Ward86IND From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 294 posts, RR: 0 Posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9870 times:
Long time reader, first time poster. Here is my situation:
I'm a 19 year old college student and I've wanted to be an airline pilot my whole life, but unfortunately I was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes two years ago (which prohibits me from being a commericial pilot or ATC). Up until a few days ago I had no idea what I wanted to do instead, until I was doing an assignment for my career exploration class and ran into the career "Flight Dispatcher." And let me say...it looks awesome! Good pay, I would get to deal directly with the pilots, plan routes and fuel, predict weather, work in a fast-paced environment...and even go for a ride in the cockpit every so often! Unfortunately I go to a small college that doesn't offer majors in meteorology or anything having to with aviation...but I can transfer if necessary.
I see pilots, ATC, rampers, etc. post on here all the time, so I assume some flight dispatchers are reading this. I would much appreciate some advice. I believe a bachelor's degree is necessary before training at a flight dispatchers academy, but do I need a particular major? And I am pretty sure it doesn't but please tell me the diabetes doesn't rule me out of this job too. I already changed my class schedule for next semester from mostly business classes to almost all gen-ed in preparation to be able to take whatever classes I need for this job later. Could I major in communications possibly? Also what math classes are required? Now is the time to change my class schedule before all the classes get filled up.
And, of course, how is the job? It looks really awesome on paper but I would like to hear from people that do it for a living. I also heard that it is a lot easier to become an ATC after doing this job...maybe if they change the rules...Anyway that's all I got for right now but I would very much appreciate any responses, especially from flight dispatchers or people who work with flight dispatchers because I'm going to need to take immediate action if this is the career I want.
UAXDXer From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 765 posts, RR: 3 Reply 1, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9854 times:
A college degree is not required but it would always help. Doesn't really matter what the degree is in. Before you get too excited about becoming a dispatcher one of the requirements of getting your FAA licence is that you have to be at least 23 years old.
Hope that helps....
It takes a bug to hit a windsheild but it takes guts to stick
Goldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 5642 posts, RR: 15 Reply 2, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9842 times:
There are certifate schools out there that will get you you the all important license. They will teach you everything you need to know to pass the written, and then some, et. al.; weather; ATC; stuff specific to that school's operations (My school used 737-200's, as compared to the dying breed of the 727. Not much of an upgrade, but it's typical of the supplemental market now.) But one thing you should know is that regardless of where you got that license, you will be taught to play by that airline's rules (each operation is different.)
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
Apodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3947 posts, RR: 6 Reply 3, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9842 times:
First of all, you say your 19. Under FAA regs, you have to be 23 to obtain a dispatchers license, and I believe you have to be 21 to take an approved class, after which you get a certificate that says you passed, but cannot be used to dispatch flights until you turn 23, when it becomes a license. So don't be in a hurry to rush into this.
Secondly, yes the pay looks pretty good on paper. However, most of the payscales you are looking at are at larger carriers and cargo carriers where the pay is still pretty good. Out of dispatching school, you will not be working for one of these carriers. You will likely be working for either a 135, or a regional carrier, where the pay is comporable to what F/O's at regionals make, which is not much. That being said, there are a lot of dispatch offices where you can make a decent living at the regional level based on the location, Air Wisconsin and SkyWest quickly come to mind. It will take a few years of experience, not to mention more competent CEO's before any Major will consider you, if they hire at all anytime soon, though JetBlue, Frontier, and Continental have all hired recently. The travel benefits, not to mention the jumpseat privileges (I am in the CASS program), are awesome and make it worthwhile. Just expect a lot of early morning shifts and weekend work, since like anything else its based on seniority.
Thirdly, no college degree or anything like that is required to enroll in a dispatch school. Meteorology classes, if your school offers them, are probably the most useful, but I have found math classes as well as some electronics or physics can be helpful as well. Airlines like to see an Associate or a Bachelors degree to hire you, but they don't care as much what field its in. And your diabetes will not disqualify you. Dispatchers are not required to have a current medical to perform their duties. Just make sure you stay drug free and you will be fine.
The job itself is an awesome responsibily. On days when the weather is bad in your hub cities, with lots of delays, not to mention more fuel for alternates, especially in a CRJ, it can be very hectic, and you will be scrambling all shift. Same thing if a bunch of planes start having mechanical issues, particularly in outstations where we have to often call the FBO to get a mechanic. On beautiful VFR days where planes are running smoothly, you will probably not be doing much more than releases and flight following. Often times you deal with people who seem like they have no brain cells at this job, especially station agents. The best day of work you will have is when you get to go out on your required jumpseating trip. You pick your own trip and can go anywhere you want. Some companies will even have you do an overnight in the crew hotel. You get to meet the crews, see the approaches, and get passengers to smile at you when you open the cockpit door at the end of the flight.
