Flight Dispatcher

Flight dispatchers are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and work with pilots to determine a flight plan. They are in charge of selecting the safest and most efficient route taking into account factors such as the weather and air traffic control regulations. They also use the weight of the flight to determine what the fuel load and flight altitude should be. Once the flight takes off they track its progress until it lands safely. If there are any problems during the flight the aircraft dispatcher assists the crew and makes decisions that make a safe landing possible. According to the website www.thehighschoolgraduate.com a flight dispatcher is considered “the captain on the ground.” All major airlines are required by the FAA to have a dispatcher assigned to each flight but a dispatcher can be in charge of as many as three to five flights at any given time. Job prospects for flight dispatchers are good because airlines find that having them make a flight plan prior to takeoff saves pilots and copilots from this time-consuming task. Although a college degree is not a requirement for this career it can make applicants more competitive. Some schools offer two-year degree programs in Aviation Technology that cover air traffic control and aircraft dispatch. In general however becoming a dispatcher requires at least six months of full-time training during which the candidate learns about commercial aircraft meteorology navigation air traffic control and mechanical information. Following the training the candidate must pass an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) exam which consist of oral and written parts and is similar to exams taken by airline pilots. The website www.payscale.com says that flight dispatchers earn an annual salary that is between approximately $33000 and $62000.

Education Required: Associate's Degree
Avg Salary: $47500
High Salary: $62000
Low Salary: $33000
Tasks: Tracks the progress of flights.
Responsible for the safe departure and arrival of flights.
Determines the safest routes for aircraft.
Monitors one or more flights at a time.
Also Called: Flight Planner
Air Traffic Controller
Flight Monitor
Airplane Dispatcher
Additional Resources: http://www.thehighschoolgraduate.com/editorial/CD/flight_dispatcher_careers.htm
http://www.instruction.greenriver.edu/aviation/aircraft_dispatch.html
http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Flight_Dispatcher/Salary