I am a 15 year old ham, and just got my Extra class. I was really bummed when I figured out I needed to be 18 to be a Volunteer Examiner administer. Why do they make that rule?

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    $\begingroup$ The obvious answer is that you have to smoke while administering the exams. $\endgroup$
    – W5VO
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 5:00
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    $\begingroup$ What is the age in your legal jurisdiction at which you are allowed to sign binding legal documents (without ones parents involvement)? Do VE's have to sign off on test results or procedures? That may have something to do with the answer to your question, but IANAL. $\endgroup$
    – hotpaw2
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 5:23
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    $\begingroup$ I guess from your question history and the reference to Extra class license that you are asking about the USA. Really, though, please strive to make such things explicit in the question, in tags or the question text; it makes life easier for everybody, particularly those who are not intimitely familiar with the US licensing system and requirements. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 8:12
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    $\begingroup$ Also, please avoid creating short tag names; see e.g. Tags: “Handheld”, “HT”, or both?, Should we use short or long tags for regional/country tags? and to a somewhat lesser extent What should our general opinion be on jargon?. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


Congress sets the rules the FCC has to follow, and the rule in particular requiring an age limit is Title 47, Volume 5, Part 97, Subpart F:

§ 97.509 Administering VE requirements.
(b) Each administering VE must:
(2) Be at least 18 years of age;

It would take an act of Congress to change this rule. I haven't discovered the reason for this rule, but if you look through the amendments to Part 97 over time you may be able to discover which congress made the change, and reading the congressional record may indicate why.

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    $\begingroup$ You presume congress needs a reason to make rules (or not make them, as is sometimes the problem). $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2014 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps because 18 years is the "age of majority" in the US. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_majority $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ While I have no documents to back up this claim, I have to wonder if fact that 18 and up makes you an adult under the USA legal system and therefore subject to more harsh penalties under the law if convicted. There was a great deal of concern that the VEC system would not adequately test applicants. As it is there are restrictions such as a VE not be able to administer tests to relatives. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Commented Jan 13, 2020 at 18:44
  • $\begingroup$ This answer is basically "why do you have to be 18? because that's the rules!" — but the question is really "Why did they make that the rule?" And I could be wrong, but I don't think it's accurate in its details of how the Title 47 rules are set/changed either: ham.stackexchange.com/q/16042/1362 $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 19:20

The licence is a legal document.. A binding contract. A person has to be 18 to sign a binding legal contract. Very valid reasons.

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    $\begingroup$ The license is issued by the FCC, not the VE. The VE(s) simply administer the exam and certify the results. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 30, 2014 at 13:13

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