I don't know about becoming an ATC, but I do know one thing. Since that position requires a Class 2 medical, you would probably not be able to get hired as such.
Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, feel free to write to me at anytime. I can give you my email on a pm if you like.
Kjet12 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 975 posts, RR: 8 Reply 4, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 9817 times:
Lewis University offers an Aviation Dispatch minor degree which ultimately certifies you as a dispatcher. I will be attending Lewis University next August so if you want any information, feel free to email me though my profile.
Ward86IND From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 294 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 9763 times:
Thank you UAXDXer, Goldenshield, Apodino, and Kjet12. To further clarify, I was aware I have to be 23 to obtain a dispatcher's license, I was just wondering what I can do now to help me out when that time comes. And as far as becoming a controller, that of course is years down the road if at all, because the new technology for diabetes is really promising. Apodino, I will probably go ahead and enroll in a physics class then, and Kjet12, that is GREAT news because I was actually considering Lewis University when I was trying to become a pilot, it's not far away and I believe it's small and catholic, just like the college I'm at now. I will definitely be emailing you guys and thanks again.
IH8B6 From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 196 posts, RR: 2 Reply 6, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 9640 times:
Congrats on wanting to be a dispatcher. I love the job and love the pay. The jumpseat rides are one of the best perks!
I would suggest having a loose private pilot or meteorology background but don't flip your life upside down trying to get dispatch related classes at college for it. Go to a dispatch school after college. For now concentrate on getting a degree for a 'real job'. What if dispatching doesn't work out? You could always fail the test. OR more likely you want to move up in the airline after you dispatch, OR with all of that money you make your first 20 years, you see it fit when you turn 45 to retire and move on to something else. I would definitely suggest a background in business, HR or marketing so you can run the airline you dispatch at or move on to greener pastures years down the road. Also, supposedly some of the technology on the horizon is slowly going to make a dispatcher obsolete in the next 20 or so years….SUPPOSEDLY - not saying it's going to happen and I hope not but SUPPOSEDLY. You think 40 years ago Flight Engineers thought they would be obsolete?? I know ex-FE I work with never thought that would happen.
But, the job rocks. It is nice to look forward going to work. Even better is sitting at home on the porch watching a jet fly over and wondering if it's one you released! Pretty neat feeling.
TristanHNL From Hong Kong, joined Apr 2006, 174 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 9560 times:
Wow this job of flight dispatcher sounds great, I didn't even know it existed! I thought the pilots did that kind of work on top of flying the plane....
I'm currently 22, have an A.S. in radiologic technology, and reside in hawaii. Having read about this job I want to give it serious consideration. I too have always wanted to be a pilot but my vision is way too bad, I thought about FA, but the pay isn't good at all. so this other aviation-related job is one I think I may like. Thanks Ward86IND for this thread, now I have another career option!
Anyone know where's the closest dispatch school to hawaii??
L-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29513 posts, RR: 59 Reply 11, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 9442 times:
I just finally got my permanent certificate in the mail.
Basicly once you are 23 there are 3 steps.
Take a FAA approved class, these usually take 8 to 12 weeks, although my school did it in 4 weeks. College class structure will spread that out much longer. For that reason I think I would recommend you don't do it through a college unless you are there for another degree and the classes will count for both.
Then within 90 days to have to take and pass the FAA written
Then you have to pass a check with a designated examiner, who mine at least had you explain/look up regs, show you know how to read maps, fill out a flight plan....all the job functions you would be doing. I'll admit that I was nervous enough during this test I had the squirts for 3 days afterward.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
Polar1 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 150 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 9407 times:
I also want to thank everyone for the info. I currently work Customer Service for OO and have an interest in dispatch. I will check out the link provided. Any suggestions for dispatch school in Washington State or Oregon? I know dispatchers exist and won't mind being a troll or living under that rock!
Kjet12 From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 975 posts, RR: 8 Reply 15, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 9245 times:
I'm guessing you talked to Frank. He's really a great guy and has been extremely helpful with my transfer. The dispatch minor was one of the main reasons why I decided to transfer to Lewis. I realized being a pilot was not what I wanted to do and although UND is a great school, its really better for people who want to have a professional flying career. Flying to me is more of a hobby. Anyway, like I said, send me an email. I am flying to Chicago to see the school next month and start the class registration process so I will definately let you know what it's like.
