How to Get a Real Estate License in Alabama: 2023 Requirements for Taking the Exam
This article contains everything you need to know about getting an Alabama real estate license.
We’ll walk you through the entire process—from the application to pre-licensing classes, the exam itself, and how to submit your final paperwork.
Continue reading for all the essential information to keep in mind when obtaining your real estate license in The Cotton State.
Alabama Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Salespeople
In Alabama, there are a few initial requirements to meet in order to become eligible for your salesperson real estate license.
According to the Alabama real estate license law, you must:
- Have proof you’re a US citizen, permanent resident alien, or are legally allowed in the country;
- Be at least 19 years of age;
- Have your high school diploma or an equivalent;
- Not have been convicted of a felony or a crime that involves moral turpitude;
- Not have had a real estate application or license rejected or revoked, in any state, over the past two years.
Meeting all of these requirements then allows you to move on and complete the pre-licensing coursework.
This consists of a 60-hour course, which you must take from an approved provider. You must get a minimum score of 70 to pass your pre-licensing course.
Additionally, you’ll need to secure fingerprints for a background check.
These must get submitted to Gemalto, the company that will generate your background check report and submit it to the Alabama Real Estate Commission.
The cost for this service is $48.25.
Since the report is only valid for 30 days, a pro tip is to wait and submit your fingerprints to Gemalto on the same day you submit your application for review.
This means waiting until you pass the real estate license exam.
Offered by PSI Exams, the real estate license exam in Alabama costs $79. You can register for the exam online or call 1-888-818-5824 to set a schedule.
The exam takes three-and-a-half hours and consists of 140 questions. The minimum passing score is also a 70.
Once you pass the exam, you’re given your real estate license application on site.
The fee to be issued an active license is $210. Here’s a sample application to review.
The only other component to complete prior to getting your license is to pick a broker to work for.
You should make this decision carefully, after extensive research of who’s available in your area.
You can select from our directory of the best real estate brokerage firms in Alabama.
Alabama Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Brokers
To obtain a real estate broker license in Alabama, the basic, initial requirements are the same as for a salesperson license.
Additionally, you’ll need to have had an active real estate salesperson license, from any state, for at least 24 of the 36 months leading up to the date of your application.
Fingerprinting and a background check are also required, and managed by Gemalto, for the same fee of $48.25.
The pre-licensing course is 60 hours long, from an approved institution, where you’ll need a minimum score of 70 to move forward.
The exam, also offered by PSI for a $79 fee, is the only part of this process that’s vastly different.
While you’re given the same time to complete the exam, you’ll have fewer questions.
Instead of the test being all multiple choice, the national portion is composed of 10 simulation problems, each with multiple parts. A minimum score of 70 is required.
The licensing fee is the same at $210. You’ll receive the application at your testing facility once you pass both the national and state-specific sections of the exam.
There is a sample broker application to review online.
What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity?
Real estate license reciprocity is when one state recognizes the licenses of another state, usually because they share a similar process.
When you’re ready to move, finding a state with full or partial reciprocity makes it that much easier to transfer over your current real estate license.
However, not all states have reciprocity with every other state. Luckily, Alabama is one that does.
If you hold a current real estate license in any other state you can obtain a reciprocal license in Alabama by completing a specific set of tasks that include:
- Taking a six-hour course on Alabama real estate law
- Passing the Alabama portion of the licensing exam
- Submitting the proper application
- Submitting a Certificate of Licensure form
This last requirement enables you to show your license history. It must be obtained from the real estate office in the state where you currently hold your license.
You have 120 days from the time the Alabama Real Estate Commission receives your application to get this additional form in.
US States Having a Reciprocal Agreement with Alabama
Alabama real estate agents who are looking to move states can expect full or partial reciprocity from the following:
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
This list is subject to change without notice.
It’s best to review the policies of the state you’re moving to, on their official real estate commission website, for complete details related to reciprocity.
How to Study for a Real Estate License Exam in Alabama
Survey of Experts
How difficult was it for you to study and pass the Alabama real estate license exam?
How many attempts did it take you to pass your real estate license exam?
Pre-Licensing Classroom Courses
In order to complete the pre-licensing coursework for your real estate license in the state, you must enroll through an approved provider.
To find one, you can check out our database of the top real estate schools in Alabama.
Regardless of what license you’re interested in getting, the course is a total of 60 hours, and the cost of completing this course will vary based on the program.
Expect to pay a few hundred dollars at the very least.
Once complete, you’ll need a minimum course grade of 70 percent to move on to the exam.
Deciding to take the course in a classroom setting has its benefits.
You’ll have a consistent schedule to complete the course, meeting at the same times each week.
This makes it easier to take the course and stay committed to other obligations, like a job and your family.
Learning face-to-face also puts you in direct contact with future colleagues and industry experts.
