In this article:
The simple answer: YES!
The FCC released a public notice on April 30, 2020 confirming that the ham radio license exam may be held remotely.
How it works
Ham radio license tests are administered by Volunteer Exam Coordinators (VECs) that are approved by the FCC to administer the exam. Some VECs offer remote testing, but many of them still do not.
There is some setup required with a webcam, a Zoom meeting, and possibly a qualified proctor – it all depends on which VEC you choose to administer your exam. Each VEC will have their own detailed requirements and instructions.
Before you get in touch with a VEC to try to schedule your exam, make sure you have studied for the exam and can easily score the 74% required to pass. If you’re not sure on where to get started check out our guide on how to get you ham radio license or take a free lesson.
Top clubs that offer ham radio license testing online:
1. PARC VE Testing
PARC Radio & Technology has been proctoring exams for many years prior to the Pandemic. When COVID struck, the group swung into overdrive to help our community continue to acquire licenses. PARC along with NEAR pioneered the approval of online exams with the ARRL. They provided over six thousand exams within the first year of online exams and are continuing to provide exams throughout the week with more exam times than any other team. They strive to provide an online experience that is as seamless as possible.
Their VE’s are located across the United States and are some of the most experienced radio operators you will meet. They will do everything they can to help make your exam experience a pleasant process. Please feel free to check out their website to see the steps and procedures.
2. Greater Los Angeles Amateur Radio Group VEC (GLAARG)
GLAARG has stepped up to the plate and is now offering remote tests with much success. Some of our students have reported successful results and a good experience with the GLAARG team.
Take a free 5-minute lesson to take the first step to getting licensed.
3. Last Frontier VEC
The Last Frontier Volunteer Examiner Club is based in Fairbanks, Alaska with a very sound mission. Our mission is “…to serve the amateur radio community throughout Alaska and beyond with honesty, integrity, sound leadership, compassion and respect in the act of selfless service to anyone, regardless of physical location.” We are fully governed by Alaskans and have examiners in the Lower 48 as well. Currently offering exams twice per week, we are more than willing to provide the best service to anyone, anywhere. We’re honored to serve you!
License Testing Page (General Info): https://lfars.net/license_testing.htm
Fully Remote Testing Page: https://lfars.net/fully-remote-testing.htm
Take a look at our testimonials, here: https://lfars.net/testimonials.htm
4. New England Amateur Radio (NEAR)
New England Amateur Radio (NEAR) recently showed up on a radar – and some students are raving about their experience testing with NEAR. They do not require a proctor and follow a process similar to GLAARG. Before getting started, make sure to check out their rules and protocols.
5. Anchorage Alaska VEC
The Anchorage Alaska Amateur Radio Club is the VEC that has offered the ham radio test completely online for the longest amount of time. In addition to their exam software and logistics, they also work hard to maintain the integrity of the testing system.
6. Aurora Amateur Radio Group (AARG)
The Aurora Amateur Radio Group offers remote examinations to anyone in an environment where a group of dedicated volunteers are proud to serve. To serve America’s under served through compassion, leadership, professionalism and integration of 21st century technological innovation are things we strive for.
We are more than glad to help anyone that wants to be treated like family and leave with a smile! Take some time and read our testimonials page. Feel free to check us out. You will not be disappointed!
Exam Testimonials: https://aarg.club/?page_id=132
Remote Testing Page: https://aarg.club/?page_id=14
Should you consider taking the exam in-person?
Let’s be honest – there is a lot of setup required to take the exam 100% online and remotely. It’s worth at least considering taking the exam in per person. And the truth is that it is a good opportunity to meet local club members that you may even make contact with on the local repeater.
Search with ARRL, and just use your zip code for best search results. Get in touch with the local club and see if they can accommodate your situation.