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Private Tutor Career Guide

How to Become a Private Tutor

Private tutors have specialized skills in a single topic or several closely related topics. A student or family may hire a tutor to help them study for the ACT or SAT and aid in specific class subjects such as English, math, or history. Tutors have excellent communication skills and are experts at explaining difficult topics in simple terms. 

The tutor’s role is to understand the student’s needs regarding a specific subject, and explain the topic clearly and concisely. After explaining the subject, they work closely with the student to help the individual learn and master the theories and techniques. 

Unlike teachers who work with large groups of 20 to 40 students, tutors teach students one-on-one. Those interested in becoming private tutors are gifted individuals who have an aptitude for learning. By tutoring, they can share their love of learning with their clients. 

You May Be a Different Teacher When You Return in the Fall

What Is a Private Tutor?

A private tutor is an individual who teaches a student in a one-on-one setting and is an expert in one or several subjects. 

Students in elementary school, high school, or college may hire private tutors to help complete assignments, explain course materials, or ensure they pass difficult subjects. Families may also hire private tutors to ensure that their children excel in their classes. 

As a prospective private tutor, you will need to have a bachelor’s degree in the subject area that you want to tutor in. For example, if you want to become an English tutor, you will need a bachelor’s in English. 

Tutoring can often be an entry-level position, but some tutors grow their client list or work with certain students for long periods of time and can turn it into a full fledged career.

Tutoring vs. Teaching

Tutoring and teaching overlap in many aspects. However, there are several differences. 

On the one hand, teachers and professors must have degrees in education and pass a teaching exam and certification exam. After becoming certified, teachers work for several years as student teachers, helping in the classroom and observing the teacher. 

Once they’ve completed student teaching, the prospective teacher can apply for a role as a teacher in an elementary, middle, or high school institution. They are employed directly by a school or teaching institution. 

On the other hand, tutors only need a bachelor’s degree in a subject of their choosing, not necessarily a degree in education. They can begin tutoring directly after graduation, and some tutors begin their careers while still achieving their degrees. It is a relaxed position where you can set your hours and book your appointments. 


What Does a Private Tutor Do?

Private tutors respond directly to the needs of their clients. The students will have a wide range of needs, from brushing up on past skills to studying for complex exams. 

Additionally, students all learn in different ways — some students are visual learners while others are auditory. Private tutors must be able to understand and respond to their students to provide them with the best education possible. 

Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a private tutor include: 

  • Planning lessons for all students and clients 
  • Attending interviews for prospective clients 
  • Reviewing classroom topics, assignments, and curriculum
  • Assisting students with test preparation, research, homework, and other academic tasks 
  • Adapting lesson plans to fit the needs of the student and their specific learning style 
  • Providing students with additional learning materials and resources
  • Offering feedback and constructive criticism on projects 
  • Reviewing tests and discussing test questions the students struggle to answer 
  • Conducting practice tests and quizzes to assess students’ progress

All of the tutor’s engagement with students is meant to create an atmosphere of learning. They supply tools, resources, and tips to students to help them excel in their classes. 

Many tutors create their own schedules and may work as part-time or full-time tutors. Because of this, the day-to-day responsibilities of tutors may change depending on their expertise and workload. 

A tutor’s job may also vary depending on the subject they teach, their level of education, and their city. They must stay up-to-date on school regulations and offer a range of services to their clients. 

What Education and Qualifications Does a Private Tutor Need?

There aren’t rigid education requirements for private tutors. Instead, the tutor must have the right amount of education to tutor their students. For example, a high school student can become a tutor for those in lower grades, even though the high school student has yet to obtain a formal education.

You can bolster your resume and increase your number of clients by obtaining higher levels of education. Having more education, such as a curriculum instruction education masters degree, will make you a more valuable tutor and give you a reason to set higher hourly rates for your clients. This type of degree will give you insights on how to create curriculum and lesson plans for your students, giving you an edge over other tutors.

To be competitive, individuals striving to become professional tutors should graduate with a degree in their preferred field. A tutor’s education level helps to prove credibility and inspire trust for clients and students. Often, individuals who have decided against teaching large classes will become private tutors instead.  

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What Skills Does a Private Tutor Need?

The skills of a successful private tutor parallel the skills of a good teacher. The most important skills include: 

  • Patience: To be successful as a tutor, you must have the patience to work with students who may make the same mistakes multiple times. Patience will help you better understand the needs of your students. 
  • Communication: You must be a good communicator to accurately explain difficult subjects and ensure that your students understand your teaching style. 
  • Empathy: Sometimes, students struggle with class subjects due to outside situations. Having empathy will help you broach difficult topics and get through to your students. 
  • Curiosity: You must be curious and have a desire for contentious learning. 
  • Stress management: Managing multiple students can be stressful. Having stress management skills will make it easier to cope with a busy schedule. 

In addition, tutors are willing and ready to adapt to new situations. As a tutor, you will constantly be taking new clients and adapting your teaching style to fit your students’ needs.

How Much Does a Private Tutor Make?


The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports average salaries for tutors, teachers, and instructors. The average salary for these positions is $50,390 per year. The average salary of a tutor depends largely on their experience and location. Many private tutors work as freelancers, meaning that they can charge their clients per hour. Because tutors set their own fees, there is a wide gap between the lowest and highest pay-per-hour.  PayScale reports that the average private tutor earns $17.89 per hour. Tutors can choose which grade level to teach based on their personal preferences. Additionally, the tutor’s level of education will determine how much they can responsibly charge their clients per hour. 

What Is the Projected Job Outlook


The BLS reports that the employment rise for tutors, teachers, and instructors combined is 1.7%. In comparison, the job outlook for high school teachers (analyzed separately from tutors) is 4%. Teaching positions, including tutors, are stable because of the high demand for educational instructors. Additionally, as teacher shortages continue, students will continue to hire tutors to fill their need for one-on-one instruction.

Where Do Private Tutors Work?


There are four main job locations for tutors to work: 

-Online tutoring: Many tutors work online and provide their services through teleconferencing platforms such as Zoom. 

-In-home tutoring: Families of students may hire a tutor and request them to offer in-home tutoring. 

-Local tutoring: College students often request tutors to meet at local public areas or libraries to help with classes. 

-Tutoring organizations: Tutoring organizations offer resources to the tutors and may work in the client’s home, online, or at the organization’s office. 

Private tutors are often self-employed, working with a tutoring organization or volunteers. 



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