Update: Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

“Under certain circumstances, exemption(s) may be granted from one or more subjects in an amateur operator examination if a person holds equivalent, or higher, qualifications covering the appropriate portion of the relevant amateur syllabus.”

From www.amc.edu.au

Historically, RPL was a pathway for individuals with suitable qualifications (such as a university qualification), or foreign nationals immigrating to Australia to obtain a credit for the Australian theory exam.

A little over two years ago a small group of Australian hams started using and actively promoting the RPL system as a pathway to an Australian callsign without sitting Australian exams.  It is a controversial process and many believed it undermined the integrity of the Australian examination system. 

This loophole allowed Australian citizens to use a foreign licencing system (the USA VE system) to obtain an Australian callsign.  Whilst the legalities of the matter are complex, the ethics are questionable. 

We note that in recent months AMC and ACMA have made some changes to the RPL process.

RPL fees are now $198 and RPL candidates may be required to complete an oral interview prior to approval of their foreign qualification.  We assume this change is to validate the candidate’s underlying knowledge of the Australian syllabus. 

From the AMC website:


Before arriving at a final decision, the appointed assessor may require the applicant to undergo an oral interview on all aspects of amateur radio theory, regulations and practical as part of the process of arriving at a formal determination.”

RASA believe this is a positive change in policy to protect the integrity of the Australian Licencing system.

As part of the RPL process, the candidate must also sit (and pay for) an Australian regulations exam (if they have not already completed the exam).

In conclusion: Prospective Australian amateurs should use the Australian examination system.  The Australian system is cheaper and much more streamlined than the convoluted and questionable VE arrangements.