Amateur Radio (or "ham" radio) is a non-commercial radio service intended to allow individuals to learn about and utilize radio technology. Today, amateur radio activities range from morse code on "short-wave" frequencies to computer networking via high speed data links on microwave frequencies. Amateurs routinely communicate via amateur satellites, ionospheric skip, line-of-sight as well as earth-moon-earth propagation paths.
In the United States, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) administers the amateur radio service. Part 97 of the FCC's rules defines the amateur radio service and its regulations.
Amateur radio licenses require the applicant to exhibit proficiency in radio technologies and amateur service regulations. In the US, there are now six classes of amateur radio license. The technician class license now has no requirement for morse code proficiency.
U.S. Licensing information can be obtained from the FCC, the ARRL, your local library, your local electronics store, or maybe even at a nation-wide chain of electronics stores. Amateur exams are offered by volunteers at sites all over the place. The ARRL maintains a listing of exams on their web site.