What is that all about?. Sounds like some kind of antiquated holdover from when a certain Alabama Official was (maybe) getting a kick-back from ASHI…and EBPHI (Examination Board of Professional Home Inspectors)
But you are right about the Paid Tests
" Pass two exams. The state requires you to take ASHI’s Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics and EBPHI’s NHIE, which have exam fees. You may contact the state and request affordable alternative, equivalent exams such as the free, online exams provided by InterNACHI®." https://www.nachi.org/licensing-and-certification/us/alabama
Luckily InterNACHI has exposed the shenanigans.…and collusion in States (IMO), like Alabama that have been requiring those “Paid Tests” (only from) ASHI and EBPHI.
I would think that if they (Alabama) have allowed anyone to substitute InterNACHI’s Tests, they would have to allow you to also to opt for the same “Affordable Alternative” in meeting their requirements.
Good Luck Mathew and Welcome!