Aircraft Dispatcher Course (2 weeks)
- Is it required to pass the ADX (Aircraft Dispatcher) knowledge exam before the online (Phase I) of the 3-week, 2-week, or 1-week course?
No, HOWEVER it is HIGHLY recommended to do so. Not taking and passing the ADX exam prior to beginning the online phase results in the juggling of nonsense (ADX standardized exam study of topics, many of which are unrelated to reality) with real-life practical exam-based subject matter, the latter of which is covered during both Phases I & II. Our Phase I does not concentrate or focus on ADX material. Much of the material is covered, but not in any concentrated manner. Sure, important regulations will be covered during both phases of our course, but we will not instruct technical aerodynamics and pallet loading, or how to fly into a specific holding pattern, colors of aeronautical lighting and runway marking spacing rules, etc.. If we wasted time on this, then it would be a disservice to our customers. Again, this answer pertains to the ‘shorter’ residency courses, NOT the full 5-week residency course.
Courses – General
- How many different FAA certification courses do you offer?
Four – a full-time 5-week residency program, and 3 forms of “blended learning” courses – courses which include a distance learning portion combined with a residency (in-classroom) training period that follows.
- Upon the successful completion of the course do we get a flight dispatcher certificate and then sit for the FAA license exams to obtain a flight dispatcher FAA license or we just obtain a certificate from Sheffield School?
Regarding your question, once a student passes the Sheffield School Aircraft Dispatcher course, they receive a school graduation certificate, and school diploma (an extra for 5-week grads), and have officially graduated. As a graduate, they have qualified to take the FAA Aircraft Dispatcher practical examination (flight plan & oral tests), given here at the school usually from our own FAA-designated staff. Once the practical exam is passed, the school/course graduate then receives the temporary FAA AD certificate (license). The FAA mails the permanent certificate/license to the individual’s address usually within 2-4 months. The permanent certificate has no expiration date, but may be surrendered, revoked, or suspended (all rare.)
Aircraft Dispatcher Course (200 hours/5 weeks)
- Do all schools teach the same material?
No. All FAR Part 65 schools must adhere to their basic curriculum guidelines; however, Sheffield decided long ago to provide extra airline-related material to ease our graduates transition into airline initial training. We do not believe in telling our students “Don’t worry about that – your airline will teach you that.” Granted, there are some topics that we cannot teach since it is not only the responsibility of the airline, but each airline may have a different FAA approval for how they apply certain procedures. But there are MANY topics, scenarios, etc. that our students are exposed to that have impressed many airline hiring managers. Just check our testimonials!
- How soon into the program is the first test?
Friday of the first week is a test on Weather Theory. It is a Sheffield-produced test. Much (but not all) of the material comes from Chapters 1-13 of the link below (AC 00-6B Aviation Weather). We will spend the first week refining what we would like you to understand. Aviation Weather Advisory Circular. (password-protected PDF file. Password available after applying to school.)
- What are the class hours?
Classes will normally be held from 8:00am until 5:00pm, weekdays. There will be short breaks throughout the day and a one-hour break for lunch.
- When is the 1st test in the 5-week class and what topics are covered?
Friday of the first week on Weather Theory.
- Some schools claim to have a near 100% pass rate. Is this correct?
Some schools will pass anyone to hang on to the almighty dollar. We would rather cut a refund check periodically to someone who didn’t put forth the effort than to have our 70+ year reputation tarnished by becoming a license mill. Be wary of schools claiming “come have fun – our class is a breeze.” During an interview, you are unlikely to hear this question “So did you have a lot of fun?”
Our students enjoy the class, they typically state that it exceeded their expectations, and that they never learned so much in their lives. Typically, our graduates are hired while they are still in class or within a few weeks of graduation. Another important fact is this – most graduates are seeking employment. Many come to us once they do their homework and learn directly from an airline that a student’s “hiring-quotient” will escalate if they choose a highly reputable school. Many airlines interview first (or exclusively) at our school because they know every graduate has been thoroughly prepared, and there won’t be any surprises when they begin training on the job.
Passing anybody and everybody after numerous repeated attempts, or due to lack of any testing, only dilutes this industry with unqualified “dispatchers” and is a blight on the profession. Statements of guarantees are an abomination and should be stripped from all advertising by those who have the ability and wherewithall to do so. These mills should be publicly condemned.
Can you imagine taking a taxi ride to an airport from a guy who can’t drive (we know this happens), then board an airplane that has been signed off by maintenance personnel who are inept or who haven’t been checked properly by their governing authority (we’ve read the news in 2008 and thereafter), only to be flown by a captain who has had numerous failures during his or her flight training (it happens), who has had his flight planned by a dispatcher who failed his course with a 30%, then bought his certificate at a diploma mill within 2-3 days (YES- it has happened). Hopefully, this won’t scare you into an anxiety attack. If so, you could visit your doctor who received his diploma…,well, you get the point.
You will EARN your certificate at Sheffield. Why should others be handed the same honor?! It only increases YOUR workload – ask any competent dispatcher.
[in past years one new startup school in our area claims “once you pass the course you get a license.” Aside from being misleading and inaccurate, it is illegal. Passing a Part 65 FAA-approved course enables the applicant to take the FAA practical exam. Once THAT is passed, the applicant becomes certificated. So be wary of the unscrupulous operators out there. The same course operator tried to list one of Sheffield’s graduates as an instructor to appeal to the FAA. The problem was my graduate did not give the course operator permission to do so.]
- What can I study prior to attending your school?
Do not purchase regulations books and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) to read through and study (as I’ve seen recommended on the internet). Without proper guidance, you may waste valuable time or misinterpret something. A good portion of subject matter discussed and applied in class is not found in commercially-available books.
To help prepare for the course, study the FAA knowledge material on our web site. That is not really what our course is about – self study – but it will give you a head start in preparing for the FAA ADX test. Other than that, you can visit our “aviation bookstore” online and check out the weather books since we apply a lot of weather in the course.
We don’t really supply FAA books in the course since you can get them for free on the Internet. We write our own manuals and sections to study. For some free books, go to “dispatcher resources” on our site and you can link to Regulations, Weather circulars (Aviation Weather Services) from the FAA, and the Aeronautical Information Manual. All are helpful information to browse through or print out to give you an idea of the type of material involved in the course.
If you want to pursue regulations ahead of time, the main sections are FAR Part 121 – Subparts T & U. These subparts contains the majority of dispatch rules and procedures that you will apply in the course and on the job.
- How many students usually enroll in the course?
Between 12 and 25. The average is probably 18. If you check our class pictures, you’ll notice that the enrollment numbers are usually consistent. It is comforting to see that many people do their research and make the correct choice. We admire these students who crave a quality education. On graduation day, their faces say it all – that they have just earned something very special in this industry: A diploma from Sheffield School of Aeronautics!
- How long is the program and what does it cost?
The Aircraft Dispatcher Certification Course is 5 weeks long and covers at least 200 hours of classroom instruction (as required by Federal Aviation Regulations). The total 2019-2020 tuition cost is $5,200, without any discounts applied. This includes textbooks, the computer ADX examination fee (normally $160.00 if taken privately) and the Practical Exam (~$400-$500), web site passwords, job assistance and airline lists, and computer use.
- Are textbooks/notebooks included? What books will be used?
Sheffield has produced it’s own textbook binder which relies on FAA sources as well as Airline material. All books are included in the tuition fee. If a prospective student is interested in jump-starting their weather studies prior to attending our course the following textbook is highly recommended since meteorology (weather) with reports/forecast reading and application comprises over 35% of the total academic subjects: Aviation Weather Advisory Circular
- What are the main subjects that are covered in the program?
