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Radio Technician Examination

For two-way radio technicians working in a comm center.

The APCO Institute offers the Radio Technician Examination for radio technicians working in the field or in a communications center. The exam focuses on troubleshooting rather than design, and is not available to engineers or computer, audio-visual or consumer technicians. It covers material that a two-way radio technician working in a emergency communications center should know. It is an online, open book, timed examination.

In general, it covers the same type of material that the Federal Communications Commission formerly covered in the Second Class Radiotelephone License Examination, but with a greater emphasis on troubleshooting rather than on design and engineering. The exam’s major areas of emphasis are: FCC Regulations (30%); Basic Electronics (40%) and; Special Issues that are encountered in public safety communications (30%).

There is a three-hour time limit to complete the exam’s 50 questions. It is pass-fail, with a score of 80% (40 out of 50 questions answered correctly) required to pass.


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 so 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 plan to spend several weeks studying using the resources listed above.


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.