Are you a manufacturer or seller of electronic devices? Then you’ve probably heard about the FCC Certificate.
You’ve probably also asked, “What is an FCC Certificate?”.
I’ve worked in the technology industry for years. When it comes to FCC Certificates, I have plenty of experience.
Over the years, I’ve seen many people struggle to understand what they are and why they’re essential.
That’s why I’m here today to help shed some light on this relatively complex topic.
What is an FCC Certificate? What does it do for you, and why should you care? Let’s take a closer look!
What Does it Mean to be FCC Certified?
The FCC (Federal Communications Commision) is a government agency that regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.
- The FCC has established technical standards for electronic devices that emit radio frequency energy to protect the public from harmful interference.
- These standards ensure that electronic devices do not interfere with each other or authorized communications.
An FCC certificate is proof that a product is tested and certified to comply with the FCC’s technical standards.
So What Does This Mean For You?
Having an FCC Certificate means that, as a manufacturer, you have demonstrated compliance with FCC regulations and can legally sell your products in the United States.
For buyers, this provides peace of mind that a reliable third-party organization has tested and approved the product.
Why is FCC Certification Required?
FCC Certification is required for manufacturers and sellers of electronic devices because it helps protect the public from potential interference and ensures that their products meet established technical standards.
Here are some reasons why FCC Certification is essential:
- It ensures that the product does not interfere with authorized communications or other electronic devices.
- It provides a reliable third-party verification of the product’s compliance with FCC regulations.
- It protects consumers by ensuring the product is safe and will function as intended.
- It gives buyers confidence in the quality of their purchase.
- It helps manufacturers stay competitive in the marketplace by assisting them to ensure that their products meet applicable standards.
FCC Certification Requirements
To obtain FCC certification for your product, you must demonstrate that it meets the technical standards set by the FCC.
- Testing your device to make sure it does not interfere with other electronic devices or communications
- Ensuring that all required labels and markings are appropriately placed on the device
- Providing a detailed description of the product, including diagrams and schematics
- Submitting all required documents to the FCC
- Providing a representative sample of your device for further testing by the FCC.
Once you have obtained FCC certification, you must display the relevant logo on your products and packaging to legally sell your product in the United States.
How Much Does an FCC Certification Cost?
The exact cost of an FCC Certification depends on various factors, such as the complexity of your product and the type of testing required.
In most cases, however, you can expect to pay between $3,000-$5,000 for FCC certification.
How Do You Get an FCC Certificate?
Now that you understand an FCC Certificate, you may wonder how to get one.
Let’s look at the steps you’ll need to take.
Step 1: Learn About What Frequencies are Open to Your Equipment
Before you apply, it is essential to know what frequencies are available for your gadgets.
Start by researching FCC’s current guidelines on radio spectrum allocation.
You will also want to assess:
- Radio range
- Power consumption
- And optimization factors
Understanding these parameters beforehand can help make your FCC Certificate application more successful the first time around.
Step 2: Development Testing
Testing your product during its development can save time and money when trying to get an FCC Certificate.
Pre-compliance tests aren’t official, but they will help you catch potential issues and make necessary adjustments before the FCC review.
Development testing helps you get your FCC Certificate without any complications.
Step 3: Register with the FCC
Before you take your FCC tests, you need a (free) FCC Registration Number (FRN).
To obtain this, head to the FCC’s CORES page and provide your business address and contact information.
After that, you’ll receive your FRN and can request a mandatory grantee code.
Step 4: Select a Test Lab
Once you have obtained your grantee code, it’s time to choose a test lab.
Choose an accredited, third-party lab to conduct your test. You can find these labs through the Accreditation Bodies page on the FCC website.
Step 5: Test for Compliance
Once you’ve selected your test lab, you can ship your product off for testing!
You don’t have to be present for the tests, but being there can ensure clear communication between yourself and the lab if anything goes wrong.
What happens during the test?
- Experts measure your device’s R.F. output and ensure it matches the FCC’s guidelines for acceptable radiation levels.
- If you pass the test, congratulations! Your product keeps radiofrequency radiation within a safe level.
If you fail – don’t despair: Keep working on your product until it’s eligible for the FCC stamp of approval.
Step 6: Certification & Filing
Once you’ve passed, an FCC-approved TCB (Telecommunications Certification Body) will double-check all your documentation and issue your FCC Certificate stamped with approval.
Congratulations! You now have the legal right to sell your product in the U.S.
- The FCC will list you and your product on their public database of authorized products.
- Once you’re official, the FCC will send you a Grant of Equipment Authorization -further proof of your FCC status.
An FCC authorization is a great way to reassure buyers that your product is safe and secure.
What Products Need an FCC ID?
Any product that receives or transmits radio frequency signals, including but not limited to:
- Wireless phones
- Baby monitors
- Wireless toys
- Cordless phones
- Remote control devices
- Radiofrequency receivers and transmitters
- Any device using the radio spectrum.
Who Must Register with the FCC?
- Owners of products that need an FCC ID
- Any business or party responsible for overseeing the design, production, marketing, and/or distribution of a product that requires an FCC ID.
How Does FCC Licensing Work?
- Manufacturers apply for a grant of equipment authorization and submit all documentation needed for compliance.
- The FCC reviews the materials, issues an Equipment Authorization Number (ETN) if the product meets their criteria, and uploads it to their database.
- A TCB or Telecommunications Certification Body gives a Certificate of Authorization or an FCC Certificate to the manufacturer.
- Finally, the manufacturer marks the product with its FCC ID number and sells it legally in the U.S.
What are the Benefits of the FCC?
- Ensures that products meet safety standards.
- Helps protect consumers from radiation exposure and interference from other signals in the radio spectrum.
- Allows manufacturers to market their products as officially approved by the FCC, giving buyers and sellers peace of mind.
- The FCC’s database makes it easy to look up a product to check its approval.
- Provides a framework of legal requirements that ensures fair competition amongst manufacturers.
What are the Drawbacks of the FCC?
- The costly process of testing and documentation, especially for small businesses.
- Long wait times before receiving FCC approval.
- Penalties for non-compliance can be hefty if not followed appropriately.
- Regulations change frequently keeping up can be challenging.
How Long Does FCC Approval Take?
On average, it takes about 8-12 weeks to receive an Equipment Authorization Number (ETN).
After that, it sometimes takes another 2-3 weeks to get a Certificate of Authorization or an FCC Certificate.
An FCC Certificate is a necessary part of the product development process for any device that uses radio frequencies.
Although the process can take time and be costly, it’s worth protecting consumers and making your product legal for the marketplace.
Now we’d like to hear from you; What has been your experience with the FCC approval process? Let us know in the comments below!