An active license means you work under a sponsoring broker. When you have an active real estate license, you can work as a real estate agent and perform real estate brokerage activities.
When you have an inactive real estate license, you cannot engage in any real estate brokerage activities. Your Real Estate license needs to be under a sponsoring broker in order to earn a real estate commission. By staying inactive, you are paying fees to your Real Estate Commission and real estate schools for continuing education (CE) and are not allowed to earn any type of real estate commission in this status.