A ham radio class is designed to prepare students for the ham radio licensing test. This class will usually cover material a student needs to know in order to pass the examination, such as proper operation techniques, safety, unit components and unit set-up. The ham radio class may be in a classroom environment or via the Internet and usually lasts around three hours per session. Some instructors may also offer private lessons.
There are three basic levels of ham radio operator: technician, general and master. A ham radio class will typically be divided by skill level to adequately prepare students to take the examination they need. Courses that prepare trainees for taking the technician test will generally contain fewer sessions than classes offered to those seeking a master rating.
A technician training class usually offers a background in safety, proper ham radio operations and a background in electricity and radio waves. A general training class may offer instruction in the set-up of a ham radio station and antenna. The master course might cover radio transmissions and satellites. An instructor should ideally have at least the same or higher level of ham radio license than the course he is teaching.
Students may also be introduced to the ham radio and learn the components and general operations. They may observe their instructor or another licensed individual talking on the radio. In the United States, a person who does not have a ham radio operator's license will not be allowed to talk on the radio per Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules.
Sometimes the classes are offered in online training sessions, conducted via web conference. It might also be presented as a slide show or video that a user can go through at his own pace. These online courses will usually have quizzes that cover various topics or a final test to make sure students understand the material. A trainee may receive a certificate of completion for this course, which is not the same as a ham radio license. The questions given in the practice examinations are, however, usually very similar to those on the actual ham radio operator test.
It is not necessary to attend a ham radio class in order to receive a license to operate this radio. Many people find it is easier to pass the test after taking courses to help them prepare. It may also be a good way to keep someone focused toward their goal of acquiring a ham radio license.