New Dispatcher FAQ

autosave36

Well-Known Member
Hi, I'm new here. I'm in my late-20s/early-30s strongly considering a career change. I got a bachelor's degree in a business-related major but graduated during the worst of the recession and couldn't find work. But I'd always had good grades and test scores growing up and had a lot of family pressure to go into something prestigious. So, at the inexperienced age of 22, law school sounded like a good idea because I was very good at the LSAT, despite not being much into reading and writing, and I figured law school would just magically adjust my skills and interests into a steady job with a good salary. Long story short, that didn't happen. I graduated from a good school but near the bottom of my class, and passed the bar on the first try, but my heart was never in it. Accordingly, I've only been able to work at short-term, low-paying jobs. I wind up making about $40K with no benefits and I have no passion for it.

But I always have been very interested in transportation, especially commercial aviation, although I have never worked in the field. I spend a lot of my free time reading aviation news, playing around with flight trackers, plane spotting when I'm near the airport, etc. Since in the past I have found trouble with not being passionate about my line of work, I'm strongly considering changing careers and going into aviation for a living. I might have even considered becoming a pilot, but at this point I have so many student loans that I think I'd rather avoid adding the cost of pilot training to that pile. But the more I read about dispatch, the more interesting it seems to me.

My first question is, before even dealing with finding a dx school (there is one in my area that sounds cool), how I can I do more research to see if this would be a good path for me? Probably my biggest mistake going into law school was not researching the field first and it turned into a very expensive mistake, and I don't want to repeat the same mistake. I've heard of people networking their way into shadowing at SOCs, for example.

My second question is, would my career change background make it difficult for me to find work? I've noticed that at least one other poster on this forum has taken the lawyer-dispatch path (although it sounds like that person was much more successful in the law field than I ever was). I think some employers might be concerned about what might appear to be a big pay cut, but as I mentioned above, 40K with no benefits isn't very different from a 35K start at a regional with benefits.

Any advice at this early stage is appreciated. In any event dx school is probably at least a year away for me or so if I decide to do it.
First, welcome. Just reading about your relationship with aviation in general it sounds like you are a fit already but if you can work your way into touring an soc/occ/whatevercc they want to call it, I would recommend you do that. Beyond that there are some things that you have to be okay with, especially early on. The pay probably won't be more than 40k at first (though the benefits are there and the flight benefits are awesome). You likely have to work weekends and holidays. You may have hours that you don't like at first and it is not uncommon for new dispatchers to have 3 am starts or maybe even overnights. If you love aviation the way you say you do, though, I sincerely doubt that'll matter. The pay does improve with time and so do your shifts. I have a very favorable one to me 8 months in to my time at my airline and actually enjoy my weekend shifts.

Finding work? I got lucky and got a job my first airline I applied to and on the first interview. Some take months, some take years. It really varies. Again, your enthusiasm for the field that you have expressed gives you a bit of a leg up because they do want people who "want to be there." As to your previous work background, I've worked with dispatchers who come from varying fields before dispatch. I know ex pilots who dispatch, people who's only previous qualification was that they worked at a Starbucks, former high ranking managers with Wal Mart, and pretty much anywhere in between. If you can interview well and show you want to be there, know your stuff and have your certificate, someone will hire you.

Your username gives me some conjecture as to which school you're thinking of. If it is the one I am thinking of, I'l say that I went there and I thought it was a good school with good instructors.


Hope that helps. I personally really enjoy the field.
 

JayEssential

Well-Known Member
Not sure if this is the right place or if I should make a post but here it goes. Last year I received my dispatcher certificate from Sheffield, however at the time I still had one year of University left. I am now in the mist of my final semester and will be graduating May 6th. In theory, I would like to have a Job ready when I graduate but I know anything is possible between now and then. My question is, would it be too early to apply for Jobs now? I know it could take awhile until I actually land my first job but after seeing a few desired opening now, I would like to apply for them. My concern would be that employers would notice that I still don't graduate for 3 more months and trash my resume. It's logical for that to happen if they are looking to hire soon and it might sound silly to say this but I don't want to harm any chances I possibly could have later on by applying too early. Thanks!
 
