New Dispatcher FAQ

This is my first post on this site so I hope I am placing this in the correct area. I searched for the topic/question I have in mind and did not find any discussion on this matter and I'm hoping to get some responses from you who can share your experience.

To the point - I am someone who is passionate about aviation/airlines/airports/etc.. you get the point as I am certain many of you here are as well. I am looking to pursue a new (2nd) career as a flight dispatcher. As someone approaching 50 years old, with easily another 20 years of working ahead of me I am wondering if anyone here has fit into that same category and what your experience has been. Or from anyone, as you work in the industry, what have you seen in terms of new hire dispatchers coming onboard.

I worked at FedEx Express for over 20 years and the majority of that time was spent as an operations manager which included hiring as a function. I've interviewed and hired people from all backgrounds and age groups so this concept isn't foreign to me, I am just wondering what you see. Now some of you might wonder why I never did this earlier, or pursued this path while working at FedEx. I mean, no better way to get a job than internal transfer right? There are many what/if's out there. Life happens and it wasn't the right time, for me, then.

Now I find myself in a position of "nothing to lose" - 1) able to relocate, 2) debt-free (which means the significant pay cut, for now, is not an issue)

I currently live in Europe. I moved here for what I thought was my 2nd career. It was a fantastic experience, though my company laid off 50% of the people - that's startup life! So now I'm considering going to school at Sheffield and pursuing a new career as a flight dispatcher.

I would love to hear any feedback/experiences from you.

Thank you!
 
This is my first post on this site so I hope I am placing this in the correct area. I searched for the topic/question I have in mind and did not find any discussion on this matter and I'm hoping to get some responses from you who can share your experience.

To the point - I am someone who is passionate about aviation/airlines/airports/etc.. you get the point as I am certain many of you here are as well. I am looking to pursue a new (2nd) career as a flight dispatcher. As someone approaching 50 years old, with easily another 20 years of working ahead of me I am wondering if anyone here has fit into that same category and what your experience has been. Or from anyone, as you work in the industry, what have you seen in terms of new hire dispatchers coming onboard.

I worked at FedEx Express for over 20 years and the majority of that time was spent as an operations manager which included hiring as a function. I've interviewed and hired people from all backgrounds and age groups so this concept isn't foreign to me, I am just wondering what you see. Now some of you might wonder why I never did this earlier, or pursued this path while working at FedEx. I mean, no better way to get a job than internal transfer right? There are many what/if's out there. Life happens and it wasn't the right time, for me, then.

Now I find myself in a position of "nothing to lose" - 1) able to relocate, 2) debt-free (which means the significant pay cut, for now, is not an issue)

I currently live in Europe. I moved here for what I thought was my 2nd career. It was a fantastic experience, though my company laid off 50% of the people - that's startup life! So now I'm considering going to school at Sheffield and pursuing a new career as a flight dispatcher.

I would love to hear any feedback/experiences from you.

Thank you!
Dispatching as a second career is extremely common. I know of several students older than you. If this is what you want to do, do not let your age stand in your way. It will not be a detriment.
 
@DutchArgo Hey Dutch, it's never too late. The only thing to take note, as with anything aviation related, is when weather comes and the crap hits the fan it is very busy. Some desks more than others but usually everyone is swamped. The end of the day eventually comes and you mentally let go of what happened and enjoy the rest of the day. There are those days where you earn your paycheck but otherwise it's a great position with a high level of reward.
 
Hello. Thanks for all the information. I have plenty to read while working as a ramp agent.

It is my first month in aviation altogether. The idea of building a career in performing the work of dispatching aircraft was one I stumbled onto while looking through a local college course catalog. It seems that there is an FAA approved testing center near me. The pace of the education is slow, since the college separates it into semesters. It will likely take a year to complete after I get started. However, financially, it is actually something that will let me get licensed sooner than saving up for one of the more intensive school options...as I would need to save up for more than a year, due to my budget constraints.

Working as a ramp agent is unrelated, apart from gaining exposure to how an airport and an airline work. It's just how I pay the bills. I actually like it so far. I'd like to be able to jump into getting my certification as soon as possible, but it's just not possible. I'll focus on taking the patient route and biding my time and getting things done how I can. I'm going on 30 this year and, to be honest, I've not had much of a career other than serving in the military for 4 years. Other than that, I tried a lot of different jobs in different sectors and industries and traveled around in the world where I could while my budget held (I didn't get very far, though).

