From its rabid college football fanbase to its stunning Gulf Coast beaches, Alabama is an attractive place to live—and an even better place to begin your journey as a real estate professional. But in order to connect residents of the Heart of Dixie with the properties of their dreams, you’ll need to first learn how to get your real estate license here. 

And that’s where we come in. Follow these nine easy steps, and you’ll be launching your career in Alabama real estate in no time.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Alabama

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How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Alabama
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Complete a 60-hour Prelicensing Course
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Preregister With the Alabama Real Estate Commission
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Pass the Prelicensing Course Final Exam
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Schedule & Pass the Alabama Real Estate Exam
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Complete a Background Check
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Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You
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Apply for a Temporary Alabama Real Estate License
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Complete 30-hour Post-licensing Education
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Apply for a Real Estate Salesperson’s Original License

Let’s dive into these steps in a little more detail. Before long, you’ll be helping clients buy and sell classic revival houses in Birmingham, single-story ranch homes in Huntsville, and cozy bungalows in Montgomery.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Alabama?

It costs approximately $1,000 to get your real estate license in Alabama, including your prelicensing education. Some of the costs are fixed, such as the state’s licensing and exam fees, and others vary. 

While you don’t need a college degree to become a real estate agent in Alabama, you must complete the state-specific licensing process. The price of the required 60-hour prelicensing courses (and optional exam prep materials) will vary depending on the provider you choose.

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Quick Facts
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Prelicensing Course:

$315-$589

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Prelicensing Course Final Exam:

$0-$25

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Criminal Records Search Fee:

$48.25

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Salesperson License Fee:

$150

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Research & Education Fee:

$30

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Recovery Fund:

$30

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Examination Registration:

$79

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Exam Retake:

$79

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Post-license Education:

$0-200

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Permanent License:

$85

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Total Costs:

$737-$1,235

(Alabama real estate license costs as of April 2023)

How to Get an Alabama Real Estate Agent License in 9 Easy Steps

Before you begin, let’s make sure you’re eligible. Alabama requires those seeking a real estate sales associate designation to:

  • Be at least 19 years old
  • Be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Show proof of residency in the United States
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or a crime involving “moral turpitude”
  • Not have had a real estate application or license rejected or revoked in any state within the past two years

How to Fast-track Your Alabama Real Estate License

If you are a licensed attorney, have a degree in real estate, or have a license in another state, you may be able to waive some of your licensing requirements. 

Alabama is notable for having reciprocal agreements with every other state in the country. If you already hold a real estate license in another state, you may obtain an Alabama reciprocal license if you meet the following requirements:

  • 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 showing you hold a current license in another state

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 submit this additional form.

Visit the Alabama Real Estate Commission (AREC) website for education and examination requirements tailored to your specific situation. Read more about reciprocity in our state-by-state guide.

Ready to learn more about how to become a real estate agent in Alabama? Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

1. Complete a 60-hour Prelicensing Course

  • Cost: $315-$589
  • Time commitment: 1-4 weeks

Prelicensing courses kick off your real estate career, and you’ll have your choice of completing them online or in person. Your choice of course format will depend on your learning style and what suits your schedule best.

The amount of time you’ll need comes down to how much class time you allot per week. You can complete all 60 hours online; those who study at a faster pace will finish more quickly. If you approach it like a 40-hour workweek, you’ll finish in less than two weeks. 

Prelicensing courses will often include extra features like exam prep, instructor support, or career resources. Visit The Close’s article on real estate schools in Alabama to find the prelicensing course that’s right for you. 

The state of Alabama requires 60 hours of coursework before sitting for the licensing exam. You’ll learn:

  • Real property characteristics, legal descriptions, and property use
  • Forms of ownership; transfer and recording of title
  • Property value and appraisal
  • Real estate contracts and agency
  • Real estate practice
  • Property disclosures and environmental issues
  • Financing and settlement
  • Real estate math calculations
  • Duties and powers of the real estate commission
  • Licensing requirements
  • Statutory requirements governing the activities of licensees
  • Agency relationships and disclosures

You will also need to pass a course final exam with a minimum of 70% correct, though you can take it as many times as necessary.

A highly rated Alabama real estate school will help you get through this weighty material. Most people choose a real estate school based on the cost and the educational format of the course. Here are the most popular options in terms of course design.

In-person Classes

Wherever you live in Alabama, you should be able to find a real estate school that meets in person during regularly scheduled sessions.