Meteorology (weather), Navigation, Air Traffic Control, Jeppesen Approach charts and enroute charts, Aeronautical Information Manual, Aircraft Systems, Performance and Weight and Balance, Federal Aviation Regulations, Communications, and Practical Flight planning applications are included subjects in our Aircraft Dispatcher Course.
- Do you offer accelerated courses?
Yes, for those individuals who qualify under FAR Part 65.57 and/or 65.61d – also for less experienced students willing to pass the ADX test along with online modules prior to arriving at Sheffield. See Aircraft Dispatcher Course (3-weeks or 2 weeks below) or visit the “Courses” page for all the details. We also offer a distance-learning course which requires only 5 days of classroom work. No prior experience is required, but there are prerequisites that require the individual to be self-disciplined and very motivated.
- What are your prerequist requirements for acceptance into the 3-week course and 2-week course?
Aircraft Dispatcher Course (3 weeks)
- What is the cost?
2018: $3,900 for the tuition and registration fee. 2019: $4,200 for the tuition and registration fee. We do not charge a fee for the initial FAA certification/practical exam. Watch for discounts.
- Does this include housing?
No; however, we can facilitate your housing arrangements.
- What subjects are covered?
Generally, the same topics listed in the 5-week course, with about 2 weeks worth of the material learned online prior to arrival at Sheffield. Also, there are no FAA Knowledge test workshops conducted since a prerequisite for the course is to pass the FAA standardized test prior to the start date of the course.
- Will graduating from a reduced residency hours course affect my employment opportunities?
That depends on the company hiring you or the individual interviewing you, or both. Most companies care about hiring a well-educated individual; someone who won’t have to be retrained. The companies that deal directly or exclusively with us realize that any graduate from Sheffield (longer or shorter courses) is better trained and better qualified to enter Airline initial training. We have NEVER heard of any Sheffield graduate encountering any problem with course “duration.” Based on the online work required, many students work MORE than 5 weeks cumulatively towards their certification.
- How does one qualify to enroll in this course?
Previous aviation experience or online lessons successfully completed are mandatory per the FAR Part 65 regulations. Flight, meteorology, airline operational experience are common examples. We are permitted to subjectively approve an individual’s experience. But if you have little or no experience and are willing to meet the prerequisites listed on the course page, you are welcome into this class as well.
- Can the international (AIFP), ETOPs, and EWINS training courses be taken immediately following the 3-week course?
- Why did you start a reduced hours residency course?
We were receiving numerous requests for a shorter “non-matchbook” course. Interested students were complaining about price and were desiring a true quality education, not a quickie handout. We also have the technological capability to facilitate quality learning in a short period of time. We are continually modifying our computer supplements for students.
Aircraft Dispatcher Course (2 weeks)
- Who should enroll in the 2-week course?
Experienced indivividuals/airlines (per FAR 65.57) or highly motivated individuals who are able to pass the ADX exam and 7 online modules prior to arrival for the 2 weeks residency.
- When I receive my User ID and password, will I be able to access the online lessons (Courses 101-107 above) or do I still have to wait for the posted dates that are on the Matrix? For instance, if I want to participate in the May 5 class can I begin working on Course 101 in February.
Yes. You can complete the lessons (Courses 101-107 above, in order of course) any time prior to the DUE DATES. The Matrix lists the due dates for each Course. You can certainly complete a course before it’s due date.
- One school kept pressuring me to take their accelerated course even after I claimed that I was uncomfortable with my limited aviation experience and ability to pass the ADX exam. What should I do?
Seek training at another facility. They’re sole interest is $$$; it certainly is not to provide a quality education.
- Is the FAA license recognized worldwide, or just in North America? I am hoping to stay in North America/Canada once qualified, but if I need to return to the UK, how easily can this license be converted (if it needs to be at all)?
It is recognized in many countries/airlines, yet it’s validity as a license varies among CAAs around the world. You’ll have to specifically ask the country’s CAA or airline.
- I am extemely interested in applying for a 2 week accelerated course. Is this route of study open to international students and if so what is the processing fee for the I-20 form?
Yes, it is open to qualified students, domestic or international. If entering on a M-1 student visa, our procedures will be sent to you upon application or when you inquire by email. The I-20 fee is $200.00.
- How should I send you a copy of my information?
Fax or mail is fine.
- What seems to be the biggest problem for students taking the online course?
A combination of not following instructions and procrastination. For example, once the Phase I tuition is paid, an email is sent with instructions and links, and a directive to “Reply via email that you received this email”, but many students do not follow that direction. They are reminded a week or 10 days later, some need an additional reminder, but by then they are already 2-3 weeks behind.
- What seems to be the next biggest problem for students taking the online course?
Not reading what was just written above or not believing it.
- Anything else?
Yes. Believing that the ADX test is Phase I or that the ADX exam can be studied for while taking our Phase I online material concurrently. Sheffield’s Phase I online material is not pure ADX study material. It could certainly help anyone studying for the ADX test, but is more demanding on it’s own and should be commenced once the ADX is already passed.
- STILL anything else?
Yes. Believing that this is some “click through the pretty flash files” type of course resulting in some lame “print out your certificate” set of instructions at the end. There are a variety of training methods used including interactive examples and other tasks, but a large amount of READING is required, followed by homework and other assignments, AND all must be REVIEWED and understood prior to your arrival at Sheffield.
- What is a good way to get terminated from the course and lose all my money?
Do not follow the instructions…repeatedly. Some students like to just submit incomplete work, nameless work, late work, assignments out of order. It is almost approaching arrogance at times. Many simply cannot read. Some enjoy resubmitting homework with the same incorrect answer. One person submitted no assignments for a month after gaining access to the online modules (typical procrastinator), then sent his first email “Well, I’m ready to take the End of Course test for Course 105.” He never could understand from me that Course 101 comes first, then Course 102, etc.. If you do not completely understand an early course, then you will not understand a later course – it kind of goes in order for a reason. There is a Matrix below that basically indicates due dates in a certain order. It becomes difficult to help online students who have legitimate technical questions because I need to send “Johnny Clueless” another email explaining that the assignments are located when you click the button named…Assignments.
Aircraft Dispatcher Course (Distance Learning/Residency)
- Do you offer a 2 or 3-day course?
We do not offer a 2 or 3-day only course – that is not adequate time to learn and prepare for a legitimate FAA practical examination, regardless of experience. We offer 4 months of online access to complete 10 different modules of our course, then offer a minimum 5-day residency course to complete the knowledge and skill requirements to be signed off by an instructor for the FAA practical examination.
It is by no means a spoon-feeding “Q & A” session with zero time spent on practical concepts. Not every student completes the online work satisfactorily – some have trouble being approved by the instructor for the practical exam. This is typically due to procrastination during the online phase. Some students request more online time, then succeed.
We recently had a Sheffield graduate with approximately 10 years operational experience in the military. His job interviewer (with nearly identical experience) explained how his 5-day course was “all review and easy”. Our graduate’s reply: “I received about 3 hours of “review” during my course.” As previously mentioned, you do not arrive at Sheffield for spoon-feeding, you are still learning and applying new material during a large portion of the 5-day period.
- How many workshop courses are instructed?
AIFP (Advanced International Flight Planning) Course
- Is it mandatory to enroll in this class?
No. A graduate of the 5-week or an accelerated course may enroll at any time.
- Does any other school teach an international flight planning course with a separate ETOPs course?
To the best of our knowledge, no.
