||Anyone can become a ham except representatives of foreign governments. There are no age restrictions. If you can pass the written tests, you can be a licensed ham operator. There have even been 6 year old ham operators. The entry level license is the Technician Class license. That license class began in 1991 and now has the largest number of participants. To become a Technician Class operator, you need only pass one very simple (35 question) multiple choice written tests (Exam Element 2) to obtain your FCC license.
Until April 15, 2000, there were six classes of Amateur Radio operator license, each authorizing varying levels of privileges by passing written exams and or a 5, 13 or 20 WPM Morse code test.
As of April 15, 200 there are only three, Technician, General and Amateur Extra Class and Morse code exams were reduced to a single 5 WPM Element 1 exam for General and Extra.
Then effective February 23, 2007 the FCC removed all testing requirements for Morse Code for all classes of licenses.
The written examinations are comprised of questions taken from the various question pools.
Technician Class Question Pool, effective July 1, 2010, valid until June 30, 2014
General Class Question Pool, effective July 1, 2011, valid until June 30, 2015
Extra Class Question Pool, effective July 1, 2008 valid until June 30, 2012
The class for which each applicant is qualified is determined by the degree of skill and knowledge of operating a station that the applicant demonstrates by passing a license examination before a team of three volunteer examiners (VEs).. New amateur operators start at the Technician class and then advance to the General Class ...and to the top-of-the ladder Amateur Extra Class. The beginning study material may be found here.