Now I feel I should have played a more conservative game in terms of my career, so in a way the impatience I feel is the big test for now. I have no doubts about my ability to learn anything I need to know. I know my work ethic as well. I love producing best results.

But aside from that, my religious life and church is the main priority, so ... in the midst of working while I must work, and saving what I must save, and waiting while I must wait, I am not sure if the dispatch life is the life for me. If you took me back to my early twenties when I didn't care about my relatives or my faith, and left my church for a while, this would be my dream job; but now I don't know, since the early part of this career trajectory seems to sacrifice the life schedule. It might interfere with my church life.

Even so, I'd like to take this time that I have over the course of this next year or so, to thoroughly investigate this career field and see if I can find God's will in it for me. Perhaps I will find some advice from those who have gone before me, on how to balance the lifestyle with church. I'll keep reading and see what I am able to learn in the meantime. Thanks to all who advise and guide. I kind of admire that. It's a good example for me to contemplate.
Zeph
 
Hello. Thanks for all the information. I have plenty to read while working as a ramp agent.

It is my first month in aviation altogether. The idea of building a career in performing the work of dispatching aircraft was one I stumbled onto while looking through a local college course catalog. It seems that there is an FAA approved testing center near me. The pace of the education is slow, since the college separates it into semesters. It will likely take a year to complete after I get started. However, financially, it is actually something that will let me get licensed sooner than saving up for one of the more intensive school options...as I would need to save up for more than a year, due to my budget constraints.

Working as a ramp agent is unrelated, apart from gaining exposure to how an airport and an airline work. It's just how I pay the bills. I actually like it so far. I'd like to be able to jump into getting my certification as soon as possible, but it's just not possible. I'll focus on taking the patient route and biding my time and getting things done how I can. I'm going on 30 this year and, to be honest, I've not had much of a career other than serving in the military for 4 years. Other than that, I tried a lot of different jobs in different sectors and industries and traveled around in the world where I could while my budget held (I didn't get very far, though).

Now I feel I should have played a more conservative game in terms of my career, so in a way the impatience I feel is the big test for now. I have no doubts about my ability to learn anything I need to know. I know my work ethic as well. I love producing best results.

But aside from that, my religious life and church is the main priority, so ... in the midst of working while I must work, and saving what I must save, and waiting while I must wait, I am not sure if the dispatch life is the life for me. If you took me back to my early twenties when I didn't care about my relatives or my faith, and left my church for a while, this would be my dream job; but now I don't know, since the early part of this career trajectory seems to sacrifice the life schedule. It might interfere with my church life.

Even so, I'd like to take this time that I have over the course of this next year or so, to thoroughly investigate this career field and see if I can find God's will in it for me. Perhaps I will find some advice from those who have gone before me, on how to balance the lifestyle with church. I'll keep reading and see what I am able to learn in the meantime. Thanks to all who advise and guide. I kind of admire that. It's a good example for me to contemplate.
Zeph
Working the ramp gives you good operational experience. I also did that while going through a community college aircraft dispatcher program. It does take patience, but is well worth it in the long run.
I'm not sure how being an aircraft dispatcher would interfere with your religion other than the possibility of having to work Sundays. But that is certainly not unique to dispatching. I'm not religious myself, but know of several people at my work who are and it doesn't seem to be a problem for them.
Just keep working hard toward your goal and you'll get there.
 
Working the ramp gives you good operational experience. I also did that while going through a community college aircraft dispatcher program. It does take patience, but is well worth it in the long run.
I'm not sure how being an aircraft dispatcher would interfere with your religion other than the possibility of having to work Sundays. But that is certainly not unique to dispatching. I'm not religious myself, but know of several people at my work who are and it doesn't seem to be a problem for them.
Just keep working hard toward your goal and you'll get there.
Thanks for the words of encouragement.

How was it, going through the slower pace college route? I'm setting up a plan to study what I can on my own, but I'd love to get some advice on how to keep my studying active, especially while working full time.
 
Hello. Thanks for all the information. I have plenty to read while working as a ramp agent.

