it is a great thing to have but its a tough thing to get into. I love it however I got lucky and got involved in Foreclosures.
Just remember, you do not get paid a dime until your property closes. When you work with buyers you have to take them around to look at a million and one properties and then they decide they don't want to buy yet or they put in such a low offer your embarrassed to send it to the other agent all after spending a few hundred bucks on gas. Sellers think their home is worth a million dollars even if its crap and having an overpriced listing is just as useful as having no listings at all.
However, when you do have a closing, you can get a few thousand dollars all at once.
Its not cheap either, you have to join the National Association of Realtors (well, you don't have to but you can't call yourself a Realtor until you do nor will you have access to the MLS) AND the local Board of Realtors. There are monthly fees for MLS Access as well as the cost of promoting yourself and advertising your listings. Some offices charge desk fee's to be a part of their office or they make you take expensive training.
Real Estate is also something you really can't do part time, but in todays market you have to have a second job just to afford to be a realtor, its crazy!
YOu also have to take prelicensing classes before you can even take your state exam.
All in All its something worth getting into, but not if you want to make money right off the bat.
You can also find offices that do not make you become a Realtor or require desk fees and they'll charge a flat rate per year to be a referral agent. Basically if you find a buyer or a seller you can refer it to someone in your office and get a fee from their commission (usually 25%).
Also, Something else to keep in mind. When you take a listing at 6%, typically 3% is for you to list it and 3% is to offer to the other agent who finds a buyer. Now of your 3% your broker will most likely take a cut, so you'll probably only make 2% (on a 30/70 split office)off of most sales. So you have to do either higher priced homes or lots of lower priced homes.
I say, if you can go for it! Its lots of fun and the market will pick up so if its something you'd eventually like to get involved in then do it now while everything is slow and you can focus on continuing education etc.