What is the difference between an exempt and a non-exempt employee?

Employees whose employers are governed by the FLSA are either "exempt" or "non-exempt” from overtime. Non-exempt employees are eligible for overtime pay and other FLSA requirements, while exempt employees are not. 
In general, whether an employee is exempt or non-exempt depends on (a) how much they are paid, (b) how they are paid, and (c) what kind of work they do. For example, to be categorized as “exempt” an employee must (a) be paid at least $23,600 per year (which is increasing to $47,476 on Dec. 1), (b) be paid on a salary basis, and (c) perform exempt job duties. Most employees must meet all three "tests" to be exempt.