How To Find Online Tutor Jobs (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 10, 2020

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Are you an expert in a specific subject? Did you love your upper level chemistry classes and get straight A’s? Do you like helping people? Are you great with kids?

If you answered yes to any of these, then private tutoring might be a good job for you. It can be a great way for you to stay up to date with a subject you love while helping others and making some extra money.

As schools continue to teach remotely, more parents are turning to online tutors to help their kids master tricky school subjects. Online tutoring matches students with professionals, or people who are passionate, so students can learn in a style more suited to them.

Online tutoring is a great opportunity for anyone looking to work from home, and it’s especially good for someone who likes to help others and work one-on-one.

Before you make the jump to applying for online tutoring jobs, we’re going to dive into what online tutoring really is, how your daily life will look, and other useful tips to help you become an online tutor.

What is a tutor?

Tutors are like regular teachers, except they can provide one-on-one attention to students who are struggling to grasp certain topics in class or even entire school subjects. Think of tutors as extra support for teachers. They can supplement instruction, practice, and revision with topics students are learning in the classroom.

Tutors exist for all subjects and there’s even different levels of involvement you can have as a tutor. Some tutors help kids with all subjects, wherever they need it. Others specialize in a subject, like math, or a specific area, like algebra. There’s even a big demand for language tutors, which is a great way for bilingual people to flex their language skills.

Online tutors fulfill the same role as traditional tutors, but they just do it online. Instead of meeting with a student in person, you can work from home and meet with them over video chat. This option is becoming more popular with the ongoing pandemic and the added ease and flexibility of telecommuting.

There’s two main types of online tutors- freelance tutors and agency tutors. Freelance tutors are self-employed and work alone to find clients and prepare lessons. On the other hand, agency tutors are employed by a tutoring company or agency and are more like formal employees or contractors. They are given clients by the company and sometimes have pre-made lesson plans or tutoring styles they need to follow.

Since more schools are going online or extending their virtual learning, online tutors are in demand more than ever.

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Both in-person and online tutors are a great resource for kids who need a little extra time and attention to fully understand what’s being taught. It’s also a good way to give a student some individual attention and support if their learning style is different from their instructor’s teaching style.

How much do tutors make?

Salaries for tutors depend on their qualifications, how much experience you have, and the satisfaction of your clients. Tutors are typically paid with hourly rates, or charge a set fee per lesson or tutoring session.

Typically, tutors start out charging anywhere from $10 an hour to $15 an hour. Depending on what skills and qualifications you have, you can decide where to set your initial price. On average, tutors can make around $30,000 a year.

Experienced tutors for elementary through high school students tend to charge between $21 and $27 an hour. But, if you have a specific niche that you cater to, you can charge more. For example, experienced standardized testing tutors (think the SSAT, ACT, and SAT) can make around $50 an hour.

The great thing about online tutoring is that you have the potential to increase your rates as you gain more clients and the success of your tutoring spreads through word of mouth. As you become more experienced, people will be willing to pay more for your expertise and your proven ability to help students improve.

The biggest thing to remember about making money as an online tutor is that you set your hours. If you’re looking for this to replace a full time job, you should be putting in roughly 40 hours a week. If you just want to make some money on the side, you can dedicate less time to tutoring. Your income will reflect the hours you put in since tutoring is typically a per-hour job.

What educational requirements and experience are necessary to work as a tutor?

There’s no specific education requirements to becoming a self-employed or freelance tutor. Tutors can come from anywhere, but they usually have a college degree or lots of professional experience with a subject.

Many tutors are people who hold a college degree in a specific field, are very passionate about a subject, or have previous teaching experience. Even if you don’t fit one of these descriptions, there’s still plenty of opportunities for you to become a tutor.

As long as you have a demonstrated interest and understanding of a subject you can become a tutor. For example, if you have a college degree in chemistry, you can become a chemistry tutor or general science tutor. If you lead a book club and have special knowledge of classic literature, you could be a great English tutor. Maybe you speak a language or two, so you could help local students practice and improve for their language class. Do you write for a living or have a writing-heavy job? Being a writing tutor could be a good option for you.

If you want to join an online tutoring agency, you might run into some educational or experience requirements.

