 to 5 job. Sometimes you may work 4 days on and 4 days off, 10-hour shifts, or 4 days on and 3 days off. Schedules tend to change a lot but will eventually get more stable as you climb the ladder.
- The starting pay is usually around $32,000. But hang in there, because aircraft dispatcher jobs can pay up to $200,000 if you decide to make it a career.
- You probably won’t be working at a major airline immediately. The smaller, or regional airlines are a stepping stone to a career and are just as rewarding as the majors. The community bond you will form with pilots, crew and others is fantastic.
- The regionals will almost always be hiring, it can be tough, but worth it. Always check with the school you attended to see if there are any aircraft dispatcher job postings.
- When you do go to work for a major, the increase in pay and benefits will be rather substantial.
- Be prepared to relocate for aircraft dispatcher job opportunities at major airlines.
- You can work overseas but you will have to retake certifications and exams to comply with standards in other countries.
- Be likeable. Because the airline industry is such a tight-knit community, your reputation will follow you around. Be a nice guy and treat others in the airline industry with respect.
- Stay current with new procedures and technology. Some dispatchers who leave the industry and return years later must start at the regional level because they are no longer current.
- Remember all aircraft dispatchers must spend 5 hours a year observing operations from the flight deck. That means you must get in the jump seat for 5 hours every 12 months. It’s called your Familiarization Ride or FAM ride. Don’t wait until the last minute. You will be reminded but keep it in mind throughout the year.
- No matter what, enjoy your new career and make new friends. Connections go a long way, and a love for what you do is noticeable.
We hope that these rules help new-comers understand a little more about their new field. Check out the Sheffield blog every month for fresh content on the aircraft dispatching industry!