Amateur radio license testing is conducted under the supervision of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (VEC's). Volunteer examiners (VEs) are Amateurs holding General, Advanced or Extra Class licenses who are approved by a VEC may prepare and administer amateur license examinations to applicants.
The examinations are given by teams of three qualified VEs who volunteer their time to help the amateur service grow. There are 14 FCC appointed VEC's, but almost 90% of all ham radio testing is conducted by only two of them, the ARRL-VEC and the W5YI-VEC. Ham testing is widely
available in all areas ...and in some foreign countries as well.
There is a small examination charge, currently $14.00 for 2016-2017, to administered the examinations necessary to obtain any of the 3 ham radio licenses. Many of the VEC organizations maintain permanent staff with brick and mortar offices and the exam fee goes to help cover the cost of administering exams and processing the paperwork and electronically filing the application with the FCC.
The VEs give examination credit (called a Certificate of Successful Completion of Examination or CSCE) for the license class currently held so that examinations already passed need not be repeated. Examination credit conferred by the CSCE is valid for one year. The VEs construct the written examinations from question pools that have been made public. It is the responsibility of the VEC's Question
Pool Committee (QPC) to develop and revise all of the question pools. Each of the 3 question pools are revised on a 4 year cycle period. The content of these question pools are available here. Helpful study guides and training courses are also widely available through the W5YI Group.