There are those who claim to “teach” the same course “for free” in a half day. They have titled the course: “ETOPs”, then “International”, then “ETOPs/International planning”, then simply abandoned the course, etc.. They will list subjects that Sheffield covers during the regular 5-week course. We also have a separate ETOPs course due to the volume of material covered.
You can sample a morsel, or purchase the 5-course meal. I know one course operator who will tell the students what the letters E-T-O-P-S stands for….and that’s about it.
- By taking this course, will I enhance my job opportunities?
Perhaps. Many hiring managers realize that what we teach is a great introduction to international planning and have hired many Sheffield graduates ahead of others based on their motivation to learn more.
Other hiring managers may be indifferent due to their domestic type of operation or their own personal experiences. If you plan to work an international desk one day, this course is an excellent introduction to basic priciples combined with advanced concepts.
- When is this course taught?
Following the 5-week course. See Calendar.
- What percentage of your graduates enroll in this class?
It has ranged from 20-90%, with a median of approximately 30-40%.
- What is the AIFP course?
Advanced International Flight Planning. It is a 2-day workshop that begins 2 days after the regular certification course ends.
ETOPS (Extended Operations)
- Do all of your graduates attend the ETOPS course?
No, approximately 30-50% typically attend the course following graduation. Some attend at a later date.
- Do you provide a completion certificate?
- Do all schools teach ETOPS?
No. In fact, some of those schools that do not, will not, or can not instruct this course attempt to dismiss ETOPs or try to criticize us for doing something original. Other schools simply try to copy us. If they can’t copy us, they try to discredit training that is valuable whether you dispatch ETOPs or not early in your career. Recently we’ve been criticized by yet another dispatch-school-wannabe that is non-FAA-approved, has no permanent location, has no staff, and is one of three different spinoffs from another school which has been in business approximately 4 decades less than Sheffield.
- Do other schools offer the same?
We don’t know what is currently provided, if anything. No other school seems interested in advertising what they provide or don’t. We did have a graduate of another school attend our accelerated course (you can deduce why) and show us his ETOPS manual booklet. It’s under the arrow in the picture below – look close. It is sandwiched by our AIFP notebook (left) and ETOPS notebook (right).
Then again, the only paper you may receive is the completion certificate. Just ask if you need to draw comparisons.
- Do you provide an ETOPs manual with your course as a reference?
Absolutely! We supply a thick manual for all our courses along with extra plotting charts, enroute charts, orientation charts, flight planning charts, weather and computer flight plan printouts.
- I’ve talked to some airlines that claim ETOPs can be taught at the airline if I need it. Why should I take your course?
Until the airlines (there have been many) stop calling Sheffield for the answers to ETOPS questions, you should consider learning good habits and creative thinking by attending our course. In addition, many airlines, including the former head of Operations at a large international airline told us that he personally appreciated Sheffield teaching ETOPS before the graduates enter airline training.
- What is the duration and cost of the course?
One day and $300, respectively.
- Why do you charge for this course while another school claims it should be free or claim to include this same material in their full course?
We actually have material to teach. We have a live instructor to give scenarios concerning complex situations. We have the ability to answer questions and alter our given examples with overhead slides as well as graphically planning multiple ETOPs flights on our computers. The student receives valuable feedback.
You won’t be placed in front of a terminal to “teach yourself.” You won’t be waiting for “beeps” to move on. CBT courses are substitute courses for schools without the ability and/or manpower to be creative and instruct. Those courses SHOULD be free. You get what you pay for.
We’d love for these misleading “free” or “included” courses to vanish, but we gladly accept GRADUATES from other schools to attend our course. I receive the emailed requests every month. They want to become more marketable. There’s a difference in knowing what ETOPS stands for and how to amend an en route alternate while your airplane is over the middle of the ocean or desert.
- Can you give an example of a typical question that is debated within the industry?
Let’s just say there are a lot of viewpoints concerning the application of “maximum diversion time” on a flight plan, as well as alternate minimum calculations and critical fuel assumptions. There were also recent policies written which are now under review based on questions and recommendations made by Sheffield School in 2008. These points are brought up in class to help prepare the student with how to address these issues and seek guidance at their future airline.
- What are the course(s) admissions procedures?
The admissions procedures vary based on which duration course you enroll into; therefore, each course page will include the specific admissions procedures.
- Is housing included in the course costs?
No. Housing is an additional charge.
- Are bathrooms shared?
Yes. Each house has a master bedroom usually for 2 persons sharing one bathroom, and 3 single bedrooms usually sharing another bathroom.
- Can I bring my family/friends to stay in the Sheffield student housing?
No. Housing is for Sheffield students only.
- Is wireless Internet available in the Sheffield-provided student housing?
- What do I need to bring with me if I’m in the housing you provide? Pillows, pots/pans, bedding, alarm clock?
Unless you have a special health condition that requires you to bring something specific, you don’t need any of the basic items including those mentioned above.
- Do some students use hotels instead of the Sheffield-provided housing?
A minority of students do. Information for all is here.
- I am staying at the Residence Inn – Plantation. Is that a relatively short walk to school?
0.7 miles (7/10 mile)
- What are your recommendations for housing (not so far and not so expensive)?
Sheffield-provided housing (private houses), which are very close to the school, are well-kept, have Internet access, and provide a good learning environment (group study options, etc..). More expensive options are Staybridge Suites, Residence Inn, or other local hotels. For details located on the web site: click “student housing.”
- What type of weather do you usually have, especially during the winter months? I’m looking for a good education, but to be sitting for weeks in horrible weather is depressing.
South Florida is always better than most other locations in terms of comfort. Most of the pictures on our web site are likely taken during the winter months. You won’t be shuttled to class through an ice storm…that’s guaranteed.
- When are arrival instructions sent to me, housing confirmation, etc.?
Approximately, one week prior to your class start date, you should receive an email from us. If not, email or call us anytime.
- What are your acceptance requirements into the 5-week 200+ hour course?
At least 21 years of age, a high school diploma (or equivalent), and a good command of the English language.
- Is Sheffield School accredited? In order for me to receive (military branch) tuition assistance, the TA office needs to know to which accreditation body you are affiliated.
We are FAA-approved (and have operated continuously since 1948). We are also approved for Veteran’s training. Our course is typically considered too short for most accreditation agencies that oversee traditional colleges/universities. Sheffield answers to higher authorities than many accrediting agency groups who visit a campus infrequently and/or know very little about the content of the material instructed. A good FAA inspection team is more knowledgeable about the material instructed and FAR Part 65 (school requirements) than any independent accrediting agency.
ADX Test & Test Preparation
- What is the “ADX” test?
‘ADX’ stands for Aircraft Dispatcher. This is a standardized 80-question, multiple choice examination taken at an authorized testing center (such as Sheffield School). A passing score of at least 70% is required – this would meet one of the prerequisites for passing an FAA-approved Aircraft Dispatcher course. Other prerequisites are required.
- How many questions are on the ADX test?
80, but you may receive 1-2 additional “experimental” questions which will not count.
- When during the course is this test covered and how does everyone successfully memorize everything? You told me on the phone that not much class time is spent on the ADX test itself.
During the early portion of the course, we typically conduct one to two 30-60 minute workshops which only cover “flight log calculation” type problems. The other problems which includes questions with numbers as well as the instrument questions are covered electronically on a password-protected part of our web site. This technique is producing a high pass rate with an average score between 80 and 90%. The nationwide average in 2000 was 80%. If Sheffield would spend the entire first 3-4 weeks on ADX test preparation, your score would probably increase 1-3% at most, but we wouldn’t have time to instruct true dispatcher material. This would endanger your chances to succeed in Airline Initial training. That is only one of the reasons why we have such a popular reputation among the airlines.
