Since Aircraft Dispatchers work behind the scenes many people do not know or have misconceptions about what an Aircraft Dispatcher actually does.
Who is an Aircraft Dispatcher?
That guy with the cones? The gal who clears the plane for takeoff? The dude who drives the little tug thingy?!? Even though the job of an Aircraft Dispatcher is a rewarding one, it is a job many people have never heard of. So, let’s identify what it is an Aircraft Dispatcher actually does. (You can put those cones away now.) The responsibilities vary from airline to airline, but are generally broken down into two main categories:
- Route of flight
- Fuel Planning
- Weight and Balance
- Weather Interpretation
- Aircraft Performance Computation
- Coordination with Air Traffic Control
- Weather updates
- Air traffic status updates
- Emergency assistance
As an Aircraft Dispatcher you are the unseen architect of each flight. You share equal authority over each individual flight with the airline captains. In addition to planning the details of the flight dispatchers remain in communication with the pilots until the flight lands safely. If there is an issue enroute, the captain will be depending on you for information relating to mechanical issues with the aircraft, weather changes enroute, airline protocol and regulations and above all else: the plan. The environment for Aircraft Dispatchers is fast paced and ever changing. We are always prepared with a plan B. When plan B fails, we are prepared with plans C, D and E as well. We do whatever it takes to get the job done safely.
Aircraft Dispatcher Pay and Benefits
After years of experience at a major airline an Aircraft Dispatcher’s annual base pay can reach as high as $170,000. This does not include any bonuses or overtime available to Aircraft Dispatchers. To get there takes hard work. Typically starting out you will be hired by a smaller regional carrier or charter service who will offer a starting salary between $30,000 and $50,000 a year. Just like most other professions it takes some time to reach the high end of the salary range.
Aircraft Dispatchers have access to the excellent benefits major airlines have to offer. These vary from airline to airline, but typically include free or reduced rate flight benefits for friends and family. In addition, part of being a dispatcher means you are required to spend five hours per year riding in the cockpit of one of the types of aircraft you dispatch. This privilege may also be used beyond the five hours required to fly for free.
Other benefits may include:
Longterm Disability Insurance
Healthcare Spending Account
Airline Credit Unions
Become an FAA Certified Aircraft Dispatcher in 4 1/2 Simple Steps!
Step 1: Choose the best school for you!
Obviously we think we are great (and we think we have the reviews to back it up) but a complete list of FAA approved schools can be found on: FAA.gov. Click on Approved Courses for Part 65 Aircraft Dispatcher Certification (PDF).
Step 2: Get registered for your class!
Click here to choose a class date from our schedule!
Step 3: Study hard!
Work hard in class and listen to your experienced instructors who know what it takes to pass the written and practical tests! ADTC begins to alert students to available jobs and encourages students to begin applying during step 3!
Step 4: Pass those tests!
Upon successful completion of your final test you will have earned your FAA Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate! Your examiner will immediately issue you a temporary airmen certificate which is valid for 120 days.
Step 4 1/2: Wait!
Your permanent certificate will arrive by mail. You are able to seek employment and begin working with your temporary certificate during the first 120 days.