It is my first month in aviation altogether. The idea of building a career in performing the work of dispatching aircraft was one I stumbled onto while looking through a local college course catalog. It seems that there is an FAA approved testing center near me. The pace of the education is slow, since the college separates it into semesters. It will likely take a year to complete after I get started. However, financially, it is actually something that will let me get licensed sooner than saving up for one of the more intensive school options...as I would need to save up for more than a year, due to my budget constraints.

Working as a ramp agent is unrelated, apart from gaining exposure to how an airport and an airline work. It's just how I pay the bills. I actually like it so far. I'd like to be able to jump into getting my certification as soon as possible, but it's just not possible. I'll focus on taking the patient route and biding my time and getting things done how I can. I'm going on 30 this year and, to be honest, I've not had much of a career other than serving in the military for 4 years. Other than that, I tried a lot of different jobs in different sectors and industries and traveled around in the world where I could while my budget held (I didn't get very far, though).

Now I feel I should have played a more conservative game in terms of my career, so in a way the impatience I feel is the big test for now. I have no doubts about my ability to learn anything I need to know. I know my work ethic as well. I love producing best results.

But aside from that, my religious life and church is the main priority, so ... in the midst of working while I must work, and saving what I must save, and waiting while I must wait, I am not sure if the dispatch life is the life for me. If you took me back to my early twenties when I didn't care about my relatives or my faith, and left my church for a while, this would be my dream job; but now I don't know, since the early part of this career trajectory seems to sacrifice the life schedule. It might interfere with my church life.

Even so, I'd like to take this time that I have over the course of this next year or so, to thoroughly investigate this career field and see if I can find God's will in it for me. Perhaps I will find some advice from those who have gone before me, on how to balance the lifestyle with church. I'll keep reading and see what I am able to learn in the meantime. Thanks to all who advise and guide. I kind of admire that. It's a good example for me to contemplate.
Zeph
Someone always has to bring religion into it
 
Someone always has to bring religion into it
Yep. Going to church is my first priority, and not just on Sundays. Where I work as a ramp agent we also get our schedules based on seniority so I didn't get much choice with my current schedule. It isn't too bad, and I have ways to manage a balance, but the moment it becomes clear that sacrificing my schedule to the aviation industry is preventing me from my first priority, I'm prepared to quit and start all over in another industry.

I could learn about sports and world news, and latest entertainment, funny videos, pets, cars, outdoor adventures, festivals? I could talk about that stuff when it's casual, but in this thread about New Dispatcher FAQ, those would be off topic and although many of those who preceded me here have asked great questions that I also would have asked, none have talked about the problem I'm currently facing. In fact, other than the reply which encouraged me to keep going, the other dispatchers with whom I've had a similar talk all basically said the same things: "I'm not religious, I don't care about particular days or observe any holidays, I don't really know what it's like, you might have to make a hard choice" (and I'm summarizing).

If I knew how to ask the question better, I would ask it. As such, this is the best way I can. My religion is more important to me than even having a nice, sweet life. This career seems fun and like something I would have wanted to do when my priorities were different (good for a nice, sweet life). It does sound like it will interfere with my religious life, though.

Thus, my conflict.

Another thing I noticed, however, is that - through this thread - despite the general advice to gain experience at a regional airline as a career strategy, everyone's path in life is unique. They come from different places and take their own paths to other different places, and we simply cross each other's paths along the way. I imagine there's more than a storm or some bad weather to avoid in a life trajectory, for some.

I love blue skies, though; since I was a kid. I've lived in a handful of different places. I am familiar with how it feels to be living somewhere that isn't what you need. Your health falls apart. Then, unless you just want to hop around wherever you can all your life (never settling down), the place you live matters a ton.

In the end, it's up to me to decide, and my problem. I'm not preaching or proselytizing. I'm trying to learn more about the aircraft dispatching career as quickly as I can to see if I can still have a meaningful career in life, or if I should just swallow my pride and remain working in menial labor for minimum wage. It is all about religion for me. There's nothing else to talk about.
 
Yep. Going to church is my first priority, and not just on Sundays. Where I work as a ramp agent we also get our schedules based on seniority so I didn't get much choice with my current schedule. It isn't too bad, and I have ways to manage a balance, but the moment it becomes clear that sacrificing my schedule to the aviation industry is preventing me from my first priority, I'm prepared to quit and start all over in another industry.