- When do you recommend to take the ADX test? Before class starts or within the first two weeks?
95-100% of a typical class takes the ADX test during the first 3-4 weeks of the class while at Sheffield’s 5-week course.
The earlier the better, whether before the class starts (very rare and absolutely not required) or during the first couple of weeks. Just don’t get discouraged with trying to learn some of the numerical problems – we’ll show you many of the “calculation” type problems in electronic workshops that you will have access to once enrolled in the course, even before you arrive.
We recommend applying for the course early enough to gain online access and “pre-study” for a few weeks before your first day of class.
The majority of students end up taking the test during the 3rd or 4th week of the course.
- What material should I get and how do I arrange to take this exam?
The Gleim ATP test book is what we used in the course for a limited time; however, we now publish our own ADX Test book in PDF format. Access to this book with online instruction is available to not only students, but prospective students who have sent in an application with the $500 application/registration fee.
Also provided are the many study links and practice tests found at: https://www.sheffield.com/FAA_test_prep.html
PSI will provide testing locations for you. Most students take the ADX at Sheffield’s testing facility.
One good supplement book to download and print for study practice is the ADX Test Supplement Book (FAA-CT-8080-7C) – All figures/tables/graphs/maps as seen on the actual test (a bookmarked, easy-to-navigate 22mb pdf file)
Access to this book requires registering for a username and password.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Those accessing Sheffield’s ADX Test Prep book or buying Sheffield’s ADX Test Prep app for iphone and ipad will have access to all of these figures and diagrams automatically, in electronic and printable form.
- What happens if I fail the ADX test?
You must either wait 30 days for a retake or be tutored (our tutoring is computerized and costs $100) and then be approved for the ADX retake ($160).
We basically run you through a series of practice quizzes, then allow you to take the test a 2nd time when we can reschedule you.
- Are the 1400-1500+ questions you provide in 16 PDF files the big key to passing the ADX test or does one just have to have exceptional memory and knowledge of all those areas in the study guide before attending?
The PDF files should be all that you need. Any other questions not on that list, but found on the actual test would usually be repetitive or a rewording of what you’re already studying. There can always be different questions on the actual test that are not on the 1400-1500+ question list, but we haven’t had anybody fail the test who knew every question we suggested to study.
- I looked ahead at the (Gleim) chapters 9, 10, & 11 and it worried me as to how I can pass this Knowledge exam in the five weeks without having any knowledge about instrument flight and all the complicated maps, A/FDs and legends, etc.
One electronic workshop covers the HSI/RMI questions step-by-step. We’ll show you an easy method to getting the correct answer, but we must emphasize that these questions should never have been placed on the ADX test. A dispatcher must be familiar with instrument flight basics, but NOT ridiculous tricky pilot questions. So if you never really understand what you are doing on some of these “red book” questions, it won’t matter since much of the content is irrelevant with respect to the Airline Dispatcher.
- I know you mentioned the 1500+ question list would be sufficient and I went through the entire study guide, but on your online (html) quizzes, a lot of the other questions were not on the quiz. I didn’t understand that and it makes me wonder if I truly must know all 1500+ questions (the entire study bank).
The online quizzes are our attempt to put all 1500+ questions into quiz form and it is still a major work in progress; in other words, don’t worry if you encounter and miss a few questions that are not on the html quizzes – those are a continuous work-in-progress. If you can answer all the questions within the 16 large PDF files found online, you will pass the ADX test. Once you enroll or have purchased our ADX test prep app, then you can gain access to the ADX web study site.
- I read in a forum that Sheffield covers none of the ADX in their course.
That is misleading at best, and a lie, at worst. We DO cover much of the ADX material in class, automatically, when we instruct our curriculum.
For example, we instruct Weather Theory for the first 3 days. During those 3 days, you will learn material that will help you answer any of the popular weather questions, if not ALL of them.
What we DO NOT DO, is have our students crack open a $30 commercially available test prep guide, and highlight answer choices, learn word games, and therefore, waste valuable class time. Why would Sheffield charge their students $4 – 5,000, to study a $30 test prep guide, which does NOT cover alternate airport selection, airline OPSPECS requirements, and many other subjects usually asked during airline interview process!?
To maintain our 65-year reputation, we find NOT stealing or ripping off students to be a “plus.” There are enough schools doing this form of training, shamming. (Feel free to visit our testimonials – which includes many who requested Sheffield’s help and training AFTER making the wrong decision.)
- Do you recommend passing the FAA ADX knowledge test before going to Sheffield?
It is recommended to study and prepare as much as possible ahead of time; however, we do NOT mandate passing the ADX before the first day of the full-time 5-week class. That would be unreasonable to ask students with little or no aviation background to be able to pass (and somewhat understand) the ADX test. Some prestudy would be good to do to get a feel for the material, but do not worry if you do not understand many topics or why certain answers are correct, etc..It will make more sense once you are here in class.
- Can I complete the ADX knowledge examination at a PSI testing center near me before showing up for the first day of class or do you recommend that we take it there in Fort Lauderdale after classes start?
Although you’ll probably have to pay $150 – 160 for the ADX test at a testing center, which is included in your 5-week course tuition here at Sheffield, I would get it out of the way before arriving at school, ONLY IF YOU ARE READY TO TAKE THE TEST a few weeks or more prior to the start of class. Otherwise, take it at Sheffield as 95-100% of typical classes do.
Also, without tutoring, there is a 90-day waiting period before RETAKES.
Please understand, that 5-week course students typically DO NOT take this test before arrival at Sheffield – it is RARE, so don’t worry about it if you cannot do so – you are normal!
- According to some Sheffield graduates, they highly recommend taking the FAA ADX knowledge test before attending Sheffield. Is this the same as the ATP written exam?
No. The ADX (Aircraft Dispatcher) Knowledge test is similar to the ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) Knowledge test, but is separate with regard to the licensing requirements. An applicant for an Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate must pass (>70%) the ADX test. An Airmen report of a passed ATP test is of no use to a Dispatcher applicant.
- If I know only 70% of the 1500-1600+ ADX question bank, will I pass the ADX test?
No. Try to learn or memorize the entire subject matter before attempting the actual test.
- So it will cost me $315.00 to retake the ADX test if failed?
Yes! Fortunately, very few fail it, but if you can’t pass this basic “memory excercise”, knowing all the questions, answers, and possible choices ahead of time, with instruction and practice provided, then there are other issues.
Aircraft Dispatcher Careers
- What annual salary can I expect to receive?
Initially, $32K to $36K at a regional airline most likely; however, the high end with major airlines is up to $80K-100+K with flight privileges and other typical benefits. Just do not expect to start with a major airline. Annual salaries can be as high as ~$50,000 and as low as $20,000, across the United States. As of Aug 2, 2019, the average annual pay for an Entry Level Aircraft Dispatcher in the United States is $34,222 a year.
- How does an individual attain a Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate (license)?
The individual must meet certification requirements found in Federal Aviation Regulations Part 65. These regulations indicate that an applicant for the Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate must:
- Pass an FAA ADX Knowledge exam.
- Pass an FAA-approved Aircraft Dispatcher course, or meet “Experience” requirements.
- Pass a Practical exam which consists of 2 sections: Flight Plan & Oral.
- What is an Aircraft Dispatcher and what are their responsibilities?
They are occasionally referred to as the “Captain on the ground.” The dispatcher is jointly responsible with the Pilot-in-Command (PIC) for the safe planning and monitoring of an FAR Part 121 Air Carrier operation. The dispatcher plans the flight by taking into consideration the current and forecast weather, NOTAMS (Notices to Airmen), ATC delays and severe weather avoidance plans, volcanic ash advisories, fuel requirements as well as other factors to ensure a safe and comfortable flight for the crew and passengers. Once the Captain and Dispatcher agree that the flight can be completed safely according to the flight plan, both individuals will sign a Dispatch Release (a company authorization to operate a flight).
