NOTE: The FCC began collecting $35 for new amateur radio licenses on April 19, 2022, in accordance with a law passed by Congress.
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.
In this article:
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 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, if you pass the Level 1 Technician License exam, many VECs will allow you to simply move on to the Level 2 General License exam 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 to avoid this retry fee.
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.
Cost of Study Materials: $35
We find that on average, most people will spend around $25 – $75 on study tools. A study tool is a good investment to help you study faster and more efficiently, and ensure that you pass.
- Ham Radio Prep’s online courses offer advantages such as videos, interactive quizzes, and being able to study on your phone. They are very inexpensive and jam-packed with content. Cost – $35
- ARRL Ham Radio License Manual – a real classic in ham radio that many hams like to keep around the shack. It’s not the fastest way to study, but it is very complete. Cost: $21.99 – $26.99
Some free options
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. If you’re looking to save some money, check out these free options:
- Ham Radio Prep offers free practice tests that you can take on your phone, tablet, or desktop.
- Ham Radio Prep offers a 100% FREE study app for both Android and iOS! This is great to take some practice tests and quizzes no matter where you are.
Ham Radio Prep also has a 100% off scholarship program for those who may be experiencing financial difficulties.
Cost of FCC license fees: $35
Total Cost For Technician License: $85
In summary, it’s going to cost you about $85 to get your Technician license. This is just an average – depending on your choice of study tools, you may be able to save a little money. The key is that you study right and pass the exam the first try so you do not have to pay the $15 exam fee multiple times.