Not sure if this is the right place or if I should make a post but here it goes. Last year I received my dispatcher certificate from Sheffield, however at the time I still had one year of University left. I am now in the mist of my final semester and will be graduating May 6th. In theory, I would like to have a Job ready when I graduate but I know anything is possible between now and then. My question is, would it be too early to apply for Jobs now? I know it could take awhile until I actually land my first job but after seeing a few desired opening now, I would like to apply for them. My concern would be that employers would notice that I still don't graduate for 3 more months and trash my resume. It's logical for that to happen if they are looking to hire soon and it might sound silly to say this but I don't want to harm any chances I possibly could have later on by applying too early. Thanks!
I don't think it hurts to apply now, or the very least apply when you have about 1month till your degree
 

DispatcherSam

NOTAMed OTS
I would hold off until you are serious about taking a job. There’s always someone hiring and if they get wind that you’re wasting their time, they may remember that when you do actually want a job.
 

thatDude95

New Member
As a dispatcher do you get to pick where you fly on your familiarization flights?
Do you have to fly international, or can you just get your hours domestically if you are not dispatching ETOPS?
 

autosave36

Well-Known Member
As a dispatcher do you get to pick where you fly on your familiarization flights?
Do you have to fly international, or can you just get your hours domestically if you are not dispatching ETOPS?
That's all going to depend on the company. At ours, usually they make your first one for you and you can schedule your other ones to your preference.
 

who'swho

Don't hesitate. Penetrate!
As a dispatcher do you get to pick where you fly on your familiarization flights?
Do you have to fly international, or can you just get your hours domestically if you are not dispatching ETOPS?
My company let's you pick your flight. Domestic or intl... They don't care. And yes... you can fly a domestic route and still be good to dispatch ETOPS.
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
As a dispatcher do you get to pick where you fly on your familiarization flights?
Do you have to fly international, or can you just get your hours domestically if you are not dispatching ETOPS?
At my airline, we rotate through the various international regions we are qualified in along with domestic. There's no regulatory requirement mandating where you go, though, so it's up to the individual airline to determine policy. FAR wise, you could just do a domestic jumpseat every year without any issue.
 

R2D

ACK
As a dispatcher do you get to pick where you fly on your familiarization flights?
Do you have to fly international, or can you just get your hours domestically if you are not dispatching ETOPS?
At mine, they'd like you to do your fam ride to a place you regularly dispatch. If you're relief, anything is fair game.
 

flighteng78

New Member
Hey guys new to the forum and man has it been a wealth of information reading all 12 pages. Good on you to have a page like this for future dispatchers. I have a few questions that maybe a few dispatchers at the majors or any for that matter can answer. I am 40 years old and I am retiring from the US Air Force this year and attending IFOD in Dallas in July. I have been a flight engineer on C-130H for 8 years and C-5M for 2 years and have acquired about 2,750 flight hours. I have no dispatch experience other than dealing with the military dispatchers (managers) that get pissed off when they have to do their work. I talked to someone at IFOD when registering for the class and he said that it was possible to skip over regionals and go straight to the majors with the aviation experience I have. Everything I have read online goes against this. I am thinking I am going to have to go the normal route as everyone else and start with regionals and get experience but was just wondering anyone's thoughts on this. Thank you very much in advance for your replies!
 

Altimeter

Well-Known Member
Hey guys new to the forum and man has it been a wealth of information reading all 12 pages. Good on you to have a page like this for future dispatchers. I have a few questions that maybe a few dispatchers at the majors or any for that matter can answer. I am 40 years old and I am retiring from the US Air Force this year and attending IFOD in Dallas in July. I have been a flight engineer on C-130H for 8 years and C-5M for 2 years and have acquired about 2,750 flight hours. I have no dispatch experience other than dealing with the military dispatchers (managers) that get pissed off when they have to do their work. I talked to someone at IFOD when registering for the class and he said that it was possible to skip over regionals and go straight to the majors with the aviation experience I have. Everything I have read online goes against this. I am thinking I am going to have to go the normal route as everyone else and start with regionals and get experience but was just wondering anyone's thoughts on this. Thank you very much in advance for your replies!
Depends on who you know. Thanks for your service!
 

