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Real Estate Agent, Realtors, and Brokers

For anyone new to the real estate industry, you may find the various titles real estate professionals can use a little confusing. Which may make you ask yourself, "is there really a difference between the titles?" The answer, yes there is a difference. So what do all these titles mean, and who can use them?

The term real estate agent and real estate sales associate can be used interchangeably. This is a title used for anyone who has completed the State licensing requirements and is now a licensed real estate agent. They can practice real estate in their state, but only under the supervision of a Broker, which we'll discuss shortly.

A person who calls themselves a REALTOR®, has completed all the same requirements as a real estate agent. They however, have also chosen to become a member of the National Association of Realtors, or NAR. To join NAR, the agent must uphold the association's code of ethics, which are 17 Articles that contain various standards of practice. Once the individual has pledged to uphold these standards, he or she is allowed to use the REALTOR® title and advertise as a member of NAR. In order to continue to use this title, each REALTOR® is required to continue their training by completing a code of ethics course every four years. Why would someone want to be a REALTOR®? The title comes with a higher respect of professionalism for those both in and outside the industry. Also, it is often that when a buyer or seller is looking for a real estate professional, they look specifically for a REALTOR®. Just as an agent or sales associate, REALTORS® must hold their license at a brokerage to practice real estate too.

Brokers, just as REALTOR®, have completed all the state requirements to become a real estate agent. However, to earn the title Broker, they have had to pass a State test that is much more difficult and in-depth then that of the agent licensing test. Brokers have also spent much more time in the industry, providing them much more experience overall. With this grander title comes more responsibility. A broker is free to open a brokerage, in which agents and REALTORS® work within. The broker ultimately bears the responsibility of all the agents whom work within their brokerage. It is up to the Broker to ensure transactions go through without glitches and when an issue arises, he or she shall step in to resolve the problems. Associate Brokers have completed the same training as Brokers, but have chosen not to open their own brokerage and instead work under another Brokerage.

Anyone interested in a career in real estate must start as a real estate agent or sales associate. Then just as in a corporate environment, your experience in the industry allows your knowledge and title grow.

Still have questions about the different titles? Or general questions about becoming a agent? Contact us today and let one our experienced instructors answer your questions! (904) 385-9331 or

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