top of page
ham radio technician
  1. Study a few hours of Technician License radio topics with our quality course:

  2. Take a 35-question, multiple choice license exam:

    • Find an exam session in your local area:  Search for exam sessions here.

    • Correctly answer at least 26 of 35 multiple choice questions (74% score or better).

  3. Complete your FCC registration fee:

    • After the exam, receive an email from the FCC with online payment instructions.

    • Submit your $35 fee payment online to the FCC.

    • Look up your license and call sign when it appears in the FCC online database! (Typically, within 24 hours following completion of the fee payment.)

3 Steps to Get Your Ham Radio License:

You can get started earning your ham radio license today!

Getting Started in Ham Radio

get ham radio license
Tech Prep Website Image.PNG

Try Before You Buy!  Free!

Try the first two chapters of our online Technician License Course 2022-2026.   FREE!  Click the 'Try before you buy' button, select the Technician License Course, and then click the "Free Preview" option to sign up.
The free preview includes our ebook sections, video instruction, review summaries, quizzes, depth option media, and more.
If you like what you see and learn, you will love the rest of the course. 
Learn more about our online course.
Get more introductory details about ham radio in these recommended articles and in the FAQs below:
  • How do I earn a ham radio license?
    Earning the introductory FCC Technician amateur radio license is simple: you must pass an exam that consists of 35 multiple-choice questions. Exam sessions are held all over the U.S. each month. (Find an exam.) That's it! But, you will need to prepare for the examination. The Ham Radio School Technician License Course is specifically designed for this purpose, explaining all of the question pool items. It provides an integrated set of lessons including online reading material, video instruction, quizzes, practice exams, and more in a non-expiring subscription. The course also offers optional depth learning materials to expand your understanding of radio concepts beyond the exam and to help you get on the air quickly.
  • Why is a license required for ham radio?
    Unlike other personal radio services such as CB, GMRS, or FRS, the FCC Amateur Radio Service (ham radio) has fewer restrictions on the modification of antennas, transceivers, and on-air modulation techniques. This helps promote experimentation and innovation in the radio sciences. Further, ham radio allows operators to transmit up to 1.5 kilowatts of power -- significantly more than the single-digit wattage of those other personal radio services. As such, hams need to obtain basic competencies to ensure safety, to avoid on-air interference, to stay within FCC regulations, and to keep to the intended purposes of the Amateur Radio Service. The FCC license helps to ensure this.
  • Which ham license should I start with?
    The Technician license is the introductory license class for the Amateur Radio Service. It requires the least amount of technical comprehension of the three ham license levels (Technician, General, and Extra). Learn more about the differences between these three licenses in our article Tech, General, or Extra License... What's the Difference?
  • Where do I find study materials or courses?
    Visit our Technician Prep page to learn about our online Technician License Course or our print version study guide book. Both course formats (online course or book) cover every topic you may encounter on the license exam, and they follow identical sequencing. The online course includes an ebook version of the study guide, but adds video lessons, review summaries, quizzes, depth options, practice exams, and more. Try a free preview of either format course: - Technician Study Guide Try Before You Buy - Online Technician License Course
  • How hard is the Technician license material?
    The Technician license material requires only the most basic math (addition/subtraction, multiplication/division), and our study materials coach you in easy-to-remember ways of ensuring you calculate correctly. Basic electronics content is readily comprehended by anyone, including young teens and adults with no technical background. Similarly, only the most basic radio science comprehension is required along with common-sense operating rules and regs that our materials explain in simple terms. Practically anyone can earn the Technician license with a few hours of study.
  • What format are the exam questions in?
    All exam questions are 4-option multiple choice format, like this example: T1A02: Which agency regulates and enforces the rules for the Amateur Radio Service in the United States? A. FEMA B. Homeland Security C. The FCC D. All of these choices are correct Your Technician license exam will consist of 35 of these questions from a pool of over 400 questions. Our license preparation course explains all of the question pool items that you may see on your exam.
  • How are the exam questions determined?
    The exam questions come from a question pool of over 400 questions that are generated and published by the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC), a coordinated body of representatives from FCC-sanctioned organizations that issue Amateur Radio Service license exams. Each exam is a psuedo-random selection of 35 questions from the pool of questions for the Technician license. Each exam has a required number of questions for each of 10 topical areas, summing to 35 questions total.
  • How long will it take to receive my license after I pass the exam?
    Most Volunteer Examiner (VE) organizations submit your application for license quickly after exam success, and your license will show up on the FCC online database within a few days. Some organizations submit their results electronically to the FCC resulting in license issuance in as little as one day. Ask the team leader of your exam session for specific times and expectations. As of April 2022, the FCC requires payment of a licensing fee. Your license will be granted after payment of the fee, usually within about one day. After your VE team submits your license application, you will receive an email from the FCC about how to make the payment through the FCC website.
  • How much does it cost to take the exam?
    Each administering Volunteer Examiner (VE) organization sets its own policies regarding examination costs to applicants. Fees to applicants are allowed to help offset the expenses associated with providing exam services. Currently, some VE organizations charge a fee of about $15 per exam attempt. Other VE organizations charge no fees at all, requiring a sponsoring club to cover the expenses of the exams. In recent years the ARRL VEC and W5YI VEC exam teams charge a fee, while the Laurel VEC charges no fees. There are several other VECs in localized areas, so ask your exam session sponsor about their VEC policy on applicant fees. As of April 2022, the FCC charges a $35 licensing fee. Following the VE submission of your license application, the FCC will email you instructions for making this payment through their website. Your license is issued quickly after the completion of the fee payment, usually within one day.
  • How can I find an exam session in my area?
    Exam sessions are held all over the US each month. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) provides a convenient search engine -- just enter your zip code, a search radius, and click the search button.
  • Can I take the license exam online?
    The vast majority of exam sessions are held in-person only, so you will typically be required to show up at the exam location for the scheduled session. Some VECs do offer online exams in limited instances, but these sessions require particular setup procedures involving live monitoring cameras and other precautions to ensure exam security and integrity.
  • Are there ham radio clubs in my area that I can join to get more help from experienced hams?
    Very likely! The ARRL also provides a convenient search engine for radio clubs. Just enter your zip code and a search radius, then click search. You may find multiple clubs in your area -- go check them out and select the one that you like. Most clubs will welcome new hams warmly and offer to help you with your questions and your station setup. Get involved! You'll be glad you did.
  • Do I have to learn Morse Code to get a license?
    No. The Morse Code proficiency requirement for ham radio licenses was ended by the FCC in 2006. The only licensing requirement is successful completion of the multiple choice question examination -- at least 26 of 35 questions correctly answered from a question pool of over 400 questions.
Still Got Questions?

Drop us a note at the Contact Us page. We'll be happy to answer your questions and help you get started on the path to license exam success!

bottom of page