How much do real estate agents make in North America (Canada and USA)?

I was told by a friend that in Canada, a real estate agent can make over 200k a year within a couple of years of obtaining their license. The license itself required only 1-2 years of study and a fairly simple exam. The market there is stable and prices are risking.
In USA the situation is pretty similar when the market is stable or up. Obviously its not so good at the moment.

I used to be a real estate agent. I’ll tell you this. 10% of the people do 90% of the business. That’s what the top 10% would make. The other 90% can’t even break even on their expenses and it wouldn’t surprise me if over half filed for bankruptcy after a few years from racking up so much credit card debt. Unless you have a second source of income or a lot of startup capital from an RRSP or pension buyout, you’ll most likely get spanked with a ton of debt, even moreso than you would if you bought a convenience store or some food franchise.

Just a point of scale, in the Houston Texas area there are over 100,000 licensed real estate agents. There are probably 10,000 that actually make a living doing it and of that there are really only 50 to 100 that are living really well and there are probably 10 to 15 that are living large with (boats, lake houses, etc)

The real estate agency’s that charge 6 points are driving a Pinto and the ones that charge 3 points are living very well. Consumers do shop for the best deals just like investors do.

Very smart - the person who said that 10% of the people do 90% of the business.
Coming from a real estate family my suggestion would be do not get in the game unless you are a real go-getter. You will only succeed if you are willing to work at any and all times of the day, and make being a broker your life.
The key to success in being a real estate agent is networking. You will always be networking and building new contacts or else you will have no chance.
Earning potential is tremendous in the industry if you are willing to put your life into it. In some towns with high end real estate brokers make 7 figures. Of course others barely scrape buy or fall out of the industry entirely.