Requires an FAA Aircraft Dispatcher license. The knowledge test ("written" test, now taken on a computer) is identical to the Airline Transport Pilot written except it also includes a question or two about the license and its related regulations. (FAR
Here is a link to the ADF (Airline Dispatchers Federation)
If you lose this link don't go to ADF.org as that is a neo-pagan druid organization. A lovely bunch of people I'm sure but not much help in this quest. They have links to schools that do dispatcher training.
For a raw-meat dispatcher student with no airline or military flight ops experience the full course to become a dispatcher is probably six weeks and will likely cost about three thousand plus expenses. It is a pretty good study load.
In addition to the written there is a "practical" exam. Most likely it will go like this: The examiner will hand you a weather package and a sheet of data about an airline flight you are to dispatch. You will study the weather, plan the flight including fuel load and maybe weight & balance. The instructor already has his solution so when you hand it in (maybe an hour's work involved before you do this) he will compare time and fuel burn etc. with your work. He will check on the little traps (one-way airways and so on) then he will conduct an oral exam on the flight you just planned, the regulations regarding it, the weather, the airplane in question, performance in general, navigation and instrument flight, basic aeronautics and a few hypotheticals. When he is satisfied that you know your stuff he'll write you out a "temporary airman certificate" and you will be a dispatcher.
I've had the license for a quarter century now. My daughter has had hers for ten years. Neither of us is working the profession so there are two slots open for you.
Your plan might be a good one. Dispatcher is almost an entry-level job for one who has the license. I say almost because there is usually a bit of a surplus of licensed guys on the property waiting for the next opening. Typically you might be hired as a dispatch clerk, an assistant to a licensed dispatcher. From that pool you get moved up. Pay used to be somewhere around 70% of a captain's pay at the same seniority
but I don't know what it is like these days.
After that, well, management must come from somewhere. It is a real boon to airline management when they can find well-educated, experienced, real-world hands-on experienced guys right there in their own office to promote. Besides, if they don't give you the opportunity some other airline will.
The down side is that the airline business is as bad and worse than
|Quoting RNOcommctr (Reply 1):|
Airlines come and go, go into bankruptcy, merge with another carrier, etc.
...this suggests. I have long said that the only real sure way to have a pension at the end of your aviation career is to work for the government at some level. I feel almost traitorous making such a statement but it is true. Corporate America is committed to shedding its personnel expenses - no matter the consequences to you.
On the other hand, satisfaction with the job is inversely proportional to the size of the establishment for which you work. I've known maybe three or four government employees who did not hate their jobs. I've worked for some real dirtbag airlines and loved it.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.