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How to Get an FCC Radiotelephone Operator License

Updated on January 25, 2012

The FCC requires a license to operate and maintain certain types of radiotelephones. There is a general and restricted license (permit), and an exam is required to get an FCC radiotelephone operator license. There are also several other types of FCC commercial operator licenses.

General Radiotelephone Operator License:

This permit allows the holder to adjust, maintain, and repair radiotelephone transmitters licensed by the FCC. It applies to maritime, aviation, and international fixed public radio services.

Only citizens, legal residents, or those with a US work visa can get this particular license. The operator must also be able to speak and understand English for radio communications.

Two elements of a written exam must be passed to become a general radiotelephone operator. The first element is basic radio law and basic maritime radio practices. The second element is electronic fundamentals and techniques.

Other licenses required by the FCC are not listed here in this article, but you can find the relevant information by using the instructions below.

Filing Requirements:

Form 605 is the general application form for radiotelephone and other operator licenses issued by the Federal Communications Commission. You can access the "Forms" page in the Resources below to find this permit application.

Tip: There is an Examination Question Pools page on the Federal Communications Commission website. Use that to study for the elements that apply to the license you are trying to obtain. Use the "Commercial Operator License Exams" page linked to below to find out which elements you have to pass to get your desired radiotelephone operator license with the FCC.

When you are ready, there are commercial testing agencies that you go to to actually take the test. Some of them can also submit your scores for you to make the processing of your operator license easier. The fees vary greatly by testing provider but range from about $25 to $75 per element. Use the "Testing Managers" page to access the list of testing agencies.


FCC: Examination Question Pools

FCC: Commercial Operator License Exams (And Elements Required for Each Permit Type)


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