Pros
Cons
  • Interactive; you can easily ask questions in a traditional classroom setting
  • More expensive than online classes
  • Meet other students and enjoy a shared experience
  • Headaches of commuting
  • Easy access to the instructor
  • Finding courses that fit your schedule

Livestream Classes

Classes that meet online at scheduled times are usually broadcast over Zoom (or another videoconferencing tool).

ProsCons
  • Best for those needing an in-person instructor who are unable to travel
  • Finding classes that fit your schedule
  • No inconvenient commutes
  • Technology doesn’t always work as it should
  • Great for people who live far away from in-person schools
  • No interaction with other students
  • Ability to ask questions in real time

Self-paced Online Classes

On-demand real estate classes are extremely popular for those wanting to become real estate agents in Alabama quickly. The course material may be presented in a series of slides, videos, and interactive content.

ProsCons
  • Classes can be taken at your convenience
  • Instructors only accessible via email, chat, or phone (if at all)
  • Can complete the courses at your own pace
  • Little or no interaction with others in the profession
  • No commute; available anywhere with an internet connection
  • Technology doesn’t always work as it should
  • Often the least expensive option

If you’re looking for a self-paced experience, we like Colibri Real Estate’s online platform best. They also happen to be featured on our national roundup of the best online real estate schools.

Check out Colibri Real Estate’s Course Options

For more options, visit The Close’s article on real estate schools in Alabama to find the prelicensing course that’s right for you.

2. Preregister With the Alabama Real Estate Commission

  • Cost: $0
  • Time commitment: 1-2 weeks

Prior to your prelicensing course exam, you must preregister with the Alabama Real Estate Commission. This is required to expedite the exchange of information from instructors, exam providers, and the state of Alabama.  

Once preregistered with the AREC, you will be assigned a unique ID number that you’ll need in order to schedule your licensing exam.

3. Pass the Prelicensing Course Final Exam

  • Cost: $0-$25
  • Time commitment: 1 day

After completing your 60-hour prelicensing course, you must pass a course final exam with at least a 70% correct.

This, to be clear, is not the same as the state exam. It’s provided by your prelicensing education company and is an indication that you have completed and retained the information from your prelicensing education course. Like the state exam, this test is closed-book and closed-note. You are allowed to use a basic-function calculator and scratch paper, but no cell phones or outside internet access are allowed.

Alabama is one of the few states that require the prelicensing course exam to be supervised by a proctor. Even if you take this test in your own home, you must have a proctor overseeing you when sitting for the test. Since the final exam, whether offline or online, must be taken in a proctor’s presence, you’ll have to schedule a proctoring appointment in advance. The cost for proctoring is $25 per exam. However, some schools include a proctored exam in their education packages.

4. Schedule & Pass the Alabama Real Estate Exam

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Quick Facts
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Cost:

$79

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Time to Complete:

3.5 hours

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Format:

Computer-based, 140 questions

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Bring to testing center:

Two forms of identification, including one current government-issued photo ID that includes your signature

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Passing Grade:

70%

After passing the prelicensing course final exam, it’s time to take the Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Licensing Exam. You have to register with the AREC prior to your prelicensing course exam in order to schedule the state license exam.

Students are required to take the licensing exam within six months of passing the course final exam. If you miss the deadline, you must retake the course. 

Pearson VUE is the official administrator of the Alabama real estate exam. To begin scheduling, you’ll need to create an account on the Pearson VUE website, which will then allow access to the scheduling portal.

You can find additional information on preparing for and taking the exam in Pearson’s Alabama Real Estate Candidate Handbook. You can pay the $79 exam fee directly through the Pearson website. 

The salesperson exam consists of 140 questions: 100 for the national section and 40 for the state section. There’s no limit to how many times you can take this in-person, computer-based exam, though you are required to pay the exam fee each time. 

You will have 3.5 hours to complete the entire exam. All exams require a “scaled” score of 70% to pass. The rate at which test-takers pass the exam is 55%. 

You should arrive 30 minutes early at the testing site. The Alabama Real Estate Candidate Handbook outlines the types of government-issued identification they’ll accept. There’s also a lengthy list of items you’re prohibited from bringing to the exam room (including common items like calculators, pens, and cell phones).

Testing sites for the Alabama real estate exam are located in the following cities:

  • Birmingham
  • Dothan
  • Huntsville
  • Mobile
  • Montgomery

As soon as you’re done with the multiple-choice exam, you’ll learn whether you passed or failed. If you don’t pass, you’ll be given a detailed score report that will help you prepare for the retake. Again, you can take the exam as many times as you’d like within six months of passing your course final exam, but you will have to pay $79 each time.

