Keep Your Feet on the Ground as an Aircraft Dispatcher

If you have a passion for the airline industry but are not too fond of spending weeks traveling through the sky aboard an airplane, you may find great satisfaction as an aircraft dispatcher. Described as ‘captains on the ground,’ dispatchers work to schedule and navigate many different flights at the same time. If you are interested in this engaging and potentially well-paying job, keep reading to learn about qualifications and available courses.

Course Requirements

To work as an aircraft dispatcher you must complete a certification course that will train you in the requirements for the Federal Aviation Regulations. Before you can register for this program you must be at least 21 years of age and have earned a high school diploma or international equivalent. You must also have the ability to follow directions with confidence and know how to manage your time for your studies.

The topics covered in this course usually include the following:

  • Graphic Weather
  • Non-graphic Weather
  • Procedures for Instrument Approach
  • Navigation
  • Basic and Advanced Aviation Weather Theory/Meteorology
  • The Information Manual for Aeronautics
  • Communications
  • Air Traffic Control
  • Airway Manuals
  • Limitations and Systems of large turbojet aircraft
  • Engine Performance and Aircraft Systems
  • Federal Aviation Regulations
  • Manual and Computerized Flight Planning

About halfway through your training you will take the FAA Flight Dispatcher Knowledge Test, and after completing all your courses you will take the FAA Practical Exam. If you pass both of these tests you will earn your credentials to work as a flight dispatcher.

The Role of a Dispatcher

Once you can find employment as a dispatcher, you will have opportunities to play a critical role in aviation, keeping everyone on board an airplane out of harm’s way. As a dispatcher, you will be responsible for the flight plan, bearing in mind any factors that could impact the flight. These include weather, navigation facilities, maintenance or needed repairs and substitute airports. In fact, the airplane cannot leave the ground until both you and the captain sign the Dispatch Release.

During the duration of the airplane’s travel, you will stay in communication with the pilot and make them aware of any changes to their flight path. If serious weather or other navigational complications make the travels unsafe, it will be your responsibility to cancel or delay the flight, or if already en route, to direct the captain on a safe alternate route to another airport.

Benefits and Rewards

While working as a dispatcher can provide you with intrinsic satisfaction, a challenging career and excitement, there are other personal and monetary benefits to working in this position. Some of these include dental, health and life insurance packages, discounts on cruise lines and hotels, retirement plans and reduced or free travel costs. As a dispatcher you also earn the right for cockpit jump seat authority.

If you are interested in becoming an aircraft dispatcher, take the time to start your search for courses in your area. If you are not able to attend courses at a training center, you may be able to take online courses and later attend five to seven days of training as part of a residency program. When you do earn your credentials to work as a flight dispatcher, you will have the ability to work at a variety of airports, keeping the world of aviation in check and in safe hands.


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    “These men represented the highest caliber of professionalism and integrity. The education I received from these gentleman has afforded me to be gainfully employed while having the opportunity to use the education received, all over this country, and more than a few others.” WG sidebar wg
    “Their reputation of excellence amongst the industry is second to none. Sheffield School of Aeronautics should be seen as the standard of how it can be done and how it should be done. I was hired at a major airline with no dispatch experience.” A.Z. Sidebar AZ
    “Sheffield School of Aeronautics is known worldwide for its quality training and has been recommended to me by our national airline Swiss International Airlines. Whenever I mention the name ‘Sheffield’ it rings a bell in people’s ears.” IW IW
    “My experience at Sheffield and my exposure to other aircraft dispatchers that did not go to Sheffield has resulted in an awareness of the superior depth and quality of the training provided by the Sheffield instructors.” CD Sidebar CD
    “I am so glad they are like this because it made me a better dispatcher and I really appreciate their high standards. I would highly recommend Sheffield to anyone who is willing to study hard and is serious about obtaining a Dispatcher Certificate.” MC MC
    “Eric Morris is one of the most if not the most knowledgeable and experienced authorities on Aircraft Dispatching in the United States. He strives constantly to make the industry better.” DH sidebar DH
    “I am a graduate of the Sheffield’s Dispatcher Program. I have been a Captain-Part 121 Airline, Certified Flight/Grnd Instructor, and FAA Designated Check Airman and Sim Instructor (Part 121). From my experience I would rate Sheffield School as outstanding in their field.” PT PT
    “While touring my company’s dispatch department before I had my license our OCC manager pointed out that 7 of the 10 dispatchers on shift had come from Sheffield. The overall consensus was that Sheffield grads were able to hit the ground running as they were better prepared.” K.O. Sidebar K.O.
    “As a graduate of Sheffield School of Aeronautics I am a firm believer that I received the most thorough and well thought out aircraft dispatcher training available. I owe my position in the industry to Sheffield School of Aeronautics.” BF Sidebar BF
    “Going to Sheffield prepared me for the real world challenges of Aircraft Dispatching. I certainly believe that the method Sheffield used is one not only for success in a real world career, but also one that prepares students to correctly dispatch aircraft.” T.Z. Sidebar TZ
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