- What is the definition of Aircraft Dispatcher?
There is no official definition of “Aircraft Dispatcher”, which we find appalling.
The Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) Part I provide definitions for various crewmembers, but not the person who is equally responsible with the Pilot-in-command (PIC) for the safety of the flight. You’ll find descriptions of a Dispatcher which are simply listings of responsibilities to some definitions as general as “… a person holding a dispatch certificate.”
One of our former practical examiners, the late great Mr. Leon Jansen, petitioned the FAA to incorporate his definition of “Aircraft Dispatcher” into the FARs.
- Why are Aircraft Dispatchers required for certain operations?
They perform preflight planning, preparing and signing a Dispatch Release (an authorization to operate), monitoring the flight progress, informing the PIC of significant operational information, canceling/delaying of the flight, among a few other duties. They are essentially a “Pilot-on-Ground”. This concept of the Airline Dispatch system is based on the “checks & balances” system (a safety margin); simply put, “two heads are better than one”.
- What is the minimum age to be an Aircraft Dispatcher?
The minimum age for certification as an Aircraft Dispatcher is 23 years. An individual can begin a training class at the age of 21 and take the computer based FAA Aircraft dispatcher Knowledge exam (the ADX, formerly referred to as “written exam”).
- Is formal schooling the most efficient method of attaining the required “Experience” requirements?
Yes, without a single doubt. Regulations FAA Part 65 allow a substitution of credit for prior aviation-related experience. A school (or FAA examiner) may subjectively give credit for almost any remotely-related aviation experience. Those who attain the license in this manner may have a difficult time gaining employment with any respectable airline, or have a difficult time during initial training. If the experience is genuine with respect to airline dispatching, these individuals should merge into a company easily.
- Are there employment opportunities for graduates over 40 years of age?
(From a grad to prospective student)
“I am 48 now, and went to school and got my job at age 47. There were several people my age at Sheffield. (The best school by far after detailed investigation.)”
- What is the maximum age to be an Aircraft Dispatcher?
There is no maximum age limitation to become an Aircraft Dispatcher. We have had students in their upper 50s as well as one who was 62 attend our course with success.
- Is there an age limit for enrollment, I’m 53 years old?
No. In fact, knowledgeable hiring managers should view maturity as a “plus.” You may encounter perhaps one in three managers who are too young to understand that concept. A manager should ask to see your dispatcher certificate, and ask if you attended Sheffield School, verify that fact, then test you prior to an interview, etc.. I’d rather hire a wiser mature person who studies hard and is motivated, than a younger individual who is bright, but more interested in the local bar scene.
- What are the steps or process for admission?
Click below to download the specific Admissions Procedures you require:
Exams and Testing
- What are the Flight Plan and Practical Exams like? What do they typically cover?
The Practical will simply cover what you learned in class at Sheffield. Students typically excel during the practical examinations since they were thoroughly taught, reviewed, and tested for the course duration.
Financial Assistance / Loans / Grants:
- Do you offer a link to financial aid ? I need a career training loan.
Currently, no. Sallie Mae decided to drop many career training opportunities. It may be resurrected in the future, but for now, you’ll have to secure a loan on your own unfortunately. We are planning to offer partial grants in the future. However, we currently offer many discounts online. You may contact us at any time for details.
- Are there any taxes I have to pay in addition?
I was surprised by one school (with a non-FAA approved location in Germany) because when I asked this company for prices they listed them without the taxes of 19%. I just want to consider and calculate all costs so I know how much of a loan to ask the bank for. Are there any other costs besides USD 5,000 (how do I use the discount certificate)?
No taxes charged by Sheffield School. Our tuition cost includes everything stated as advertised in our course pages and descriptions. Additionally, our full tuition is less than your quote – even more with an applied coupon. [contact us if coupon expired – we may have others!]
- How early should I apply?
If you are an international student requiring a visa, perhaps 2-3 months prior to the class start date. If you are a domestic student or an international student requiring Sheffield housing, perhaps 4-6 weeks prior to the class start date.
- Do you have any further information regarding the deposit or payment schedule for the Sheffield class?
In addition to the nonrefundable registration fee of $500.00, we require an $1,000.00 deposit to reserve a seat in the 5-week class.
- Do I need to make any payments on the first day, any documents to bring on the first day?
All unresolved balances are to be paid by the 1st day of class. Bring your Enrollment Agreement if you haven’t already sent it back.
- Do I need to carry the I-20 form with me during my travels to the U.S.?
Yes. Make sure it is in your hand luggage/carry-on since you will likely need to produce it to an official upon entry.
- Do you have published refund policy?
Yes. Sheffield has a reasonable refund policy prior to the class start date AND a pro rata refund policy after the class start date – (all found within our Catalog.) Some others will NOT refund any of your money within 30 days BEFORE the class start date including ZERO refunds if you leave the class after it starts for any reason.
Be careful – one course operator we found offers NO REFUND WITHIN 30 DAYS OF THE CLASS START DATE – no refund at all before the class even BEGINS! Sheffield would never use such a horrendous and unfair refund policy. Another school throws the student out of the class without a refund after 2 absences.
- How much are those fees for the 5-week course?
Application = $500. Tuition deposit = $1,000. I-20 fee = $200.
- How do I know if my English is proficient enough to take your course?
We recommend a score of at least 550 & above on the TOEFL test, if you have doubts. You are not required to take this test, but to enroll, you must agree that you understand that as a student you must be able to read, write, understand, and write English adequately.
- How long must I wait to receive a refund from your school?
We have a 30-day policy, but we usually refund money ASAP. Regarding refunds, you don’t need to worry. We’ve been in continuous business for over 70 years, and have no plans to go out of business.
- I’d like to bring my wife/kids. Do you recommend that?
No. Too distracting. Too much time diverted from studying. Increased chance of failure.
- If I am enrolled in a class, when should I purchase flight tickets or make specific travel arrangements?
When making travel plans, plan your arrival on the Saturday or Sunday prior to the class start date. You will be able to enter the Sheffield-provided housing on those days, but probably not earlier due to the time needed to clean and arrange everything for the upcoming class. Plan your departure from Sheffield at least 3-5 days following the last day of the class. There is a limit of the number of practical examinations given each day – not everyone can complete the class, have their exam within 24 hours, then leave. If you’re enrolled in the extra workshops (AIFP, ETOPS, or EWINS), you should plan to depart by the day following your last class day.
- Is there a dress code for class attendance?
Yes – casual, but no tank tops or open-toe shoes. Shorts are fine. Class may be a bit chilly. If you’re sensitive, bring a sweater. Most students are quite comfortable.
- What forms of payment do you accept?
Assume most every form possible except a personal check. Credit card (MC/VISA/Discover), U.S. bank/travellers’/certified/airline checks, wiring, cash, etc. More specific information can be found on the ‘Payment Page.’
- What type of visa is normally required for international students?
M-1 student. You need an I-20 form to bring to a U.S. Embassy in your country. We send the I-20 form to you once the application fee, tuition deposit, and I-20 processing fees are paid.
- Is there a cancellation penalty if I cancel within 30 days of the class start date?
See our online catalog for all refund policies for each course.
- What are the general visa instructions, including specific requirements for Canada, and other countries?
Click below for detailed PDF file.
General Visa Information (PDF file)
- What do I bring for First Day of (Residency) Class?
