A transistor is basically a Si on Ge crystal containing three separate regions. It can be either NPN or PNP type fig. 1. The middle region is called the base and the outer two regions are called emitter and the collector. The outer layers although they are of same type but their functions cannot be changed. They have different physical and electrical properties.
In most transistors, emitter is heavily doped. Its job is to emit or inject electrons into the base. These bases are lightly doped and very thin, it passes most of the emitter-injected electrons on to the collector. The doping level of collector is intermediate between the heavy doping of emitter and the light doping of the base.
The collector is so named because it collects electrons from base. The collector is the largest of the three regions; it must dissipate more heat than the emitter or base. The transistor has two junctions. One between emitter and the base and other between the base and the collector. Because of this the transistor is similar to two diodes, one emitter diode and other collector base diode.