By connecting with your fellow students and instructors in this more personable way, you’re able to make lasting connections.
Pre-Licensing Online Courses
Taking your 60-hour course requirement online also offers up unique benefits.
Where 60 in-person hours could take you almost three months or more to complete, learning virtually, at your own pace, allows you to finish much faster.
Treating your coursework like a job, at 40 hours per week, could enable you to finish the coursework in as fast as two weeks.
Learning online also enables you to pick where you study.
You have the flexibility to find a quiet space, while avoiding the distractions learning in a classroom can present.
Everyone has their own preference when it comes to their ideal way to learn.
To help make a sound decision, you can refer to our helpful guide comparing real estate classes online vs. classroom courses.
Once you pass your pre-licensing course, you are now eligible to take the real estate exam.
Preparing for this test is important, with the end goal of passing it on your first try.
Know which topics you should study for and what score you need to target by reading our article on the best way to pass the Alabama real estate exam.
We also have useful tips to help you study for the real estate exam.
Survey of Experts
Did you take your pre-licensing real estate course online or in person?
Do you think taking a real estate pre-licensing course online can save students time compared to in-person courses?
What is the name of the school where you completed your pre-licensing course?
Do you see any advantages of taking an online course over the in-person class?
Let me caveat my response with the fact that I love online courses, and despise the wasted time associated with in-person education.
I completed my Bachelor’s degree online after attending two years of in-person courses. Therefore, when I found the real estate salesperson course was online, I was elated.
I was able to wake up, shower, dress up, grab a snack, sit down on the couch and work on the course for 4 hours, take a break, then finish off the last 4 hours until my family came home.
Had I taken the course in person, I would have had to add an hour in the beginning and an hour at the end for travel, chit chat, and listening to instructor banter.
Also, we would be moving at the speed of all students. In-person learning is just not conducive to streamlined learning, for me.
Taking online courses allows you to move at your own pace. If you were in person, you would have to move at the instructor’s pace while sitting in a class two nights a week for a few hours.
Also, the online courses can be done in the comfort of your home, or anywhere that has internet access.
Another advantage of online courses is that all the information is always there. If you missed something, you can get back to review it. Everything is just a click away!
Also, if you just don’t quite understand something, there are live instructors that you can reach out to. So, you get the best of both worlds!
The online course is self-paced, and although you have a certain amount of time the course has to be completed, you can still move a little slower or even faster, in comparison to the in-person training.
There are a lot of advantages, mostly through convenience. There’s also easy 24/7 access.
You can move through the course faster and can also review things easier!
What would you recommend real estate students to invest extra in to ensure passing the exam on the first try?
There was a really great program called Night Before The Exam that helped drill some study guides into my head and gave extra questions and scenarios.
I would invest in doing practice questions and taking a math prep class. I took multiple practice tests before taking the real one. Like athletes, you are only as good as your practice.
I would suggest that they take a prep course.
Invest in a great school!
Where to Take the Real Estate Exam in Alabama
You have six months to pass the real estate license exam in Alabama after completing the pre-licensing course.
The exam is administered by PSI Exams, with testing locations in:
You can register with PSI online to schedule the exam or call 1-888-818-5824. The cost, regardless of the exam, is $79.
You have three-and-a-half hours to complete either exam, and must get a minimum score of 70 to pass.
The exams are broken down into two categories: a state portion and a national portion.
However, the organization of the questions differ between the broker and salesperson test.
For the salesperson exam, there are 40 state-specific questions and 100 national questions.
They’re all intermixed throughout the exam and are all in multiple-choice format.
For the broker exam, there are also 40 questions on the state portion, and you have 60 minutes to complete it.
The national portion is given two-and-a-half hours for only 10 questions.
These are simulation problems, each with three components—Scenario, Information Gathering, and Decision Making.
How to File for Your License After the Exam in Alabama
Once you pass the real estate license exam in Alabama, you’re given your license application at the testing center.
All materials and fees are due to the Alabama Real Estate Commission within 90 days of your examination date.
Applications are different depending on what type of license you’re getting, but the fee is the same at $210.
At this time, you should also submit your fingerprints to Gemalto to begin your criminal background check, along with a fee of $48.25.
Use your waiting time for license approval productively by planning what to do after you get your real estate license.
Additionally, you can prepare for a busy career ahead by learning from experts’ experiences.
Read their insight on what to expect when taking a real estate agent job as a career.
How to Receive Your Real Estate License in Alabama
To activate your real estate license, you have additional requirements once you’ve submitted your application. You must complete post-license coursework.
This consists of a 30-hour course, which you must finish within the first six months after passing your test.
If you’re not looking to maintain an active license, you can take 12 months to complete the course.
Once done, your license will get issued to your qualifying broker.
How long does it take to get an Alabama real estate license when studying in the class?