5. Complete a Background Check

  • Cost: $48.25
  • Time commitment: 30 days

The Alabama Real Estate Commission requires all applicants to obtain a background check before they can become a licensed real estate agent in Alabama. To proceed with fingerprinting, follow the instructions for fingerprint scanning and processing found on the website for fingerprinting vendor Gemalto. The fee to complete your fingerprinting services is $48.25.

You’ll need to coordinate your application and fingerprint submissions, as AREC will only have access to the background check information for 30 days. That’s why AREC strongly recommends applicants submit their fingerprints to Gemalto on the same day they submit their application for review. This means waiting until you pass the real estate license exam. 

6. Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You

  • Cost: Zero
  • Time commitment: 2-4 weeks

To hold an active Alabama real estate license, you must find a sponsoring brokerage with which to affiliate your license. Think of a broker as a supervisor who’s received additional training, worked in the industry for at least two years, and passed the managing broker’s license exam.

Related Article
Real Estate Broker vs. Agent: A Head-to-Head Analysis

Finding a managing broker to work under will feel like applying for a job. Once you’ve landed some broker interviews, you’ll want to ask each broker about the split (or how you and the brokerage will divide sales commissions). You’ll find that some brokerages will ask for a 50-50 split on commissions. Usually, companies that offer an even split will not charge monthly desk fees.

As you evaluate your options, remember that, as a commissioned salesperson, your income entirely depends on your abilities and effort. Some brokerages may offer you 70% of your commissions, a ratio that may rise to 100% after you’ve met a specific sales goal (or cap) for the year. 

It’s important to be realistic about your earning potential in the first few months. It takes time to launch your new business. Some new agents choose to work part time so they can still bring in additional revenue as they’re learning the ropes. And if your brokerage does charge fees, you’ll have to pay them regardless of whether you’re closing deals or not.

Here are some questions to consider during your broker search:

  • What is their reputation, both locally and nationally?
  • What kind of real estate agents are they looking for?
  • Are they technologically advanced and up to date with the latest systems?
  • How do they support their agents with education and training?
  • What kind of commission structure do they offer?
  • Do they offer benefits?
  • Do they provide agents with leads and marketing material?
  • Is there room to grow with the brokerage?

7. Apply for a Temporary Alabama Real Estate License

  • Cost: $210
  • Time commitment: 1-2 weeks

After you receive a passing score on the real estate license exam in Alabama, and after you complete a background check and find a sponsoring broker, you will receive a license application. This happens at the testing facility and costs $210, which includes a $150 salesperson license fee, $30 research and education fee, and $30 recovery fund fee. You must submit a completed application within 90 days of your examination date. Once the application has been accepted, you’ll be issued a temporary license.

8. Complete 30 Hours of Post-licensing Education

  • Cost: $0-$200
  • Time commitment: 1-2 weeks

When you receive your real estate license in Alabama, you’ll be required to complete 30 hours of post-licensing education within the first 12 months of licensure in order to be issued an original (permanent) license. Furthermore, the post-licensing course must be initiated within your first six months to avoid temporarily losing an active license.

You’ll need to register with the Alabama Real Estate Commission prior to starting your post-licensing course. This expedites the exchange of information between your instructor, the exam provider, and the state of Alabama.

When you preregistered with the AREC, they should have sent you a temporary ID number. You can also look up your temporary ID here. You’ll be required to provide this number at the start of your post-licensing course.

You can sign up for your post-licensing courses after you’ve received your license, or you can include them as part of your prelicensing package. For example, The CE Shop’s Premium Package includes post-license courses in the price. 

Learn More About Post-licensing From The CE Shop

9. Apply for a Real Estate Salesperson’s Original License

  • Cost: $85
  • Time commitment: 1 week

Once your post-licensing hours are completed, you must apply for the Real Estate Salesperson’s Original License within 12 months after the state issues your temporary license. You can do this by logging into the Alabama Real Estate Commission or printing the form from the commission website. The fee is $85 per year, and you’ll have the option of securing two years for $170. Your permanent license will be issued directly to your supervising broker. 

If you don’t submit an application within the 12-month time frame, your license will lapse and you’ll have to begin the licensing process again with another prelicensing course. 

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Alabama: FAQs 

Still not sure about the path forward? Get answers to common questions about how to become a real estate agent in Alabama below.







More Career Resources From The Close

Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Alabama, you’re likely to have more questions. Luckily, The Close is here to answer them for you.

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