How to become a flight dispatcher

Updated February 21, 2017

A flight dispatcher has significant control over airline flights. The flight dispatcher is responsible for all phases of a particular flight--from planning to landing. In fact, a plane cannot depart an airport without the approval of the flight dispatcher. Given the importance of this position, it takes a desire for challenges, concentration and determination to become a flight dispatcher.

Take a private pilot ground training course. Make sure the course is at an approved flight school.

Find a flight dispatcher school. Verify that the prospective school is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (see Resources below).

Enroll in the training program, which includes courses in flight operations, international flight planning, navigation and takeoff and landing.

Practice for the certification exams. Many programs provide practice testing as part of their curriculum.

Pass the flight dispatcher FAA written, oral and practical certification exams to become a flight dispatcher.

Realize that certified flight dispatchers need to complete continuous training every year to perform their duties effectively.


Once a flight dispatcher puts together a flight plan, the captain modifies or signs it. The plan is then considered a contract between the dispatcher and the pilot. A flight dispatcher, as does any professional, can benefit from the support and information provided by a professional organization, such as the Airline Dispatchers Federation (see Resources below). A flight dispatcher is the pilots' main source of information once a plane is airborne. The dispatcher can provide everything from weather information to sports scores. Because of safety concerns, flight dispatchers also work with ground crews, fuel technicians and others to ensure the safety of a flight.


Flight dispatcher training can be very expensive. Many schools, however, do provide financial aid. Although a flight or aviation background is not required, it may be advantageous when competing against others for employment. A person must be at least 23 years old to be a flight dispatcher. Although the Federal Aviation Administration certifies flight dispatchers, they do not provide employment opportunities. Airline dispatchers must be able to speak fluent English. The flight dispatcher's work schedule tends to vary. He will not work for more than 10 hours at a time, but could work four 10-hour days in a row.

Things You'll Need

  • Federal Aviation Administration certificate
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