L-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29513 posts, RR: 59 Reply 16, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 9194 times:
Quoting Kjet12 (Reply 15): I realized being a pilot was not what I wanted to do and although UND is a great school, its really better for people who want to have a professional flying career.
My experience there was similar, great people, but at the time they seemed much more concerned with rushing as many bodies through the program as possible. That and there was this centered view that the only way to have a flying career was to be in the left seat of a widebody.
I know plenty of successful guys that don't do that and get to see their kids every night.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
Kohflot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 17, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9168 times:
Before you transfer schools, let me just reiterate what's already been said here. There's no specific degree that increases your chances of becoming an employed dispatcher. If you get a bachelors degree, get your dispatch license, show your enthusiasm, and are willing to move across the country, then I think it's pretty certain you'll find a job. I would even say you're much better off not having any sort of aviation-related degree.. major or minor. That way if the fit hits the shan again in the industry, you won't find yourself with just one employable skillset.
Once you're done with school, if you're looking for a good airline job that will allow you to interface with dispatchers and with flight crews (until you turn 23), you might want to look into becoming an operations agent. The pay isn't so hot, but it will give you exposure to the business and will also allow you to meet people that might be helpful down the road.
L-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29513 posts, RR: 59 Reply 18, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 9156 times:
Quoting Kohflot (Reply 17): you might want to look into becoming an operations agent. The pay isn't so hot, but it will give you exposure to the business and will also allow you to meet people that might be helpful down the road.
Actually the alternative to doing the school is to spend two years performing the duties of a dispatcher in 121-apprenticeship sort of deal. Then you just have to go and take the two tests.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
N911ME From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 117 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 9126 times:
This thread is changing minds.....the information and testimonies have renewed my interest in becoming a flight dispatcher as well. I know Lewis U. has the Flight Dispatcher program, but does anyone have any advice as to which flight dispatch schools/programs are better than others? Also, are there any part-time schools in the Chicago area (i.e. night classes, weekend classes, etc.)?
I tried to get into the Flight Dispatcher concentration in Aviation Technology here at Purdue, but they canceled our program in West Lafayette last year.
By the way, thanks to everyone for this thread! I've always wanted to be a pilot but my vision isn't correctable to 20/20 because of an astigmatism. This job sounds just about perfect. I'm in the process of earning a masters in IT, so I'll definitely look into taking this course when I'm done. Thanks again!
Better to be nouveau than never to have been riche at all.
Ward86IND From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 294 posts, RR: 0 Reply 24, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 9024 times:
Quoting L-188 (Reply 18): Before you transfer schools, let me just reiterate what's already been said here. There's no specific degree that increases your chances of becoming an employed dispatcher. If you get a bachelors degree, get your dispatch license, show your enthusiasm, and are willing to move across the country, then I think it's pretty certain you'll find a job. I would even say you're much better off not having any sort of aviation-related degree.. major or minor. That way if the fit hits the shan again in the industry, you won't find yourself with just one employable skillset.
Yes, I'm aware of this, but I think I need to "nurture" my passion for aviation with something other than flight simulator. No one cares the least bit about aviation at my current college, thank God for flight sim and this website. And yes, Kjet12, it was Frank I talked to at Lewis and he said that aviation just "permiates" from the campus. Plus, my grades aren't so hot right now, I plan to just kick ass next year then maybe transfer, and that will become motivation. I think I will go ahead and major in business or something, for the reason you stated and because of what an earlier poster on this thread said, (God forbid) the job isn't needed in 20 years or so. But I think I would like to minor in flight dispatching, if for nothing else just to have classes l like.
Quoting IH8B6 (Reply 21): Does anyone know what the average pay is? Avjobs.com lists the average at $32,000; which doesn't sound right.
I had the exact figures from eDiscover.com (where I found out about the job) but I'm at my home computer now and can't remember my login info. I do recall that according to them, the average starting pay was around 40-45k a year, AVERAGE was like 60-something k, and salary with experience was over 80k. I'll correct the figures when I can go back to the website, but not bad...
Kohflot From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 25, posted (7 years 7 months 2 weeks 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 9001 times:
Please don't expect $40K a year to start. For a major, that's reasonable.. but the chances of getting a job at a major fresh out of dispatch school are almost nil (unless you already have a job somewhere that only hires dispatchers from inside the company).
I think $28-32K for the first few years at a regional is about right.. that'll be a bit higher in 4 years when you'd be starting.