NRE : How Commercial Exams are handled

Due to budgetary constraints, the Federal Communications Commission adopted new Part 13 rules privatizing the administration of commercial radio operator license examinations effective March 29, 1993. The responsibility for Commercial Radio Operator examinations was also transferred from the Field Operations Bureau (FOB) to the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau. The FOB was renamed the Compliance and Information Bureau .

Commercial radio operator testing is now directed by private groups known as Commercial Operator Licensing Examination Managers (COLEMs.) Eight COLEMs, the commercial counterpart of the Amateur Service's VEC, have been certified and have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the government in much the same manner as VECs (Volunteer Examiner Coordinators.) The Commercial Radio Operator examination program is patterned after the very successful VEC System in the Amateur Service.

The first group to be chosen as a Commercial Operator License Examination Manager was the National Radio Examiners., .NRE is now the largest examiner for Commercial Radio Operator licenses. NRE provides examinations utilizing both licensed Commercial and Amateur Extra Class radio operators as Registered Examiners. Examination fee was $35 - the same amount that the FCC had been charging when they administered the Commercial Radio Operator examinations.As of January 1, 2010 the exam fee was increased to $50 minimum per sitting for the first 2 elements taken + $25 for each additional element.

On September 2, 1993, the FCC began issuing pools of multiple-choice questions from which all commercial radio operator examinations would be selected. These pools have since been updated with new questions. The contents of all question pools - including the correct answers - is public information.