Typically these companies will ask to run a background check since you’ll be working with kids. Even if you want to work as a freelancer, it’s a good idea to get a background check just to give your clients ease of mind when they hire you.

There’s still flexibility in educational requirements at most tutoring agencies. They typically don’t expect you to have a certain degree or professional experience, but they can ask for tutoring or teaching certifications.

There are lots of tutoring and teaching certifications out there, so if you’re looking to join a tutoring agency (or just build your freelance resume) it’s a good idea to do some research. Look for common accreditations from reputable organizations, like the National Tutoring Association or universities (University of Massachusetts and others offer tutoring courses).

What skills should a tutor have?

Online tutors should have many of the same skills that teachers have, with some extra work-from-home experience. Take a look at this list and see if online tutoring is the right job for you.

  1. Communication skills. One of the most important parts of teaching is being able to communicate well. This doesn’t just mean explaining concepts clearly, but also giving feedback to students, communicating results with parents, and listening to the needs of the student or parent.

  2. Subject expertise. What is your tutoring niche? You need to determine where you have the most subject expertise and sell your tutoring services based on that. Find a topic that you know a lot about and leverage your unique experience to help you teach struggling students.

  3. Compassion. Most of the time people turn to tutors because they’re struggling with a concept or a subject. Tutors need to be understanding and support their students until they are successful.

  4. Tech savvy. As an online tutor, the computer and various online tools will be your classroom, so you need to know them well. One of the selling points of an online tutor is that they know how to teach kids over the internet much better than traditional teachers, so make sure you know all the digital resources available to you as an online tutor.

  5. Organization. Keeping all your lesson plans, homework practice, and students organized will make you a successful tutor. Stay on top of your schedule and make sure you’re well-prepared for your lessons so you can have the maximum impact on your students.

  6. Digital marketing. Getting started as an online tutor can be difficult since there’s a lot of other tutors out there. Being able to define your niche, brand yourself, and market your services is a key skill to being a successful online tutor.

  7. Managing learning styles. Each student learns and absorbs information differently, so it’s your job to know the different learning styles and modify lessons or homework to fit the individual needs of a student. This is what sets tutors apart from traditional teachers.

  8. Patience. Online schooling can be frustrating for students and tutors, so stay patient as your students work through lessons. You might have to explain a concept a few times in a few different ways for it to sink in, so positivity and patience are key to being a good tutor.

  9. Time management. As with any flexible job, time management skills are important. You need to be able to prepare lessons, review homework, meet with students, and give updates to parents for multiple students. Good time management will help you stay organized and professional.

How flexible is a work-at-home tutor job?

Online tutoring is one of the most flexible jobs you can have. If you work as a freelancer, you get to set your hours, your schedule, how many students you take on, what your rate is, and what subject you teach. It’s the perfect remote job for people who want to work from home.

As a freelance tutor, you can set your services, hours, and type of instruction on your own. Some tutors prepare entire lesson plans and homework for their students whereas others are around for extra support when students need it.

This ultimate flexibility makes tutoring a great work from home opportunity. You’ll find that tutoring gives you a great work-life balance since you set your schedule.

Sometimes you do have to sacrifice some flexibility for your students’ needs, like if they have a big test coming up and they want to have an extra session with you outside of your hours. These situations tend to be rare, but they can occur from time to time.

If you want to work for a tutoring agency, you may have to adhere to their schedules. Depending on the agency, they can set times for you to work based on your availability or decide which subjects you’ll be tutoring.

But, if you go the agency route, the bright side is that for most of the time you’ll have more consistent working hours and more consistent income. It’s a tradeoff that you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of for yourself.

Where to look for online tutoring jobs

Depending on whether you want to go the freelance or agency route, there’s multiple places you can find online tutoring jobs.

For freelancers, sometimes people post on job boards or babysitting forums that they’re looking for a tutor. You can apply to these, or even ask your friends if they know anyone who needs a tutor. Sometimes word of mouth can be the best place to start.

Another way to find clients is to put your skills out there and wait for someone to find you. You can create a website that details your experience, services, and rates and work to get your name out there.

For agency tutors, looking for agencies to join is the best way to go. Try applying to big companies like Chegg, Tutor.com, or Studypool. They each offer different schedules, requirements, and teaching styles so do some research before applying to make sure it’s a good fit.

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Chris Kolmar

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Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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