If you are a high school graduate or college student with good grades who enjoys teaching and helping others, you might want to supplement your income by taking on the part-time job of a private tutor. This would be a great idea for when you graduate college and have no job to go to immediately. You can earn some money, keep your skills fresh, and learn how to run a small business. Tutors can actually earn more money per hour than school teachers, gaining a cost-effective use of their time, as well as deriving additional benefits from the flexibility offered by tutoring.
Tutors can assist students with homework, explain difficult concepts making them easier to understand, and help students to improve their grades so they won’t need to take remedial classes. Tutors can also provide standardized test prep, which may improve the student’s chance for scholarships. It’s best to find a unique niche that you can specialize in, rather than just tutoring general subjects. Math, science, and foreign language tutors are always in demand.
Consider tutoring homeschoolers, especially if you were homeschooled yourself. Being an honors student or having experience with special needs kids is a plus for your resume. Tutors can assist homeschoolers in daily curriculum instruction, teaching a selected course, teaching only certain concepts from a course, assisting the parent as a consultant in assessing the student, or helping the student prepare for testing.
In-person tutoring can take place in your home, office, client’s home, or a convenient public place like a library or church building. Depending on the age of the student, a parent or guardian should be present for reasons of safety and propriety. Appointments are typically one hour long, once a week. If the student is very far behind and needs a lot of help, he or she may need two sessions per week.
If you are not located near a school or in a college town, online tutoring is the way to go. The technology available today makes it easy to tutor students from anywhere – whether they live in another city, across the country, or around the world. Long distance tutoring can take place via a video call, online whiteboard, and chat program. This way, students can learn without leaving the safety and comfort of their home.
There are no universal requirements for tutors, though many professional tutoring services require a bachelor’s degree, state licensing, and/or prior teaching experience. Freelance tutoring is a competitive field; having degree level qualifications or certifications in the subjects that you aim to teach may be insufficient to stand out from the crowd. This is especially true when you take it on as a part time job and have to compete with full-time tutors. Therefore, you need a smart strategy.
Here are some tips on how to get started as a part-time tutor while working from home:
1. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What subjects can you tutor?
- What age groups would you prefer to help?
- Will you tutor students at your home, in their home, or online?
- What supplies will you need? (e.g. pencils, textbooks, workbooks, whiteboard, scheduling software, online courseware)
- How will you attract new clients?
- Does your area have any special licensing requirements?
- Will you need special insurance if tutoring out of your home?
- How much will you need to charge to make it worth your time?
2. Join a professional organization
Sign up to be a member of the Professional Tutors Association (PTA), the Association for the Tutoring Profession (ATP), or the National Tutoring Association (NTA). These organizations link professional, paraprofessional, volunteer, private practice tutors, and tutoring program administrators who are committed to the development of the independent learner. You will benefit from access to industry insider information and networking opportunities with other professional tutors. It will help you to advertise the fact that you have met the standards and specifications set by the PTA, ATP, or NTA to potential students and parents. By meeting these qualifications, you will also be able to use their logos on any offline or online marketing materials that you produce.
3. Invest in quality equipment
Providing online tutoring services from home is a convenient and cost-effective way to save time, energy, and money by eliminating drives across town. However, you will need to make an initial investment in quality equipment that will allow students to have a great experience when they interact with you online. Here are some of the software and hardware considerations to take into account:
- An up-to-date desktop computer or laptop.
- A good webcam, headset with microphone, and speakers.
- Reliable and uninterrupted internet connection.
- Videoconferencing software (e.g. Skype or Google Hangouts) that is easy-to-use and can be downloaded for free.
- A comfortable, well-lit, quiet, and visually attractive area with no distracting backgrounds.
4. Set your rates
Rates will vary depending on your credentials, location, subject, grade level, and number of sessions. Tutors generally charge from $20 to $75/hour, with the average range being $35-50/hour for one-on-one tutoring. This tutoring fee can be payable before each session in person or via an online payment platform. A discount may be offered for paying monthly or per semester, and for in-person group tutoring in which you teach two or more students at the same time. For example, you might also offer homeschool math tutorials with special group rates for 5 or more students. This works well for siblings and friends studying the same subject.
5. Maintain one (or a few) online profiles
There are various websites such as Freelancer.com, Tutor.com, TutorComp.com, and Wyzant.com that allow you to build a respectable online profile as a remote tutor. Before adding yourself to a third-party platform, check to see what the average tutoring rate is. Some sites are notorious for having very low rates ($8-12 per hour) which don’t attract the right type of tutors or students.
You should only list yourself on the sites that show up on the first page of results. It may be tempting to set up a profile on as many sites as possible, but then you risk spreading yourself too thinly. It’s better to stick with one, or no more than a few, platforms that you like and that suit you the best. This way you can accumulate more students and positive reviews in one place.
6. Put creative marketing and networking to use
There are many ways to advertise your services to potential students and their parents. You can use old-fashioned methods such as distributing printed flyers and making yourself known by word-of-mouth. You can also invest in your own website, cater to fellow students at your college, set up a booth at a homeschool convention, or ask if the local school in your community maintains a list of tutors. And finally, you can use social media platforms to boost your online visibility. Make some videos or blog posts on your subject with educational tips. If these are shared by a number of social media users, even if they’re just your friends and family, you can easily reach a large audience without having to incur major advertising expenses.