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FAA-Licensed Aircraft Dispatcher?  
User currently offlineHotelEchoFox From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 69 posts, RR: 0
Posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 7470 times:

Hello all -

I've done quite a bit of searching on this forum (not to mention tons of independent research), and it seems that the industry concensus is that for someone with little or no aviation background, there are but two dispatch schools to seriously consider: FlightSafety International and The Sheffield School of Aeronautics.

I'm located only a few miles from LGA, so FSI would seem the obvious choice, but I'd like to be sure that I'm making the right decision.

Certainly, FSI's reputation preceeds it, but the information Sheffield has provided me with has contained an overwhelming amount of wonderful success stories and other encouraging literature. The folder FSI mailed doesn't compare.

Is this simply an FSI marketing fault, or is Sheffield really the place to go? If anyone would like to voice their opinion on this (or even suggest another training facility), I'd be happy to hear it. I'm hoping you guys can help me to figure out the best way to get into the business (from scratch!).

Also, I have a few other questions:

1.) How much advance studying/reading/prep time (before the course begins) would you recommend for someone with little or no aviation background?

2.) Are there any statistics available showing how many recent graduates (of either school) have been successfully hired, and how long it took them after graduation to secure employment?

3.) Is there any information out there on which companies are currently (or have recently been) hiring those candidates?

4.) If there are any current dispatchers plying this forum, I'd be really interested to hear about their job specifically... Are you enjoying the position? What's your take on opportunities for advancement in the field? How long did it take you to achieve the seniority necessary to work on a schedule aligned with your preference? ...I'll welcome personal replies to my e-mail address as well, if you'd prefer.

Thanks so much for your time, guys (sorry for the long post!). Any input at all that you industry pros might have to offer would be really appreciated. Thanks again!


5 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30410 posts, RR: 57
Reply 1, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 7453 times:

Well I am not a working one at the moment but maybe I can address some issues.

There are more schools then that, I would go check out this website, http://www.dispatcher.org/ I don't think you will go wrong with either of those schools. I myself got mine through a state workforce development course and they paid for everything but the testing. My advice would be to look at all of them, and pay closer attention to those afilliated with universities.

Preptime- I don't know if I would worry about it too much, there is a minimum number of hours the course is supposed to supply. But just having a basic feel of flying wouldn't hurt. I definately wouldn't try doing the same course I did, we did the required course work in 4 weeks, what these schools do in 8 to 12. But again, there where only eight of us, 6 where current 135 station managers or flight followers, 1 was a 135/125/121 flight follower, another was the Safety director for the same company. And me the unemployed one who have been laid off after 5 years of 135 work 3 months earlier.

I can't picture how slow a 12 week course is.

User currently offlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6170 posts, RR: 13
Reply 2, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 7439 times:

1) You could go in with basically 0 background. They will teach you what you need to know. If you have questions, feel free to ask them; the instructor will always be willing to help you out.

2) Beware statistics—especially the skewed ones that the schools put out. Many will also guarantee an interview, which is nice, but having the license won't guarantee the job (unless the operation in really desperate, and I would suggest you do your homework on which operations are REALLY desperate, and WHY they are desperate.) Myself, I managed to have serendipitious timing, and went from dispatch school to ground school in less than 2 weeks. Some that I have talked to, though, have yet to be hired by anyone, yet they are very good candidates.

3) Companies will post job openings when they need to. I would suggest looking at either the regional or cargo airlines first. They will be your best bet for a 0 time job. Your chances at getting hired at a major are pretty slim.

4) I love the job; it's great.  Smile

Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 7430 times:

ERAU just became certified for airline dispatching instruction, at least the PRC campus, don't know about DAB but I guess they have it too. But IIRC, you have to take several courses required by the AS major. Then again I've heard about students that will come in during the summer, take 6 credits worth of classes, and then go back to their respective alma mater and finish off whatever they were majoring at. This is specially true for students just looking for certificates or licenses of some sort.

Just thought i'd share  Smile

User currently offlineHotelEchoFox From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 69 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 7392 times:

Thanks so much for the replies, guys. Very helpful.

I've been looking at schools that aren't university-affiliated (the six week course variety) because I already have my bachelors degree. Also, I definitely understand that I'll have to start at a regional. I'm not worried about that. Pass benefits on a major would be awfully nice (and are a long-term hope), but it's all about the job at the moment.

User currently offlineDispatcher From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 254 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (9 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 7362 times:


My employer paid for my dispatch certificate as part of their continuing education program while I was still in another department. It was through an extension program at Airline Ground Schools. As far as I know everybody in my class who passed (and there were many who didn't) and wanted a dispatch job has eventually gotten one. As a funny side note, I took the class on a whim, not expecting much to come out of it at the time, then it turned out that my company posted internal dispatch positions and I went ahead and applied. My interview was two days after my oral exam! Talk about good interview prep! My experience with AGS was pretty hit and miss though, their test prep got me a 100% on the written exam but as with anything you only got out of it what you put in. I tend to think that I learned alot despite the instruction. That being said, I have also heard that our hiring department no longer looks highly on dispatch certificates obtained from AGS.

Answers to your other questions:
1. As mentioned above, you'll get out of it what you put into it. I would highly suggest reading everything you can on aviation weather and private pilot theory as possible. A general understanding of aviation is a big help going in. Not 100% necesary, but a big help.

2. Not that I am aware of, but to give you an idea of how coveted the position has become at my airline, there were at least 40 persons with dispatch certificates who applied for 5 openings, the successful candidates either had loads of ramp experience with some flight expierence, loads of flight experience with some operations experience, or previous dispatch experience with another carrier. Competition is tight for these jobs.

3. Reference question #2. I'm really not sure how the regional carriers handle their hiring (or any airlines other than my own) but we generally hire from within.

4. I love my job. I'm paid very well, have a great work schedule, and get good benefits for me and my family! As far as opportunity to advance goes, I think most people in my position consider this the top of their career goal in aviation, some would like to move on to management but many are content where they are. There aren't many other positions within the airlines, other than flight crew, legal and upper management positions that compensate as well. I'm still not where I want to be in seniority to hold the line I really want but I do ok (I've been at it for seven years now). That should tell you a little about how long people hold on to these jobs!

Good Luck

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