I could learn about sports and world news, and latest entertainment, funny videos, pets, cars, outdoor adventures, festivals? I could talk about that stuff when it's casual, but in this thread about New Dispatcher FAQ, those would be off topic and although many of those who preceded me here have asked great questions that I also would have asked, none have talked about the problem I'm currently facing. In fact, other than the reply which encouraged me to keep going, the other dispatchers with whom I've had a similar talk all basically said the same things: "I'm not religious, I don't care about particular days or observe any holidays, I don't really know what it's like, you might have to make a hard choice" (and I'm summarizing).

If I knew how to ask the question better, I would ask it. As such, this is the best way I can. My religion is more important to me than even having a nice, sweet life. This career seems fun and like something I would have wanted to do when my priorities were different (good for a nice, sweet life). It does sound like it will interfere with my religious life, though.

Thus, my conflict.

Another thing I noticed, however, is that - through this thread - despite the general advice to gain experience at a regional airline as a career strategy, everyone's path in life is unique. They come from different places and take their own paths to other different places, and we simply cross each other's paths along the way. I imagine there's more than a storm or some bad weather to avoid in a life trajectory, for some.

I love blue skies, though; since I was a kid. I've lived in a handful of different places. I am familiar with how it feels to be living somewhere that isn't what you need. Your health falls apart. Then, unless you just want to hop around wherever you can all your life (never settling down), the place you live matters a ton.

In the end, it's up to me to decide, and my problem. I'm not preaching or proselytizing. I'm trying to learn more about the aircraft dispatching career as quickly as I can to see if I can still have a meaningful career in life, or if I should just swallow my pride and remain working in menial labor for minimum wage. It is all about religion for me. There's nothing else to talk about.
My 2 pieces of advice:

Obtaining the license will quickly pay for itself in this field, see if your airline has any kind of tuition reimbursement. Try to do a school that is mostly online with a week or 2 of in classroom. This will allow you to keep working at the same time without taking months off work.

If religion is that important to you I can almost guarantee this career path will not workout. As you said it’s all seniority based for scheduling so you may not work days or have weekends off for months if not years, depending on which airline you go to. On a more positive note, if you’re working nights you could still make church or whatever your other religious duties are during the day time.

Best of luck to ya
 
My 2 pieces of advice:

Obtaining the license will quickly pay for itself in this field, see if your airline has any kind of tuition reimbursement. Try to do a school that is mostly online with a week or 2 of in classroom. This will allow you to keep working at the same time without taking months off work.

If religion is that important to you I can almost guarantee this career path will not workout. As you said it’s all seniority based for scheduling so you may not work days or have weekends off for months if not years, depending on which airline you go to. On a more positive note, if you’re working nights you could still make church or whatever your other religious duties are during the day time.

Best of luck to ya
Yep. I've heard that, and I do get the basic gist of the situation. My risk tolerance is pretty high, though.

Thanks for the 2 pieces and the pessimism. I'm pretty pessimistic too, so I can relate.

Best of luck to you also.
 
Thanks for the words of encouragement.

How was it, going through the slower pace college route? I'm setting up a plan to study what I can on my own, but I'd love to get some advice on how to keep my studying active, especially while working full time.
When I was going to school, I was also working the ramp full time, and working as a part-time/volunteer firefighter and EMT as well as driving Uber when I could. I studied in my down time, at work and at home. Once I got near the end where I was preparing for the practical, I repeatedly practiced planning flights. It was time-consuming, but worth it.
 
If religion is that important to you I can almost guarantee this career path will not workout.

Best of luck to ya

A priest works for a major airline. If a priest can make this career work, anyone who is religious can as well.

Dispatch certification is a sizable investment in time and money. Its much better to ask the question then to say nothing and pay 5 grand for a certificate you find out afterwards that you cant put to good use because DoltDispatch is offended by the question.
 
Yep. Going to church is my first priority, and not just on Sundays. Where I work as a ramp agent we also get our schedules based on seniority so I didn't get much choice with my current schedule. It isn't too bad, and I have ways to manage a balance, but the moment it becomes clear that sacrificing my schedule to the aviation industry is preventing me from my first priority, I'm prepared to quit and start all over in another industry.

