A real estate agent is a real estate professional who has taken and passed all required real estate classes and passed the real estate licensing exam in the state in which he or she intends to work. It is the most encompassing of the titles, since it is the starting point for most real estate professionals. Agents are also referred to as real estate associates.
A realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National
Association of Realtors. To become a member, a real estate agent
has to agree to abide by the association's standards and uphold
the code of ethics.
A real estate broker has continued his or her education past the
real estate agent level and passed the real estate broker
license. Real estate brokers can work as independent real estate
agents or have other agents working for them.
The biggest distinction between the three is that a broker can
work on his or her own, while an agent or associate has to work
under a licensed broker. A hybrid position, referred to as a
real estate associate broker, is an agent who is working toward
achieving a broker's license. Associate brokers have to work
under a licensed broker, but may share in the brokerage profits
above and beyond the usual agent commission.