Someone who wants to become an aircraft dispatcher will need to receive a certification from a regulatory agency like the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. There are a number of ways to prepare for certification, including taking courses, getting experience in the aviation industry, and attending college for a four year degree. Once certified, it will be possible to work in the operations centers maintained by airlines at regional hubs and other locations to handle their flights.
The first step to become an aircraft dispatcher is to get a high school diploma and reach the minimum age, usually 21 in the U.S., to enter the profession. Next, it is necessary to apply to take the examination. Applicants can qualify to take the exam in several different ways.
One option is to take a class to become an aircraft dispatcher. The course can last between three and six weeks. Attendees get familiar with the aviation industry, the processes involved in flight dispatch, safety issues, and all applicable laws. At the end of the course, they can take the exam and should have the necessary knowledge to pass. Some training facilities also offer job placement for attendees, pending successful completion of the certification process.
Another option is to demonstrate experience in the aviation industry. People can work in a dispatch center for two to three years before applying to take the examination, or may have a history as pilots, navigators, and other aircraft personnel. This knowledge may be sufficient to take the exam to become an aircraft dispatcher without any additional training, or with the assistance of a short course.
It may also be possible to sit for the examination with a bachelor's degree in a topic related to aviation, or with a combination of a degree and some experience. Degrees in topics like meteorology can help aircraft dispatchers land jobs, and thus may be something to consider for a student who wants to become an aircraft dispatcher. Requirements for test takers can vary by agency, and it is advisable to check before assuming that a degree alone will qualify a graduate to take the examination.
If the test-taker passes the examination, that person will be qualified to work as a flight dispatcher and may be able to start work right away. Flight dispatchers are a key part of the ground operations at an airline. They are responsible for scheduling and coordinating flights, re-routing as necessary, and preempting hazards like dangerous weather conditions. Legally, they share responsibility for flight safety with the pilot, and must sign off on documents like flight plans to clear aircraft for takeoff.