The total time frame to complete the course will vary based on how often your class meets to complete your 60-hour pre-licensing requirement.
If you met for an hour, once per week, it would take a little over three months to finish the course, study, and schedule and take the test.
How long does it take to get an Alabama real estate license online?
Working through your pre-licensing coursework online enables you to finish much faster.
If you treated the course like a job, and invested 40 hours per week, you could be ready to take the test in less than a month.
Know the estimated timeline to get licensed in the state by reading our article – How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in Alabama?
Survey of Experts
How long did it take you to get your real estate license? From the time you signed up for school till your license was issued.
Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently to get your license faster?
Do NOT wait until you have finished studying to schedule your Kaplan end-of-course test or state exam.
Both are booked for weeks out. I wasted one week studying, thinking the proctor would be available the day I called.
Then I found out it was a two-week wait for the Kaplan pre-test, plus another two-week wait for the state exam.
I got my license from start to finish in about 2 months. I believe I could have done it faster if I wasn’t doing training and working full time during the process.
I probably would’ve scheduled a test sooner. I kept getting cold feet and would do more practice tests.
I finished the 60-hour course in less than a month. I consider that fast already.
Is there a background check for an Alabama real estate license?
Yes, fingerprinting and a background check are required as part of the process.
To know how the process of background check is done, read our article on getting an Alabama real estate license with violations.
How much does an Alabama real estate license cost?
Cost will vary based on the price of your course, but on average, plan to spend around $600 in total, if not a little more.
For a complete breakdown of the licensing fees, read our article on the topic – How Much Does It Cost to Get an Alabama Real Estate License?
Survey of Experts
In your opinion, was the cost of getting your real estate license reasonable?
Approximately how much did it cost you to get your real estate license? Including school fees, study materials, and other related expenses.
What were your ‘surprise costs’?
I was surprised that there were fees for the course final exam.
There wasn’t any surprise cost to obtain a license. Real Estate Express, as well as the Alabama Real Estate Commission, were both very clear about the cost to obtain a license.
What were your ‘surprise costs’ after getting your license?
If you choose to join your local MLS, there are fees associated with the MLS that may come as a surprise. Each MLS is different, so the type of fees and amount will vary.
Another fee that may come as a surprise is Errors & Omissions Insurance (E&O Insurance). This is a type of liability insurance that protects agents against claims made by their clients.
I had to pay for Cullman, AL MLS fees.
What costs could have been avoided and how?
A lot of agents do not know this, but one fee you can avoid is MLS fees. You are not required to join your local MLS in Alabama.
I chose to join because there are so many benefits that come with joining.
Some of the benefits include having access to information about every home listed in the MLS, training and educational resources, networking, discounts with participating vendors, community outreach, and so many more benefits.
I believe some of my fees are directly related to the company I hired in with. I could have interviewed other places and potentially avoided some costs.
To my knowledge, though, all the association fees are for every company.
How long do you have to wait to retake the real estate exam in Alabama?
If you need to retake the real estate exam, you must wait 24 hours before scheduling your next test.
The earliest you’ll be able to schedule it is the day after you make the call.
This means, if you fail the exam on Tuesday, you can call on Wednesday, and take the test as early as Thursday.
How many times can you retake the Alabama real estate exam?
Should you fail the exam, either one or both parts, you have unlimited retakes.
However, you only have six months after completing your course to pass the exam or you’ll have to retake the pre-licensing course.
Do you have to pay to retake the real estate exam in Alabama?
Yes, you must pay each time you retake, either one or both parts, of the real estate license exam in Alabama.
How much does it cost to retake the real estate exam in Alabama?
It costs $79 each time you retake the exam.
Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Alabama?
Part of the requirement to get a real estate license in Alabama is to not get convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude.
Should you have another conviction on your record, you are required to submit all relevant court documents concerning your conviction.
These documents are in addition to the background report, and are your responsibility.
Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor in Alabama?
As long as you weren’t convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, there’s a chance you can still get your license.
Submit any relevant documents connected to your conviction, in addition to the report from your background check, for review.
Will a DUI prevent you from getting a real estate license in Alabama?
You may still get a real estate license if you have a DUI, but there are extra steps you must complete in your application process.
You’re responsible for submitting relevant court documents related to your conviction for review.
Survey of Experts
Is it more challenging to get a real estate license with violations on one’s record?
Do you know any people who got a real estate license with violations on their record?
Can I get a real estate license without a high school diploma in Alabama?
No, a high school diploma, or equivalent degree, is required for eligibility.
When you receive your license, know how to join a real estate team.
This is where you can meet experienced agents ready to share their knowledge about the business.
It’s designed to help you get more exposure for your business, including receiving leads. Create a free profile by signing up here.
If you want to contribute your expert advice on a topic of your expertise, feel free to apply to our Expert Contributor Program.
About the Author
Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.