I could learn about sports and world news, and latest entertainment, funny videos, pets, cars, outdoor adventures, festivals? I could talk about that stuff when it's casual, but in this thread about New Dispatcher FAQ, those would be off topic and although many of those who preceded me here have asked great questions that I also would have asked, none have talked about the problem I'm currently facing. In fact, other than the reply which encouraged me to keep going, the other dispatchers with whom I've had a similar talk all basically said the same things: "I'm not religious, I don't care about particular days or observe any holidays, I don't really know what it's like, you might have to make a hard choice" (and I'm summarizing).

If I knew how to ask the question better, I would ask it. As such, this is the best way I can. My religion is more important to me than even having a nice, sweet life. This career seems fun and like something I would have wanted to do when my priorities were different (good for a nice, sweet life). It does sound like it will interfere with my religious life, though.

Thus, my conflict.

Another thing I noticed, however, is that - through this thread - despite the general advice to gain experience at a regional airline as a career strategy, everyone's path in life is unique. They come from different places and take their own paths to other different places, and we simply cross each other's paths along the way. I imagine there's more than a storm or some bad weather to avoid in a life trajectory, for some.

I love blue skies, though; since I was a kid. I've lived in a handful of different places. I am familiar with how it feels to be living somewhere that isn't what you need. Your health falls apart. Then, unless you just want to hop around wherever you can all your life (never settling down), the place you live matters a ton.

In the end, it's up to me to decide, and my problem. I'm not preaching or proselytizing. I'm trying to learn more about the aircraft dispatching career as quickly as I can to see if I can still have a meaningful career in life, or if I should just swallow my pride and remain working in menial labor for minimum wage. It is all about religion for me. There's nothing else to talk about.
When I was at my regional there was a guy who played with a band and needed as many Saturdays as well as other weekend days off as possible. He always seemed to find people to trade with. Granted I know Sundays aren’t the easiest day to get covered (if that’s what day you need), but it is possible. If you end up dispatching somewhere like Spirit or American every scheduled line has rotating consecutive days (4 on, 3-4 off) so you’re guaranteed full weekends off for quite a few weeks in a row, and then partial weekends in between. You’d only have to worry about trading off the rest, not every weekend all year long. Or whatever days it is you need. I believe DL and UA have certain rotating lines as well. I’m sure others do too.

Also there just happens to be a chief dispatcher at my airline who is in fact a reverend and has been there many years. Black coat, white collar and all. He has accomplished and juggled both tasks, and he emails the staff all the time offering an ear if needed, advocates nationally, and works with other organizations and charities as well. If he can do it, you can do it. If you’d like more info or advice on anything feel free to message.
 
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A priest works for a major airline. If a priest can make this career work, anyone who is religious can as well.
All religions are different though and some need more than just Sundays off. He said he needed more than Sunday as well. This career would not be compatible at all with the religion I was raised in. It depends on your level of devotion to the religion on what you will let slide and he seems very devoted.

I think people are blowing his statements off too easily. Almost everyone wants their weekends off and it is going to be hard to trade for them and especially when you are new your schedule almost certainly will be working weekends in the middle of the night at a regional with no rotating schedule.
 
All religions are different though and some need more than just Sundays off. He said he needed more than Sunday as well. This career would not be compatible at all with the religion I was raised in. It depends on your level of devotion to the religion on what you will let slide and he seems very devoted.

I think people are blowing his statements off too easily. Almost everyone wants their weekends off and it is going to be hard to trade for them and especially when you are new your schedule almost certainly will be working weekends in the middle of the night at a regional with no rotating schedule.
I do still keep that in mind but that's just the risk I'm willing to take with my money. To say it bluntly and more practically speaking, putting aside idealistic dreams, I don't really have a career alternative. No matter where else I go, I'll start as the local gopher and earn my way to better days.

That's because I didn't invest in a career, just varied experiences. So I earned my life situation that way. If I can't make it as a dispatcher it's just another loss. Or, If I can't find an opportunity I can keep applying. It might take years to get started but it's not going to present an opportunity cost, if you get what I'm saying.

I'll just focus on church and keep working somewhere else (probably not aviation related, unless I can hold onto the ramp position and gain seniority for a better schedule, which would be nicer than some minimum wage menial labor job).

But yeah, I think all the information so far has been helpful to piece together a bigger picture. I could get lucky. Or not.

I'll see how it goes.
 
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