In the United States, Commercial Airlines (Part 121 or some Part 135) are required to use an FAA aircraft dispatcher. There is required special training to receive this FAA aircraft dispatcher license.
An FAA Aircraft Dispatcher is required in the "System of Operational Control" and will share joint authority of a flight with the Captain (for Part 121 - Scheduled Airlines).
The FAA Aircraft dispatcher will create the flight plan, making adjustments and plans for adverse/hazardous weather, weight and balance, reviewing aircraft readiness for the flight and ensuring the flight crew has been properly briefed before departure. Once the FAA Aircraft Dispatcher and Pilot in Command both agree on the flight plan, the flight can begin! Once enroute, the FAA aircraft dispatcher will monitor the progress of the flight and advise the flight crew of any weather changes, NOTAM's or changes to the flight, the flight crew might need to be made aware of.
This can often be confusing if you are just learning about Aviation or Airline Operations.
First, FAA Aircraft Dispatchers are different than Air Traffic Controllers. Air Traffic Controllers are generally government employees and work at various controlling facilities around the country.
Aircraft Dispatchers work for Airlines.
Each Part 121 or Part 135 Airline is required to have an Operational Control Center (OCC), also known as System Operations Control (SOC). The wording/lingo differ from company to company, regardless they are the same thing, the Control Center the manages that airlines flight operations. These control centers are usually near the airlines Headquarters or main base of operations.
These airline control centers often house several operational departments to support the daily flight operation to include the following departments;
Flight Dispatch or Flight Control- (Where Aircraft Dispatchers work from)
Materials - Aircraft on the Ground (AOG)
By working together, all of these departments work together to seamlessly run an airline.
Most Regional Airlines (Part 121 or Part 135) start around $37,000-$45,000 Per Year. Some charter or smaller cargo only airlines can be in the $35,000-$45,000 range, again, depends on the company and your ability to negotiate your starting rate. After completing your aircraft dispatcher training, a regional airline would be one of the most likely places to start. Some aircraft dispatchers are lucky enough to start at a major airline!
Starting salaries at the nations largest airlines (passenger or cargo) begin around $55,000 as an Assistant Aircraft Dispatcher. Most of the major airlines (United, American, Southwest, FEDEX, UPS and Delta) have similar top-end salaries. When overtime is available, or if you've completed additional training or qualifications at your airline, it's possible to make over $150,000 a year!
Much like any business, Airlines will have job postings when they need more employees. Every company and their circumstance is different, however, airlines to some degree, will always need aircraft dispatchers because they are required by federal regulation in the United States for Part 121 (Scheduled) Airlines.
There are a number of topics that the Federal Aviation Administration requires be taught during this course. In addition to the FAA minimum topics, NAFC prides its self on teaching additional topics that will greatly benefit a new aircraft dispatcher, many of which are not taught at other schools. Check out our Aircraft Dispatcher Class Page for more details! A sample of the some of the topics covered include;
Aviation Weather Navigation ( including flight planning) Communications Aircraft Systems Practical Dispatch Application Emergency Procedures Air Traffic Control Processes Emphasis on Team Work
The great thing about the aircraft dispatcher job field is that every day is different! Meaning you are not going be moving papers from the left side of your desk, to the right side and back again...every single day.
I believe most aircraft dispatchers feel a level of satisfaction at the end of the shift, knowing their role made a difference in someones life that day! Greeting a pilot over the phone or radio, maximizing an aircraft payload to ensure all of customers were able to board the flight, effectively reviewing the weather to ensure you keep your customers, flight crew members and aircraft safe are just some of the tasks aircraft dispatchers handle on a daily basis.
Will some days be stressful? Of course, it would be unrealistic to think any job would not have stress. You'll also have a few easy days....literally, somehow, everything operates on time, no mechanical issues, VFR weather across the board and some days (it won't happen often) your desk phone might not even ring during an entire shift!
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires part 65 approved dispatch schools to have no more than 25 students per instructor.
It is unlikely you will find that many students in one class at North American Flight Control. Why?
This is generally a very technical subject and very difficult to maintain a high quality graduate when you have one instructor trying to support 25 students! You are likely to see class sizes between 5-15 at NAFC, with a 2nd full time instructor present when more technical topics are taught to ensure each student is receiving the support they need to succeed. Check Out our Aircraft Dispatcher Class page to learn more!
North American Flight Control (NAFC) has 2 separate class rooms available. We also have three full time instructors and several part time, so you shouldn't worry about your instructor being out sick! Our instructors have the passion to see you succeed, not only at achieving your aircraft dispatcher license but also by seeing you advance in your career, whatever your career goals are!
In addition, our facility is in a secure building with regular security services that ensure a well lit and safe parking lot!
We also have a break room with vending machines, microwave, sink, etc which is a great place to relax, eat a meal or catch up on a phone call or texting.
Learn More about North American Flight Control!
It's one of the great career fields that allows you the potential to earn $100,000 a year without a college degree and your future company may offer free travel benefits too!
NAFC offers Day, Night and Weekend FAA Aircraft Dispatcher Training programs!
We offer a variety of Day classes, which are Monday through Friday, 10 hours a day. This program lasts five (5) weeks.
The Night class is also Monday through Friday, 4 hours a night. This program lasts 10 weeks.
Lastly, our weekend program is exclusively on Saturday and Sunday, 10 hours a day for 12 weeks.
Regardless, if your on a tight timeline or only have weekends open, North American Flight Control is here to support your training needs!
North American Flight Control looks forward to further supporting our veterans!
Once we're approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, we'll be coordinating with Veterans Affairs to become eligible to support GI Bill and VA funding!
Stay Tuned as we progress through the certification stage and thank you for your interest!
‘ADX’ stands for the Aircraft Dispatcher Written Exam. It's a standardized 80-question, multiple choice examination taken at an authorized testing center (There are several written exam testing centers within the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area). A passing score of at least 70% is required. After graduating from your dispatcher program, passing the written exam, you are now eligible to take the practical exam. Upon passing the practical exam, you'll be handed your FAA Aircraft Dispatcher Certificate!
You must either wait 30 days for a retake or be tutored on the questions you failed. We are here to support you and if you needed tutoring, there is no extra charge and then you can be approved for the ADX retake ($175).
North American Flight Control is frequently in contact with airlines around the United States. We cannot guarantee jobs or interviews, however, we do actively advocate for our students/graduates with airlines that are looking for flight dispatchers. Ultimately, it is up the individual student/graduate to earn the job with the company they'd like to work for.
We will work closely with each student to succeed and pass their required testing to earn their FAA Aircraft Dispatch Certificate. This does require individual students to study and be responsible for their actions.
Earning your FAA Aircraft Dispatch Certificate is an incredible accomplishment, however, you do need to work hard, be responsible and ask for help if you need it.
Most flight dispatch offices only require aircraft dispatchers or flight dispatchers (they are the same thing) to weather business casual attire. Some dispatch offices even allow you casual attire in the office (jeans, etc).
Skills to help you become a Flight Dispatcher, you'll need:
At North American Flight Control, we offer a convenient 5 week aircraft dispatcher certification program.
For flexibility, we also offer a 10 week nights only class and a 12 week "weekend only" class.
Are you interested to learn more about our upcoming Minnesota Aircraft Dispatcher Training program? If you're interested in becoming an aircraft dispatcher, reach out to our school with any questions you have!
We are looking forward to offering a new Minneapolis aircraft dispatcher training program later this year, in addition to our new introduction to leadership class.
You can also subscribe to our newsletter on the home page to stay up to date as we progress!
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