The difference between a real estate broker and real estate agent is that a broker can work independently. Real estate agents are employed by a broker, and the broker is generally held accountable for the actions of the agent. Brokers are held in a higher regard, because they generally have more education and experience in their field. A real estate agent is considered a licensed salesperson.
The requirements to become a real estate agent are different than the requirements to become a broker. The salesperson license needed to become an agent varies depending on the state. However, most brokers require a four-year degree and up to eight university-level real estate courses to qualify for the broker exam. Brokers that do not have a four-year degree are required to obtain at least two years of sales experience and complete eight university-level real estate courses. These are requirements mandated by the Department of Real Estate.
The real estate broker exam is typically longer, more difficult and more extensive than the real estate license exam. This exam allows a real estate broker to work independently and employ real estate salespeople. In most states, the types of agents include dual agents, buyer’s agents, listing agents and transaction agents.