There are a few ways that you can become a flight dispatcher. College typically is not necessary, but you will have to meet certain standards and might have to be a certain age before you can become a flight dispatcher. Flight dispatcher schools, online courses and apprenticeships are all good ways to become a flight dispatcher.
Although the role of a flight dispatcher is an important one, a college degree is not necessary. To become a flight dispatcher, you likely will need to graduate from high school or earn a General Educational Development (GED®) certificate. Flight dispatcher schools should be designed to prepare you for the certification exam in the jurisdiction where you live. In some places, you cannot attend a training school until you are 21 years old, and you cannot get a flight dispatcher license until you are 23. You can obtain the certification certificate before turning 21, but you might not be able to work as a dispatcher until you are 23.
A college degree can make you more attractive to an airline when you are applying for employment. Degrees in business, human resources or marketing are good degrees to have if you want to become a flight dispatcher. Classes in mathematics and meteorology are also useful. An associate's degree usually is enough to give you an edge when you are applying for a job. Most airlines are more interested in the fact that you have a degree than in which subject you got your degree.
Flight dispatcher schools can be expensive. Many schools offer financial aid. Programs typically last eight to 12 weeks and will ensure that you have the necessary skills to pass written, oral and practical exams. In some places, the written portion of the exam can take about three hours to complete and has 80 multiple-choice questions. A practical test will require you to demonstrate what you have learned in areas such as flight planning and emergency procedures.
Most training programs for airline dispatchers include about 200 hours of prep work and instruction. Some schools offer training online, but you still will need to demonstrate that you have the skills that a flight dispatcher needs. If you already work for an airline, you might be eligible to attend classes online through your employer. Another option that might be available is an apprenticeship. For two years, you would work and train as an apprentice before being eligible to take the certification tests.