Disregard the previous answers, one is wrong and the other oversimplified. My answer applies to California and may vary from state to state.
An individual starting out in the real estate industry first recieves his real estate agents license and works under a real estate broker, regardless of specialization. They would be an agent of the broker. The broker is the main salesperson who is working as a broker between buyers and sellers. The agent actually caries out the tasks.
You must be a broker to start a real estate company or to be an officer or office manager. An agent is an independant contractor but still works under a broker. The broker carries legal liability over his agents acts of misconduct under "respondent superior".
To obtain a real estate agent license in California you need to take a Real Estate Prcinciples class, then pass the licensing test.
To obtain a real estate broker license you need; Associate degree, One year in real estate, and to complete eight courses related to real estate (RE prinicples, RE practices, RE finance, RE economics, RE escrow, RE appraisal,RE law, RE management). Or a Bachelors degree, the classes I mentioned, and passing the licensing test. Or two years experience, the classes, and passing the test.
Check your states department of Real Estate website for further explanation.
Oct 20, 2008