From Cradle to Grave: How to get your FCC General Radio Operator License with Aircraft Maintainer


The whole process from start to finish

You’ve gotten this far and decided you want or need your General Radio Operator License, or FCC GROL. 

Here’s what to expect when you use Aircraft Maintainer’s Exam Prep Course.

Signing up – Who are you?

  • If you are a CIVILIAN 
    • You sign up online, and wait for an email/text from Aircraft Maintainer Customer Support, they will decide if you qualify for our Professional Trades Discount and instruct you how to make a payment. As soon as your payment is confirmed, Customer Support will email you instructions on how to access your study material.
  • If you are an ACTIVE-DUTY AIRMAN 
    • You sign up online. If you’re eligible for AF COOL, you’ll start the funding process first. After signing up, check your email for our Itemized Invoice and Credential Eligibility Form (click here if you need a new Cred Form). Using those two documents, you will head into AFVEC and create an Education Goal, which is kind of like asking your supervisor if you can take the course. Once they sign off on your goal, you’ll go back in and apply for funding by creating a Funding Request. Funding requests will require another supervisor signature, and head to the AFCOOL credentialing office for a second approval, and then the payment office for the final approval. Once AF COOL pays your tuition, you will receive an instructional email on how to register for the course and get access to your course material.
  • If you are an GUARD/RESERVIST
    • AFCOOL is a Total Force Enlisted program. It includes all enlisted AFSCs for RegAF, AFRES, and ANG. Funding will be provided for RegAF, AFRES, and ANG members on Title 10 or Title 32 (502F) active duty orders. Funding will not exceed a maximum of $4,500 per lifetime per Airman. If you are not on active orders, you will need to pay out of pocket for this course.
  • If you are an VETERAN
    • You are welcome to apply for our Veterans GROL Discount by emailing Your email will need to include a copy of your state-issued picture ID or passport, a selfie holding your ID, a military ID if you still have one, and a copy of your DD 214. We offer (2) two of these Veteran GROL discounts per month, and are first come, first served.


What happens next?

Once we receive your tuition payment, you will receive a course registration instructional email. It will give you step-by-step instructions on how to gain access to your study material.  This email contains a lot of important information, so please read it carefully in its entirety.  This email also contains your course enrollment key, which is the password to get into your course material.

Your course material is split into sections because the FCC GROL is comprised of three elements:

  • Element 1 is Basic Radio Law & Operating Practices
  • Element 3 is General Radiotelephone
  • Element 8 is the optional Ship RADAR Endorsement

Once you get access to the course you will begin studying. We offer three different ways to study: flashcards, a study guide, or a textbook study method. This course is meant to be exam prep only, so you’ll be studying actual exam questions. Think of it like a sprint rather than a leisurely walk.

The optional textbook study method is for anyone who needs to go into greater detail on any specific subject or learn something in context. At the end of each subsection/subelement, you will take open-note knowledge checks, which are small practice exams. You will then take a closed-note practice exam at the end of each element. You must pass your practice exams with an 80% or higher in order to schedule your online proctored final exam. You will automatically be redirected to schedule your final exam, which will take place over Zoom. A passing score is 75%. You will do this for Element 1, again for Element 3, and again for Element 8, should you choose to get your optional RADAR endorsement.

What happens after I pass my exams?

Once you pass your final exams we will gather your exam scores and file your application with the FCC.

Within 14 to 21 days of your last final exam you will receive an email from the FCC requesting an additional payment of $35 to gain access to your certification. This is a fee the FCC implemented in April of 2022, and is in addition to your tuition. When you receive this email, don’t procrastinate, as you only have 10 days to make the $35 payment. 

If you are a civilian, or anyone else who paid out-of-pocket, at this point you have completed your FCC GROL course and been awarded your license. You’re done!

A final Step for our Active-Duty Students

If you used AF COOL to cover the tuition for this course, your final step is to upload a copy of your license into AFVED. This is the only way to close out your Education Goal. AF COOL will request your grades and we will report a Pass of Fail at that time.

Where can I look up my license if i lose it?

The FCC website always keeps licenses on file. If you want to look up your license and print a simple Reference Copy, you can use the FCC Universal Licensing System. If you use this tool, click on Advanced Search and enter your Last Name, a comma and space, and then your First Name. That makes it pretty easy, unless you have your FRN (FCC Registration Number). Using your FRN is the quickest way to look up a license. 

If you want to print an official copy of your GROL, you have to log in to the FCC Website and print it from within your account. There are instructions on their site for this. 

Want to read about 12 great jobs you can have with an FCC General Radio Operator License? Click HERE 

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