Flagship_dxer

Legacy Airline Dispatcher
Hey guys new to the forum and man has it been a wealth of information reading all 12 pages. Good on you to have a page like this for future dispatchers. I have a few questions that maybe a few dispatchers at the majors or any for that matter can answer. I am 40 years old and I am retiring from the US Air Force this year and attending IFOD in Dallas in July. I have been a flight engineer on C-130H for 8 years and C-5M for 2 years and have acquired about 2,750 flight hours. I have no dispatch experience other than dealing with the military dispatchers (managers) that get pissed off when they have to do their work. I talked to someone at IFOD when registering for the class and he said that it was possible to skip over regionals and go straight to the majors with the aviation experience I have. Everything I have read online goes against this. I am thinking I am going to have to go the normal route as everyone else and start with regionals and get experience but was just wondering anyone's thoughts on this. Thank you very much in advance for your replies!
I think whoever you spoke to at IFOD meant that it was possible but maybe neglected to tell you that it was unlikely. The aviation knowledge and experience you got in the Air Force will definitely help when you do get an interview with a major and the majors do like hiring former military. I would plan on going to the regionals or Supplementals to start. With your prior aviation experience, a LCC is probably doable pretty quickly as well.
 

flighteng78

New Member
I think whoever you spoke to at IFOD meant that it was possible but maybe neglected to tell you that it was unlikely. The aviation knowledge and experience you got in the Air Force will definitely help when you do get an interview with a major and the majors do like hiring former military. I would plan on going to the regionals or Supplementals to start. With your prior aviation experience, a LCC is probably doable pretty quickly as well.
I will be retiring and moving to Dallas. Looks like Envoy is the only regional and American and Southwest the majors. I know that it is extremely unlikely that I would be hired onto the majors with 0 experience as a dx so regional is going to be my route. I also think it would be smarter to go regionals first just to get some experience so that I am not overwhelmed at the majors. What are the supplementals and what is considered a Low Cost Carrier? Does it mean by fare price? Thanks for the response!
 

DogwoodLynx

Well-Known Member
I will be retiring and moving to Dallas. Looks like Envoy is the only regional and American and Southwest the majors. I know that it is extremely unlikely that I would be hired onto the majors with 0 experience as a dx so regional is going to be my route. I also think it would be smarter to go regionals first just to get some experience so that I am not overwhelmed at the majors. What are the supplementals and what is considered a Low Cost Carrier? Does it mean by fare price? Thanks for the response!
LCCs are Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant....

Supplemental are 121 charter companies
 

clark_kent7

Well-Known Member
Question... I passed my dispatch exam back in May, but I don't turn 23 until October. Should I be applying now or is that an automatic thanks but no thanks?
 

A-9er

Well-Known Member
Question... I passed my dispatch exam back in May, but I don't turn 23 until October. Should I be applying now or is that an automatic thanks but no thanks?
Do you have your license, or did you simply pass the ADX written exam?
 

nickychang74

New Member
Need some help and advice. I will be attending Jeppesen's flight dispatch program(fom 2, international flight planning) in September. what outside studying materials might i want to get and study from before the program starts? I saw Gleim Aviation has some material for this but i am not sure which material applies to the program. Could I get some help and and direction on what i should purchase and study from for the next 2 months. Thanks.
 

ZC

Active Member
Question... I passed my dispatch exam back in May, but I don't turn 23 until October. Should I be applying now or is that an automatic thanks but no thanks?
Hi, I'm also new to this forum. I had a similar situation. I passed my oral exam a week before I turned 23. I waited until' they mailed me my temporary then I started applying for jobs. But like 4EngineETOPS said some airlines won't get back to you until' months after you apply so applying 2 months out wouldn't be a bad idea either. (also I got a job within' 1 month after I started applying and had at least 2 different companies offering me a job.) However 1 company got a hold of me the same day I applied and the other about 1-2 months.
 
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