Pursuing a Flight Dispatcher Career

sticknrudder

New Member
Hi:

I hold a private pilot license and am an avid aviation buff. While I am not currently working in the aviation industry (I work in IT), I still have the dream to work in the aviation industry. Lately, I have been giving thoughts to getting my Flight Dispatcher certificate and look at possibly changing careers to become a Flight Dispatcher. My concern - I am currently 50 years - and am wondering what the prospects are to get a job as a flight dispatcher at this point in my career life. Any thoughts would be most appreciated.
 

BigFellor

Well-Known Member
See this thread for some of my input:

http://forums.jetcareers.com/flight-control-dispatch/68597-dispatcher-pros-cons.html

If you are willing to take a significant pay cut, but you would REALLY enjoy and would much rather be dispatching, go for it. I THINK most regionals start at about $13/hr or so. Couldnt tell you off the top of my head what the caps are, but I know senior dispatchers for the majors or FedEx, UPS can make $80k or so.

Are you comfortable with a computer? And I dont mean "I have one at home and check my email once a month" comfortable. Be able to use it proficiently. I know, you say you are in IT, buuuuuut .... you wouldnt believe how many people have NO IDEA of the basics about computers (like how to type or find programs on the task bar ...)

Can you multi-task and focus on 4 or 5 different things at once? Slow (VFR) days its not a big deal, but when the weather is 1/2 - 1/4SM everywhere you are dispaching to and from, and the phones are ringing non-stop, and radio calls are coming in .... it can get nasty.

As said in previous posts, I love what I do. Its not what I want to do forever as I want to be flying, but I enjoy it. Most days there is soemthing different going on. Being 50 shouldnt limit you, so dont let it stop you.

I still have the dream to work in the aviation industry.
Yea ... well ... others would tell you to keep doing what you are doing if you enjoy it, fly for fun, and thats it. I can see their point. This industry isnt as dreamy as people think. After being at a regional for a while, I have ZERO desire to fly for one for longer than necessary.
 

mission_aviation

Well-Known Member
See this thread for some of my input:

http://forums.jetcareers.com/flight-control-dispatch/68597-dispatcher-pros-cons.html

If you are willing to take a significant pay cut, but you would REALLY enjoy and would much rather be dispatching, go for it. I THINK most regionals start at about $13/hr or so. Couldnt tell you off the top of my head what the caps are, but I know senior dispatchers for the majors or FedEx, UPS can make $80k or so.

Are you comfortable with a computer? And I dont mean "I have one at home and check my email once a month" comfortable. Be able to use it proficiently. I know, you say you are in IT, buuuuuut .... you wouldnt believe how many people have NO IDEA of the basics about computers (like how to type or find programs on the task bar ...)

Can you multi-task and focus on 4 or 5 different things at once? Slow (VFR) days its not a big deal, but when the weather is 1/2 - 1/4SM everywhere you are dispaching to and from, and the phones are ringing non-stop, and radio calls are coming in .... it can get nasty.

As said in previous posts, I love what I do. Its not what I want to do forever as I want to be flying, but I enjoy it. Most days there is soemthing different going on. Being 50 shouldnt limit you, so dont let it stop you.



Yea ... well ... others would tell you to keep doing what you are doing if you enjoy it, fly for fun, and thats it. I can see their point. This industry isnt as dreamy as people think. After being at a regional for a while, I have ZERO desire to fly for one for longer than necessary.
:yeahthat: Plus you have to relocate.

Goodluck
 

manniax

Well-met in the Ka-tet
Hi:

I hold a private pilot license and am an avid aviation buff. While I am not currently working in the aviation industry (I work in IT), I still have the dream to work in the aviation industry. Lately, I have been giving thoughts to getting my Flight Dispatcher certificate and look at possibly changing careers to become a Flight Dispatcher. My concern - I am currently 50 years - and am wondering what the prospects are to get a job as a flight dispatcher at this point in my career life. Any thoughts would be most appreciated.
I agree with everything BigFellor said...and, as someone else posted, that relocation is probably necessary once you get a job offer. As for your age, that should not prevent you from getting a job...however, it may make it hard to get hired by a major. It wouldn't make it impossible, just somewhat unlikely, since by the time you had the requisite experience a major would be looking for you'd be in your mid fifties at least....and you can make a decent living at a regional but you'll never get rich doing it (most regionals top out below $50/K year for dispatch, although supervisory positions may pay more, and there may be one or two regionals that pay slightly more.)

I am not trying to discourage you in any way, as I really like the job, and I liked a couple of the regionals I worked for (some of them are located in smaller cities which is nice if you like the area) but if a school says, YES, don't worry about your age, you'll be hired by a major within two years and on your way to big money! I would take their words with a grain of salt. In my case, getting to a major was greatly slowed by 9/11, but I had over ten years of regional experience before I made the jump.
 

