Radio Technician Examination
The current APCO Institute Radio Technician Examination covers the material that a 2-way Radio Technician working in the communications center and the field should know. The major areas of concern are FCC Regulations, Basic Electronics, and Special Issues that are encountered in public safety communications. The breakdown of the examination is 30% Regulatory, 40% Basic Electronics, and 30% Special Issues-related.
The examination is for working technicians, not engineers, and covers troubleshooting rather than design. This examination is only applicable to radio technicians, not computer, audio-visual or consumer technicians. In general, it covers the same type of material that the FCC formerly covered in the Second Class Radiotelephone License Examination, with less emphasis on design and engineering, and more on troubleshooting.
This is an online, open book, timed examination. There is a 3-hour time limit to complete the 50 questions. It is pass-fail, with a score of 80% correct answers (40 out of 50) to pass. It is best to use a broadband connection to prevent disconnections due to connection timeouts.
The examination is available 24 hours a day once you register and payment is received. You must take the exam within two days of receiving the examination key. If you are not able to do this, APCO Institute must be contacted so that a different examination key may be issued. You are allowed to take the complete examination twice during this two-day period and are notified immediately about pass/fail for each attempt. If the examination needs to be taken again, there must be a minimum of three weeks between attempts and a new registration fee will be required.
All of the questions in the examination were taken from one of three sources:
FCC Rules and Regulations as posted on the FCC website
ARRL Handbook (various years)
Electronic Communications, 6th Edition, McGraw-Hill, by Robert L. Shrader
The examination is specifically designed that an experienced technician should be able to pass with less than a full day of serious review of formulae and the basics. A newcomer to the field should require several weeks study with the above-mentioned texts.
The APCO Institute Radio Technician Certificate is valid for a period of five (5) years. Any holder of an APCO Institute Radio Technician Certificate is allowed to renew provided the holder meets the recertification requirements and the appropriate recertification fee is paid. Technicians working in the field with appropriate credentials and work history will be allowed to renew without re-testing. Appropriate work history consists of working in the field of Public Safety Radio Technician for eighteen (18) consecutive months prior to the expiration of the certificate or for a total of thirty (30) months over the five (5) year period. Those not employed in the field will be required to retake the examination.
Recertification Fee: $30
All dates and prices are tentative and subject to change. Web registration does not include web access fees or other local internet/web-related costs.