Essential Facets of the Alabama General Contractors License Exam

As Alabama’s economy grows, so does its need for general contractors. According to the Alabama General Contractors Board, there are approximately 8,000 contractors currently working in the state; given that there are over 5 million residents here, there’s vast potential in the market for those willing to work hard and learn the tricks of the trade.

Today, we’ll explore the different elements of earning your general contractor license in the Yellowhammer State, including what must be completed ahead of time and an overview of the categories you must know.


Before you can work as a general contractor in Alabama, you need to have at least two years of experience in construction within the past three years, supported by three references from other contractors who have successfully passed the exam. You will also need to have at least $10,000 in working capital, a clear background check, and proof of general liability insurance before you proceed.

Unlike some other states, Alabama does not require formal classroom training in general contracting. While this may seem to make it easier to pass the NASCLA Commercial General Building Contractor exam—the same test used in many other states—it may actually make it more difficult, as you will not have the benefit of standardized knowledge acquisition like those who have gone through more formal training.

As such, many aspiring contractors choose to use an Alabama general contractor building license test prep program to ensure that there are no blind spots in their knowledge. These programs give you the resources you need to successfully pass the test the first time, such as books, practice exams, and math guides to help you complete the calculations that will be on the test. You’ll gain a solid understanding of everything you’ll be tested on, including these three general categories.

Technical Aspects

To be a contractor, regardless of the state in which you operate, you need to have a good foundation of the different elements that make up general contracting. This includes things such as roofing, masonry, carpentry, framing, concrete, metalwork, and equipment management. Another component is green building elements; these are meant to reduce the environmental impact of the construction industry, which can cause serious pollution in the areas in which builders work. Environmental safety, such as how to plan for stormwater pollution, will also be covered in the exam.

Business Elements

The vast majority of general contractors open their own business or are self-employed, which requires a strong understanding of business and financial management. Things such as knowing whether to file taxes as self-employed person or under a business entity, organizing a business, handling payroll, managing projects, and bidding on contracts are all essential knowledge for anyone who wants to be a general contractor.

You will see questions about business principles on both of the exams you must take: the NASCLA exam, which is used in multiple states; and the Business & Law exam, which is specialized for the Alabama business environment. In the Business and Law exam, you’ll be tested on things such as what forms you need to hire employees, the state taxation system for business owners.

Legal Considerations

As with the business component of the exam, there are two facets to this: general legal elements that contractors in any state must abide by, and legal elements that are specific to the state of Alabama.

In the NASCLA exam, which is taken by contractors in numerous states, you will be tested on the federal laws that guide the general contracting industry, with a specific focus on requirements by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). These rules are meant to protect workers, and failing to abide by them can result in hefty fines or even the closure of your business.

The next element you’ll need to master is Alabama construction laws, including mechanic’s lien laws. These liens are an element of contract law that allows you to place a lien on a property, which ensures that the customer pays. They must be filed in the appropriate probate court within six months of the delivery date for the whole project.

Other things you’ll need to learn are the rules and bylaws of the Alabama General Contractors Board, which are the stipulations you must abide by in order to keep your license when working.


Even if Alabama does not have formal education requirements beyond a high school diploma, there is a great deal of study involved in successfully passing the general contractors exam. In order to ensure that you have every component covered, you should consider working with a test prep company that provides the materials necessary to study. While your field experience is crucial to reinforce these elements, having a full understanding of what you will be expected to answer on the exams will ensure you can get to work as a general contractor in Alabama as soon as possible.


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