This question will also be answered in your Arrival Instructions which should be emailed 1-2 weeks before the class start date. Bring: 2 photo IDs (all names must match exactly on both IDs), pen, paper, calculator, etc..A small flash drive to copy some of our electronic resources from your own workstation would be good to use. Bring a laptop if you’d like to study in your housing using a variety of electronic resources. A laptop is NOT required, but highly recommended and may help many students practicing some of our practice tests online at night.
- I found some schools guaranteeing 100% pass rates and 100% job placement rates? Is this true?
Graduating with an FAA certificate after remedial training 5 times simply means you will not sustain any dispatcher job, IF you get hired, which you shouldn’t. Knowledgeable airlines looking for dispatcher graduates know this is marketing nonsense and is likely misrepresentation at the least. Finding a job as a bus dispatcher 2 years after graduation (no exaggeration – was in a “testimonial” for one diploma mill) is no accomplishment.
We feel that if you believe this nonsense and are that gullible, you really should not attend Sheffield. We deal in reality and the truth. The governing authorities should publicly condemn these statements. You can’t pass any and everyone unless they deserve it – they are to plan flights typically with human beings carried as a majority of the payload.
Guaranteeing jobs is cute as well. Sheffield can’t do that although most, if not all, of our graduates find work. TIME is an issue! What good is finding a job if it took 4 years because you couldn’t get through an interview until after taking a Sheffield dispatcher course?
Can you imagine going tomorrow to your doctor who attended a medical school that guaranteed passing no matter how lazy or inept he or she was?
- I’ve noticed many schools offer no job location assistance or claim to, but many graduates complain that their school provides little actual assistance. Do you offer anything better?
Sheffield was the first school to offer our graduates job assistance.
As far as job placement goes, we assist our students/graduates by allowing them access to our “jobs” page with a unique User ID and password. This allows our students and graduates to see some of the airlines who are hiring dispatchers. Students can also print out or view an online list of approximately 150 airlines with e-mail and web links. We also upload résumés of graduates, if requested, onto another password-protected page for hiring managers to view and print. The following is an email from a graduate of another school seeking job assistance:
From: “xxxxxx xxxxx” <email@example.com>
Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2002 13:37:14 -0400
Hello, my name is xxx xxxxx. I am a graduate of the dispatcher program in (Texas). Roughly 2 months ago. I was wondering if I could accumulate a username and password so I could get some jobs. My school isn’t very good at that sort of thing I guess. I keep on them but they seem to be to (sic) busy and they never update their job listings page. The last update was back in January. Please my wife and I need some work. I was in the (military) doing flight dispatch and went to get my FAA certification after that and now I just want to work. Thank You!
Note – Unfortunately for this person, only Sheffield graduates and students receive job assistance from Sheffield.
Our graduates typically send us more positive notes – even during trying times:
From: “xxxx Sxxxxxxx” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 07 Sep 2002 21:31:09 -0500
Subject: career update
How are things going down in Florida? Hope business is going well for you down there. Just wanted to let you know that I am still at xxxxx xxxxx. I ended up getting furloughed last September, but I was called back shortly after that…..prior to other people who had more seniority than me!! Now a year later I am a Chief Dispatcher. Just wanted to tell you that attending Sheffield has helped with my career as a dispatcher. The training I rec’d with you was excellent and every day that I work with graduates of other schools I am reminded about the reasons why I chose Sheffield. I don’t know if you are doing the teaching anymore, but I just wanted to say that you were a great instructor and I am glad to have been there when you taught a class.
Sheffield Class Jan 2001
- Is it true that many graduates from certain schools lose their jobs quickly?
In addition to many individual cases, there have been cases in which an airline will hire a group of graduates from a nearby school; however, most ended up failing their initial airline training and thus, lost their jobs. Sheffield not only wants you to find a job, but keep it. To do this, we provide an intense course that is unparalleled in this industry.
- Is this a profession that I can advance in?
Yes. Whether moving into more international operational control, chief dispatcher position, supervisor, training, or upper operational control center management/planning/logistics, etc..there are a variety of ways to move up. Most tend to be satisfied with gaining experience and therefore, salary, but there are always other options. Some move into other aviation positions such as the FAA (inspectors) or NTSB.
We have many graduates who followed every position listed and more. Some become pilots or return to flying part-time as well as dispatch..both! The testimonial below is wonderful example of WHY you should seek out only the absolute TOP training in the field – education & job stability!!
21 Dec 2008, 07:38:52 AM
“Wanted to give you guys an update. I’ve been dispatching for just over four months now with xxx and things are going great. When I came out to interview my boss only asked me a few dispatching questions and referenced the fact that I went to Sheffield as to why the questions were so limited. He said that he respects the school and knows the caliber of student that graduates. As an interesting side note the fellow I was in ground school with here at xxx went to a dispatch school which will remain nameless but is located in Denver, CO. He struggled to make it through ground school specifically referencing the fact that they never even taught him simple things like xxx & xxxx. When I was first looking for a dispatch school I couldn’t find much in the way of feedback about schools besides what I found on your website, and it being your website I was suspect as to it’s validity. After graduating and now dispatching for a while I have come to realize that all the testimonials on your site have to be absolutely true and accurate.”
P.S. I am slated to become a chief dispatcher sometime early next year.
F.N. – Graduate Dispatch class June ’08
- Reading about Sheffield school is very exciting. Would attending your school increase my job chances?
Graduating with an FAA certifcate and diploma with the Sheffield name attached to it is a plus at most airlines. They know you earned your license. See our airline tesitmonials. Over 300 airlines on airline list provided to students.
- Am I guaranteed a job following graduation?
No. Airline hiring cycles are too variable and dependent upon world events and the economy. However, by attending and graduating from Sheffield, you are making yourself more attractive to airlines when they do hire.
- Do airlines visit Sheffield for interviewing students?
Yes, but mostly, initial interviews are by phone.
- Has Sheffield helped graduates of other schools find employment?
Yes, but only after they graduated from our school. We have had numerous graduates from other schools attend our course after suffering through difficult times during airline training. You can find a few examples within our testimonials as well as in conversations with airline industry personnel. Read Job Advancement below for a very telling testimonial!!
- How does the job market look?
A high number of jobs have been consistently posted for the past 5 years or more. Whether the hiring is at it’s peak or slows down, Sheffield School will assist you as we have always assisted our students and graduates for the past 60 years. The slowdown of last year has not affected our operations in ANY way. We are devoted to our students and graduates. (Nearly half a dozen schools have recently ceased operations – some in the middle of class with no refund. With regard to lifetime technical support and refresher training from their school, there is none. If and when you decide to join us, we will be here. We are not going anywhere, and will likely expand soon.
- Are you approved for (U.S.) Veterans’ Training?
Yes. Our 5-week AD certification course is currently approved via the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post-911 GI Bill. Feel free to contact us for more information sent as attachments. You will need to submit a Certificate of Eligibility to us at least 1-2 months before the class start date, in many cases.
- I’ve seen testimonials on other school’s sites, but without a date. Are they hiding something?
Likely, the truth. Some schools have ZERO testimonials. Some claim “thousands. but can’t produce them, and some post a few that have been online and dated when the first Bush was President. Interesting how the dates evaporated during the current era. Most, if not all of our testimonials are dated either to the day or at least the year, they’re plentiful, and consistently very positive. For a large variety of testimonial links and categories, go to the “Testimonials” index page.
- Do you guarantee a license?
No. If we would, we would never have remained in business for over 62 years. Our reputation would have eroded long ago.
