How Much Does It Cost To Get Your Ham Radio License?​

Ham Radio License Cost

We are often asked how much it costs to get your ham radio license, and it really depends. It all comes down to study preference and whether or not you’ll sit for more than one exam on test day. In this article we’ll explain all the costs and options, so you know exactly how much you’re going to end up paying.

Let’s break down your options to see how much it will cost for you.

Cost to Take the Exam: $15

This cost is pretty much unavoidable. You are basically paying to print the exams and for the time of the volunteers. The exam is usually in-person, just like most licenses like your Driver’s License, Concealed Carry, etc. etc. The volunteers who administer the exam also use whatever is left of the fees to continue advancing ham radio, so it’s a good cause anyway. The easiest way to register for the in-person exam is with the ARRL. These local radio clubs administer exams for $15, and you can save money by taking multiple exams in the same sitting! For example, you pass the level 1 exam (Technician License), you could simply move on to level 2 (General License) at no extra charge. Another important note: most exam locations will charge you $15 per attempt if you fail the exam and want to try again. Make sure that you’re achieving at least a 74% on your practice exams before attending an in-person so you can avoid having to pay for multiple attempts should you fail the first try.

It is now 100% possible to take the exam completely online. Similarly to an in-person exam, the examiners usually charge a small fee for the exam, between $5 – $15. Check out our guide on remote testing options to learn more.

Study Materials: $25

Remember, there are a lot of free study tools out there. You do not HAVE to pay to study for the exam. This is just a preference. We find that on average, most people will spend around $15 – $30 on study tools. However, if you choose to just utilize free study materials, you may save money in the short term, but you risk failing the exam and having to pay $15 to retake the test. Most people decide to make the investment in a study tool to ensure that they do not fail the exam. You also have to consider the costs of using more premium study options like Ham Radio Prep (see Pricing) that assist folks in studying for their exam and come with a money-back guarantee. An online course like Ham Radio Prep also offers advantages of multimedia like videos, interactive quizzes, and being able to study on your phone. If you want to have a book in hand, check out the No-Nonsense guides by KB6NU for a little less than $20 paperback.

Some free options

Ham Radio Prep offers a 100% FREE study app for Android! This is great to take some practice tests and quizzes no matter where you are. You can also check out HamStudy.org, who has free online materials. However, you have to pay for the HamStudy app.

We believe our online courses offer the most complete way to study and take practice tests, and they’re easy to use and access. However, if you’re looking to save some money or maybe just want a paperback book, you could possibly save some money with another option.

Total Cost For Technician License: $40

In summary, it’s going to cost you about $40 to get your Technician license, and if you take General at the same time and bought the bundle deal, you could get both licenses for a total of $50 (with study materials and the in-person exam included). This is just an average – depending on your study tools, you may be able to save a little money. The key is that you want to make sure you will pass the exam the first try so you do not have to pay the $15 again.

Happy studying!