1) Selling Real Estate - get a job in a realtor office and take your local exam to become a licensed real estate agent. You goal is to learn the business of selling Real Estate.
2) Buying Real Estate - get a job with a local real estate investment or management company that is searching for under-valued investments. Or join a real estate investment club in your area. The goal is to learn how others value and buy properties or buildings.
3) Managing/Improving Real Estate - get a entry level job with construction, refurbishment, contractor or property management companies in your area. Real estate investments will appreciate in only two ways, either as market valuation increases OR if the owner makes investments to change the property into a higher-value class of real estate. Making improvements to increase property valuation using existing cash flow from your property is a great way to grow your portfolio value without growing debt.
James recommends the following next steps:
Real Estate Investment - Buying, renting and selling real estate are the basic forms of investment. My wife and I buy single family homes (SFH is the acronym) and rent them out to tenants. This particular real estate investment strategy is referred to as 'buy and hold'. The other primary investment type is 'fix and flip' where you buy a house, fix it up, then sell it for profit. In either case, getting a property at a good price is a key component to success. That's where the brokers come in.
Real Estate Brokerage - Most brokers are real estate agents that have a license and work for a real estate agency. They handle the listing, marketing, showing and selling of properties (for a fee). There are also wholesalers that offer cash for properties, but then turn around and find cash buyers to actually close the deal (they have the selling party sign an 'assignable contract'). I think of real estate agents and wholesalers as middlepersons in the process of buying and selling houses. Doing some googling, my knowledge on this front might be incorrect concerning the 'broker' term, but basically, there are people that connect buyers to sellers. In order to buy houses, you need money. Most people don't have enough in the bank to buy a house with cash, so for that you need financing.
Real Estate Financing - The majority of real estate is financed through the banking system. These are usually traditional loans that are then held in aggregate by large entities (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, specifically). There are also commercial loans available through banks to purchase commercial property like office buildings. There is also a segment of real estate financing called 'hard money' lending, where people that have cash lend it for short durations at a high interest rate.
To get into real estate, you'll need to have some sort of strategy. Some people focus on wholesaling. This is a relatively low barrier to entry, as you simply need to understand how to setup an assignable contract and send out mailers to home owners. Another strategy is to acquire and profit off real estate somehow. This could be through purchasing a home using hard money from a wholesaler, fixing it up, then selling it for a profit. Alternatively, you could pursue a more traditional career in real estate, becoming an agent or home inspector.
Hope this helps! Real estate investment is a lot of fun!