Licensing anybody and everybody no matter how long it takes to understand the material or how poorly they perform is a DISGRACE to this profession. This utter lack of licensing standards and oversight is a major contributing factor to the term used for uneducated graduates – clerks. Sheffield refuses to produce clerks. We respect our students and the airline dispatcher profession too much. Our pass rate for motivated individuals who study hard is virtually 100%.
- If I have a question concerning the school, career, current job situation, or a technical procedure, may I call on the CEO or the President directly?
At Sheffield School, yes. If we are temporarily out of the office, we can usually e-mail an answer within 24 hours.
- What is your opinion of modular (the “enter/exit at any time” type) courses or self-paced study?
For our school to offer such a course based on our comprehensive curriculum would be a sham and it would be a hard slap to this industry’s face.
- What is your opinion of very short accelerated courses that simply prep an individual to pass tests?
See answer above. We believe in preparing our students not only for tests, but for real life. Airline initial training is not necessarily an easy pass. If you graduate from a Dispatcher school, you may get hired, but you may also get fired. No other school will tell you this hidden fact. One school recently had a large group of their graduates hired by a local airline – most of them are no longer employed because they FAILED to meet the required training standards. We believe prospective students should also consider the latter when contemplating school selection based on proximity and price. Seek quality – it is a safer investment. Our shortest residency course is 5 days; however, we are very selective about who we allow into the course and it is very intense, with required online training initially.
- What type of student are you looking for?
Only the highly motivated. That does not mean experienced. Experience can sometimes help save some study time, but not much. Our course begins at a basic level, then exponentially increases to the most comprehensive Aircraft Dispatcher course in the world. Our pass rate is high, our free tutoring is offered on a daily basis to anyone who desires it, but our course is not for the unmotivated. It is intense, but the license that you earn at Sheffield has value. That is the consistent theme that you hear when you ask around or interview.
- I would like to know what is the weather will be like while attending your school so I can prepare my clothing?
Following are the monthly normal mean temperatures in our area:
January = 68°F
February = 69°F
March = 72°F
April = 76°F
May = 80°F
June = 82°F
July = 84°F
August = 84°F
September = 82°F
October = 79°F
November = 74°F
December = 70°F
The normal high and low temperatures are respectively 77°F and 60°F in January and 91°F and 77°F in July.
If you’re unfamiliar with °F, you can use the converter below to view the corresponding °C temperatures.
Prior Aviation Experience/Training
- Do I need prior aviation experience?
No. It could help, but since it is not a formal FAA prerequisite, we’ll start from the ground up. We will assume that you have no prior background. There are videos and other multimedia tools in our classroom to facilitate your learning. We also remain after class for tutoring sessions for anyone who requests it. Our goal is to get you through this course without compromise. It is not to “weed out” individuals. Our pass rate for a typical class will range from 80-100%.
- How will my previous aviation experience help with respect to the 5-week course?
If it is kept in check, it will benefit you to some degree. However, when an individual enters our course thinking they know everything, they usually fall below their expectations. Our course is designed to be the most comprehensive full-time dispatcher course in the world. You are invited into our class with two goals in mind: first, to learn how to become a conscientious flight dispatcher; and second, to earn a license to enable you to apply what you’ve learned. Sheffield School has never been a “freebie” or “sell-out” course. We sincerely want our graduates to not only succeed in their airline initial training courses, but to become innovative thinkers and leaders.
School Selection Questions
- Is Sheffield School of Aeronautics FAA-approved?
Yes. Longer than any other dispatcher school in the world.
- Are you an FAA-approved school per FAR Part 65?
- Can you provide graduate references?
Yes. Contact us for details, but remember – any school can give you some “yes men” contacts. I’d always go further and speak to industry people to confirm what a school claims, including us.
- Do you conduct your class in an actual classroom or in some conference room?
A classroom of approximately 1,000 square feet. We have a smaller classroom of about 500 square feet used occasionally for airlines or smaller groups.
- Another school claims to have the only FAA-approved distance learning course?
False. Every course we offer and how we grant course credit via experience or online training is built within our Training Course Outline, which is electronically signed and approved by the FAA.
So these claims are simply marketing lies.
- Does FAA-approval guarantee quality?
No. Do your homework when researching and selecting schools.
- Which schools do you consider serious competition?
None. With over 64 years of experience in this particular certification field, with other schools’ graduates requesting technical help, job assistance; airlines requesting assistance with their manuals, and more testimonials from worldwide airlines and individuals emailed and posted every month, including former instructors at other schools singing our praises, Sheffield considers no other school to be on the same playing field with us. Even the FAA says we go beyond the FAA required basics with our instruction.
- I just got —-ed (taken advantage of) by a school who cancelled the class at the very last moment because they “didn’t have enough students.” Does Sheffield conduct this practice?
No. When we publish class dates, they are firm, unless an emergency exists (death/sickness/hurricane, etc..). Some schools have a minimum of 12 policy which results in cancellations many times. We know since we welcomed their dumped-upon students at Sheffield. One other school on the east coast of Florida cancelled a class because “my foreign students didn’t get their visa.” They put out a U.S. student who had just taken a large loan and had no where to go, but….Sheffield School. Our minimum is “1”, although we tend to have one or more from a variety of countries.
- I met one dispatcher who claimed that he was taught out of some guy’s garage. True?
I’ve heard that and worse, so it is probably true. It is absurd that this nonsense occurs.
- I read on one web site for a school that they have over 20 years of experience preparing students for exams, yet they don’t state how long their school has actually been in business. Why?
They are adding up every individual’s personal experience in aviation no matter what it was, and to top it off, they are likely adding in part-time employees’ experience. Adding the word “cumulative” would be more honest. All schools have a difficult battle against Sheffield’s 62-year history.
- I read on one web site for a school that they have trained “thousands” of students, but don’t state when their school was established.
There have been and still are schools that made these claims, but they include EVERY student that ever took a long or short (as short as 2-3 days) course. On top of that, “thousands” may represent any number over 999. They’ll pull anything possible to lure you in. Want proof of thousands? Tell them to show you some class pictures and guarantee and publish an assortment of testimonials and references. I’m sure you’ll hear some sort of excuse following the initial uncomfortable 3-5 seconds of silence on the other end of the phone.
- I spoke to one school who claims to be about 70 years old. Is this a lie?
Huge lie. There is one company out there that periodically claims about 6.5 decades more experience than actual. [we have printed all electronic documentation.] There’s a difference between 70 years of supplying aviation products and 7 years attempted part-time dispatcher certification, with multiple periodic class cancellations. Sheffield has conducted Aircraft Dispatcher Training since 1948. (schools become desperate when seeing the number on the logo below…)
- If a school claims the above (everything guaranteed), should I be alarmed or wary?
Just run as fast as possible in the opposite direction and don’t look back. Buying a certificate from this type of “operator” will do you no good. Airlines tend to test your knowledge prior to hiring and even if you slip through, and get hired, you need to perform adequately throughout your probation period of 3-6 months – [Note that probation information is never mentioned on these schools’ web sites.]
Fun note: Years ago one school touted that 9 of their recent graduates of one class were hired by a local airline. Great news, but they neglected the followup story – that within 6 months 7 of them lost their jobs, some after unsuccessful remedial training. The airline contacted Sheffield asking if they could interview and hire our graduates….yes, of course!
Guarantees are worthless, and getting hired is worthless, if you’re going to be fired.
- Is it possible to be FAA-certified as an Aircraft Dispatcher outside the U.S.? Some schools claim so or imply it.
- One school I considered claimed they are FAA-approved and have had no inspection problems, so “we’re as good as anybody.”
