May 24, 2019
The requirements to be a dispatcher are pretty simple. Like almost all parts of aviation certification, you have to be able to read, speak, write and understand English. Pretty simple. You have to be 21 years of age to take the aircraft dispatcher FAA knowledge test, or as many people know it, “the written”. But the final requirement is a bit interesting. You have to be 23 years of age to be eligible for a dispatch certificate.
Why 23? The FAA considers the aircraft dispatch certificate the highest level of certification one can obtain without flying the aircraft. You have the same knowledge as the pilots of the aircraft that you are releasing and as such the FAA is holding you as a dispatcher to a very high standard.
In addition, you have operational control over that aircraft you just released. This means that you as a dispatcher have the ability to declare an emergency just like the pilot. You have a great deal of responsibility with that certificate, so much so the FAA can and will take it from you if it finds you in violation of the regulations.
Can I get my dispatch certificate if I am 21? Yes. You can sit for the written and practical test at 21, but you cannot exercise the full authority of the aircraft dispatch certificate until you are 23. Remember, there are many operators who are not required by regulation to have an FAA licensed dispatcher release aircraft, but do so anyway for safety reasons. These operators will hire aircraft dispatchers prior to the age of 23.
Utilizing a dispatch certificate is a big deal. The FAA has said so by requiring you to be 23 years of age. Think about it...you can obtain a private pilot certificate and take your friends for a flight at the age of 17, but you cannot dispatch an aircraft under 121 regulations until you are 23!
The reasons mentioned above are why the requirements to get an aircraft dispatcher certificate are so high. The 200 total hours of training in addition to the weeks if not months of company training is daunting, but it is worth it in the end.
Keywords: Dispatcher, FARs, Training, Certification, FAA, Violation