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Qualifications to operate amateur radio

You need to be qualified to operate amateur radio. We manage the process.

From 19 February 2024, ACMA recognition certificates (or equivalent) will be a required qualification for amateur radio operators. 

You can apply for an ACMA recognition certificate if you:

  • pass an amateur radio exam, or
  • we have recognised your previous experience through a recognition of prior learning process.

Types of qualifications

ACMA recognition certificates

There are 3 levels of qualification: 

  • ACMA recognition certificate (Foundation): the basic level for a person who wants to use amateur radio. 
  • ACMA recognition certificate (Standard): requires an intermediate knowledge of amateur radiocommunications.
  • ACMA recognition certificate (Advanced): requires a complex knowledge of amateur radiocommunications.

Qualification levels reflect the difficulty of the subject matter. Higher levels allow more operating privileges, such as access to more frequency bands and higher transmission power.

Information about the 3 levels of amateur radio qualifications is in the Amateur radio qualification framework.

Previous Australian amateur radio qualifications 

If you already have an Australian amateur radio qualification that we have recognised as equivalent, such as an Amateur Operator’s Certificate of Proficiency (AOCP), you can operate under the class licence with your existing qualification.

Tables 1 and 2 in the qualification framework document list the existing qualifications that are recognised as equivalent to an ACMA recognition certificate.

How to get a qualification

Sit an exam with an accredited assessor

You can sit an exam with an accredited assessor. Accredited assessors are qualified and experienced amateur operators. They will arrange a time and location for your exam with you. 

It is free to sit an exam with an accredited assessor. 

The amateur radio exam has 3 components:

  • theoretical
  • regulatory
  • practical.

To pass the theoretical and regulatory components, you must achieve a mark of at least 70%. 

To pass the practical component, the accredited assessor must be satisfied of your competency in the areas in the syllabus.

To get an ACMA recognition certificate by sitting an exam, you need to:

  1. understand amateur operating procedures
  2. download the syllabus for the recognition certificate you want (see below)
  3. organise an exam with an accredited assessor
  4. pass the exam
  5. apply for your qualification.

If you pass the exam, the accredited assessor will lodge your result. If you pass, we will invite you to apply for an ACMA recognition certificate. 

The quickest and easiest way to apply is to log in to the ACMA Assist portal to complete the application form and pay the application fee. You can also download and complete an application form.

If you need assistance, please contact the Customer Service Centre.

Undertake a recognition of prior learning assessment 

If you have a qualification that you think is equivalent, such as an overseas amateur radio qualification, you can also sit an assessment with us to have your prior learning recognised. 

If we assess that your qualification is equivalent to an ACMA recognition certificate, we can exempt you from doing an exam or some components of an exam. The Amateur radio qualification framework outlines the possible outcomes of a recognition of prior learning assessment. 

You will need to apply for a recognition of prior learning assessment and pay the application fee.

Alternatively, you can sit an amateur radio exam with an accredited assessor for free.

Amateur radio procedures and syllabus

The syllabus for each qualification outlines the topics you need to learn and will be examined on. They also contain exam information.

The syllabus for the ACMA recognition certificate (Advanced) has been developed to meet the requirements of a Harmonised Amateur Radio Examination Certificate (HAREC) (European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) Recommendation T/R 61-02).

Overseas qualifications

Read more about international arrangements.

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