We always point to graduate ability/competence and airline opinion to counter this absurd statement. When we hear consistent statements from airlines such as “Sheffield grads are self-starters” or “We don’t need to pamper the Sheffield graduates” or “I’m never dealing with that school again!”, that tells us we’re doing the right thing. When other schools’ graduates request “refresher” training from Sheffield and not their own “school”, we know there is something lacking in the training industry.
Go with a 63-year institution…with a universally positive reputation – Sheffield School. No worries.
- Is Sheffield SEVIS-approved?
Yes. International students have all procedures within their “Admissions Procedures” for their particular duration class.
- What should I assume if a school changes it’s name?
Could mean nothing, but it may be the same tactic used by airlines following bad business, tragic accidents, etc..They are diverting attention from the truth or the past. Basically, you can change your shirt, but you still stink.
- Does Sheffield use contracted instructors or part-time instructors?
No. Our instructors are full-time and on our payroll. You won’t have instructors “exit” during the middle of your class with no viable substitute – this just occurred at one school in the north. Two students within the same class contacted us for advice. You also won’t have disgruntled instructors teaching your class because they are not getting paid or are owed money – this just occurred at a school in the south. The instructor called us directly for advice.
- What kinds of aircraft do you have for hands-on study and familiarization?
We use the performance-crippled B727-200, an excellent example for learning purposes and manual flight planning. We also allow the full-time students access to a variety of aircraft on the computer via 3 different flight planning programs. The ADX test also still includes this aircraft in their questioning which eases the transition from standardized test study to Sheffield’s flight planning instruction.
- How many seats are in your classroom?
Approximately 25. Call anytime to check for the updated number of seats remaining.
- Do all schools offer computer flight planning?
No. It appears that Sheffield school is the only school which not only offers our students exposure to computer flight planning, but can show 3 different systems as well as Aircraft situation display.
- But isn’t computer flight planning a part of the job!?
Yes. We believe that the students should at least have some exposure to how the systems generally operate, with more attention paid to interpreting the flight planning results. In other words, we’re not producing button-pushers, but well-rounded graduates who have learned the inner workings of manual flight planning and were given an opportunity to supplement that knowledge and apply it on a computer.
- Why don’t other schools offer CFP?
Most cannot afford the computers and the upkeep. Many do not have the classroom space because they don’t use an actual classroom – they rent conference rooms and crowd everyone around a single table. A few may have the space, but no computers or instructors knowledgeble enough to instruct the computer’s use. One school whose parent company actually developed a flight planning software engine actually claims (or claimed at one time) on their web site that there’s no time in the curriculum to insert computer flight planning – absolutely absurd. Some amusing “classroom” pictures at other “schools” show a few students around a conference table eating fast-food without a computer in sight. Some rent conference rooms at airline conference centers to imply that their school is somehow endorsed or linked with the airline – sure :)….it’s easy to verify anyone’s claims or implications – just call around and ask.
- Do students get to visit an airline dispatch office and ATC center?
Visits are possible. Spirit Airlines has one local dispatch office and we have toured Miami center in the past. The Dispatch tour would be on a weekend most likely to avoid losing course instruction hours. For the time we spent on one earlier visit, we didn’t feel the Center visit provided any additional information than a few well-produced videos that we had for the class. Visits can be arranged on an individual basis as well. Most classes do not tour any location, and we cannot guarantee any visits.
- Do you offer a full-time distance learning course?
No. We offer more of a “blended-learning” course – details. There are other blended-learning options found on the courses page. It is not legal to operate a FULLY online-based course due to lack of FAA oversight and the logistics of the required FAA practical exam, which must be face-to-face.
- If I wanted to take the AIFP, EWINS and ETOPS classes after the certification class, is that possible?
Yes. You can enroll at anytime.
- Do you offer tours of flight simulators?
No. We are a dispatcher school. We’ve seen this offered in the past with all sorts of criteria and training restrictions. Aside from misrepresenting the functions of a dispatcher, it is, admittedly, a nice marketing tool…but has little to do with planning a flight in conjunction with a pilot-in-command.
- Do you offer flight training?
No. We are a dispatcher school.
- After graduating from your school, will I know everything about dispatching?
No. We DO guarantee that you will be exposed to a greater quantity and quality of material than anywhere else. The feedback from our graduates, the hiring airlines, working dispatchers in the field, supervisors, etc. has been consistently positive. As you browse through our site, take note of the correspondence received by Sheffield over the years.
- Do you offer night classes?
No. We feel that there is not enough demand for those classes. More importantly, in March 2006, the FAA in Washington allegedly began investigating night courses offered by course operators which may not adequately meet FAA oversight standards. Those classes will likely cease operation soon if the FAA inspectors do not monitor the activities which actually occur during the weekend hours. All certificates issued to students during questionable circumstances may be revoked or suspended pending further investigation.
[Why gamble with not only your money but your potential career?]
- What are the study materials that are available prior to the start of class and how much do they cost?
For students who have applied to Sheffield, there are free FAA ADX examination handouts/quizzes/instructional modules found from a link on our main web page (https://www.sheffield.com/FAA_test_prep.html).
Aside from self-studying and familiarizing yourself with a few topics, you can also visit: https://www.sheffield.com/dispatcherresources.html and look for the “Aviation Weather” and “Aviation Weather Services Manual”
These books can be printed or viewed for free, and include much of the information that we discuss in the first 2 weeks of class.
- Where are your training locations?
We train primarily in Ft. Lauderdale, FL – USA, but can be authorized to train virtually anywhere depending on what type of class is desired. Final FAA certification must always conclude within the U.S.A.
- Do you offer weekend classes?
No. See answer to “Night Classes.”
- What is the course tuition?
Tuition amounts for each course are located at various links found from the main “Courses” page. Feel free to also run a Cost comparison. [Note: some schools do not even reveal their fees, they’d rather ask you to “request a quote” = bad news.]
Although Sheffield School has the longest history and most experience of any dispatcher school in the world, we provide a greater education, more physical and electronic materials that you can actually keep, and more services before AND after graduation, we also typically match or beat others’ prices. Discount coupons and airline discounts can reduce the costs significantly. If unsure which discount may apply to you, then you welcome to email us at email@example.com and ask!
- How do I convert my license to a FAA Aircraft Dispatcher License?
See 2 examples below, taken from actual emails, regarding license conversion:
I am a G.C.A.A. Aircraft Dispatcher license holder. As if now i would like to enquire regarding procedures to obtain a FAA flight dispatcher license. As I have been unable to acquire any job yet, which has put me with an interest to achieve the FAA Flight dispatch license, as i feel better opportunities are available. Please do let me know what course do I need to go on for a refresher or complete 6 week course, and also what would be the complete cost structure include housing. Does Sheffield also assist in acquiring jobs?
(Sent Nov 25, 2008)
Answer: Get an FAA certificate – period! You can always get the other countries’ equivalent with reduced hours courses at a reduced tuition, most likely. You may qualify to take an accelerated course from us. Contact us for more information.
I am licensed aircraft dispatcher having license from civil aviation pakistan. I am residing in Dubai, UAE and working in Emirates Airlines in ground operation. I wanted to convert my license from FAA and ETOPs certification as emirates airlines flight operations department is giving preference to those dispatcher who are holding FAA license and specially from your school. Please guide me, how can I convert my license and what will be the minimum cost (tuition + board and lodging fees) and how many days classroom training I require?
Answer: See answer above. There really is no conversion, only receiving additional certificates.
- If I feel like I’m behind on the concepts/info during Dispatch training, is it easy to arrange for some extra tutoring?
Very simple. We offer tutoring after class every day at no extra charge. We encourage students to seek assistance, if required.