69beers

Well-Known Member
I guess it all depends on what you consider a career to be at this point. How long do realistically anticipate working in a high-stress environment? You can absolutely get a license and a job. There is a very slim chance you can get the experience and move up as well. To be brutally honest with you it is possible at your age, but not probable, to get experience and be marketable to a major. It's just too late in the game for you to compete with someone who can give 30+ years to a major and live to tell about it. However, there is still money to be made in this gig....that is unless I took about a 45k cut and nobody told me yet. Regionals, charters, small remote operators and the likes could all pay a livable wage and give you the aviation fix you seek. If it's what you really want, more than money that is, then absolutely do it because it's a very satisfying job to me. Just be realistic with yourself and your family before you make the move.
 

Badis

Well-Known Member
Hi,
I would like to change careers and work in aviation. I am 40 years old, hold a PhD in Foreign Languages and have worked as a college professor for the last 8 years. I grew tired of my profession and hardly feel motivated anymore. I am fond of aviation careers and wanted to try my luck in airline dispatching. I found an online program (Airline Ground School) that's FAA approved (they claim). Should I make the move? I live in the Baltimore, MD area so plenty of aviation activity around.
Thank you.
 

Luigi

Well-Known Member
Hi,
I would like to change careers and work in aviation. I am 40 years old, hold a PhD in Foreign Languages and have worked as a college professor for the last 8 years. I grew tired of my profession and hardly feel motivated anymore. I am fond of aviation careers and wanted to try my luck in airline dispatching. I found an online program (Airline Ground School) that's FAA approved (they claim). Should I make the move? I live in the Baltimore, MD area so plenty of aviation activity around.
Thank you.
Do it, but go to a real school....oh and check this out first:

http://forums.jetcareers.com/threads/new-dispatcher-faq.194780/
 

Flagship_dxer

Legacy Airline Dispatcher
Hi,
I live in the Baltimore, MD area so plenty of aviation activity around.
Thank you.
If you want to work as a dispatcher for an airline, you will likely need to move. No airline has an operations center in Baltimore. Closest one would be Piedmont in SBY.
 

DispatcherSam

Well-Known Member
If you want to do it, do it. Don't let potential barriers hold you back. Just be prepared to either commute or relocate. You won't have much success if you stay put where you are
 

Badis

Well-Known Member
If you want to do it, do it. Don't let potential barriers hold you back. Just be prepared to either commute or relocate. You won't have much success if you stay put where you are
I sure want to do it, thanks. This may be a stupid question for you guys but I thought living in the Philadelphia/Baltimore/Washington region was ideal for an aviation career, isn't it?
 

Flagship_dxer

Legacy Airline Dispatcher
I sure want to do it, thanks. This may be a stupid question for you guys but I thought living in the Philadelphia/Baltimore/Washington region was ideal for an aviation career, isn't it?
See my previous post or the many links to other threads. The Mid Atlantic region is not very good place for an airline dispatch career. You will need to relocate or commute a long distance either by car or plane to work.
 

PugLife

Well-Known Member
You can only dispatch at their main operations center. Seeing lots of airports doesn't mean you can dispatch there.
 

3Green.

Well-Known Member
Hi,
I would like to change careers and work in aviation. I am 40 years old, hold a PhD in Foreign Languages and have worked as a college professor for the last 8 years. I grew tired of my profession and hardly feel motivated anymore. I am fond of aviation careers and wanted to try my luck in airline dispatching. I found an online program (Airline Ground School) that's FAA approved (they claim). Should I make the move? I live in the Baltimore, MD area so plenty of aviation activity around.
Thank you.
Rockwell Collins/ArincDirect is in Annapolis,MD and they do flight planning, flight following and International Flight Coordinating for part 91/135/DOD contracts. They do want a dispatch license but equivalent experience will help.
 

PlaneFan82

Well-Known Member
If you do not have any aviation experience, and the only thing you know about an airplane is that it has 2 engines, 2 wings, and it can fly long distances (by magic of course), I really recommend going to a school and doing the classroom time. You will get more out of your training and have a firmer understanding of the concepts. When getting started, also be prepared to take a pretty significant pay cut also. There are some threads at the top fo the dispatcher forum that can answer many of your questions.
 

Phil Schuyler

Well-Known Member
Hi:

I hold a private pilot license and am an avid aviation buff. While I am not currently working in the aviation industry (I work in IT), I still have the dream to work in the aviation industry. Lately, I have been giving thoughts to getting my Flight Dispatcher certificate and look at possibly changing careers to become a Flight Dispatcher. My concern - I am currently 50 years - and am wondering what the prospects are to get a job as a flight dispatcher at this point in my career life. Any thoughts would be most appreciated.
If you are willing to relocate or commute, your prospects of getting a job are excellent Entry level dispatcher jobs at regional airlines pay in the $13 to $14 per hour range. Overtime is typically paid at time and half, and if you are willing to work overtime, say, 1 shift per pay period, you could earn around $35000 to start.

If you have aspirations of working for a major airline, you'll need to get 2 to 3 year experience before you would start to be competitive.

With your background in IT, you might be able to work yourself into some kind of key user position for the dispatch software. Also, you might also want to consider finding an IT position for an airlines. I have friend who is some kind of IT engineer at United Airlines. If you can find that niche and scratch it, you get the best of both worlds: working in aviation, but not having to deal with the negatives that come with an aviation career (believe me, there are some).
 
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