Do You Know the Difference Between a Realtor®, an Agent and a Broker?

Before you embark on your quest for a career in Nevada real estate, it helps to identify the different types of professionals and their differences. That way, you can decide the level of education you want and map out a more detailed career path. If you don’t know the difference between a Realtor®, a real estate agent and a broker, read on.

Real Estate Agents

An agent, also known as a real estate associate, is the term for anyone who has completed their training and passed the required exams for the state they intend to begin practice. All 50 states require that an agent must work under a licensed broker, however. Educational standards vary from state to state, ranging from 20 class credit hours to more than 200 credits as well as successfully completing the licensing exam Nevada requires applicants complete:

– 45 hours or 3 college credits in Real Estate Principles.

– 45 hours or 3 college credits in Real Estate Law, including 18 hours of Nevada state law

– passage of both state and national exams within the previous 12 months

An agent can also become licensed to sell real estate in multiple states, usually under a reciprocal licensing agreement between the agents home state and others, which may or may not be adjacent the the agent’s state of residence. Under certain conditions, an agent can sell real estate in a non-reciprocal state. This is either achieved through applying for a waiver in a state that doesn’t honor your licensed or working with a sponsoring broker. A few states, including Maryland and New York, require the broker to also be licensed in the agent’s licensing jurisdiction.


Realtors are licensed real estate agents who have gone the extra step of joining the National Association of REALTORS and subscribing to the REALTOR Code of Ethics. This is a 17-article document that outlines the standards of behavior for a licensed real estate professional. Although all licensed agents also have to follow ethical guidelines, and becoming a Realtor doesn’t guaranty ethical behavior, going this extra step reinforces standards and shows clients that you take your profession seriously. By law in all 50 states, Realtors must also work under a licensed broker.

Real Estate Brokers

Brokers are of two types: licensed brokers who can head agencies of their own or work independently and associate brokers, who have the same credentials but work under another licensed broker. In order to become a real estate broker, you must first become a licensed agent or Realtor and complete additional courses and licensing requirements, which are different from state to state.

Coursework to become a broker includes college-level classes like:

– Real estate appraisal
– Real estate law
– Financing
– Real estate economics
– Real estate accounting
– Business law
– Real estate office administration
– Property management

In addition, a broker in the state of Nevada must have at least two years of prior real estate sales experience within the four years before taking the broker’s exam.

Although all three types of professionals are considered to be licensed, qualified real estate professionals, each requires different level of commitment and has somewhat different standards and responsibilities. The more education and specialization you can gain throughout your career, the better you’ll be able to serve your clients. An admissions specialist at your real estate school can tell you more about the requirements in your state.