What are the steps for getting your first amateur radio license?
Start by taking an online test for the Technician license. It is easy and free. You will probably do better than you expect. After the test, note the areas that you need to study. hamstudy.org and hamexam.org are free sites with practice tests. You only need a C (75% correct) to pass.
Now that you know what to study, get a study buddy, get some study materials, or best, both. The No Nonsense Technician-Class License Study Guide by Dan Romanchik (KB6NU) is free as a PDF and is exactly what it says. Study the sections where you are having trouble and keep taking practice tests until you are happy with your scores. Download it from the KB6NU study guide page.
Take a break from your studying to find a license test session. That will give you a deadline. Use the ARRL license exam session search to find a session.
The FCC charges $35 for the license. There may be some additional cost to cover the expenses of the exam session. You can take tests for all of the license levels at one session, so go ahead and take the test for General. You might pass!
After that, find a mentor to help you get on the air. In amateur radio, we call these people an “Elmer”. Use the ARRL club search page to find one near you. On the Web, try the Amateur Radio Elmers Facebook group.
Choosing a radio? That is a different post.