How to Become an Online Tutor

Illustration of a laptop screen showing a woman teaching an online course

Do you love teaching people but hate standing up in front of a class? Does the idea of controlling over 20 students make your palms sweaty and your heart race? If you’re nodding in agreement, you’ve come to the right place!

Within this article, we’ll teach you how to become an online tutor and share your knowledge in one-to-one virtual lessons. Say goodbye to presentation anxiety and hello to a calm teaching setting!

1. Get some training

If you’re not already qualified in your subject of choice, you’re going to need to get some training!

This could either be in the form of a bachelor’s or master's degree, or an online certification from a teachers association. For example, if you want to teach English as a foreign language, you will need an accredited TEFL qualification to do so.

Some tutoring companies may also ask for additional training, so keep this in mind when seeking out opportunities.

2. Explore your teaching methods

Now that you’ve decided to teach online, you’ll need to identify your teaching methods.

As you won’t have a classroom and a whiteboard to teach, you’ll need to decide which video conferencing tool to use. For example, Skype is a great solution, as you’ll be able to share your screen while you’re on a call and use its digital whiteboard function.

When it comes to sharing documents and homework, meanwhile, consider using Google Docs – it’s free, and you’re able to watch your student write in real-time! And if you’re teaching more than one student at a time, Google Hangouts is a great solution for an online tutoring session.

3. Seek out tutoring opportunities

Once you’ve established which tools you’re going to use, you’ll need to figure out your method of obtaining consistent students. Do you want to build your own business, work for a well-known tutoring service, or both?

By using a well-established platform, you’ll save time seeking students and trying to market yourself. That said, you’ll need to spend some time looking through your chosen tutoring service’s terms and conditions to ensure that it’s worth your while. As they take commission per student, you’ll need to find one with fees that are in your favour!

4. Create your business platform

The logistics to online tutoring aren’t quite the same as face-to-face lessons, meaning that you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to start and sustain a business.

So, if online tutoring is going to be your main job, you’ll need to set up a professional business website listing information on tuition, available slots, prices and payment methods. To avoid any disappointment, you could develop an accessible calendar where your students can book in their slots each week!

In addition to your website, you should invest in some social media and online advertising. Consider hiring a digital marketing expert to push your platform within search engine results.

5. Design your course

To stand out from the large pool of online tutors, you’re going to need to go above and beyond and create a course that differs from the rest.

Your curriculum needs to be engaging and interesting, so think of alternative teaching methods that are also fun. You could consider creating an interactive quiz or video to make your lessons more stimulating.

Besides creating a unique curriculum, you could also design an e-course that people can download and follow in their own time. Once you’ve done so, you can list your course on Udemy or other e-course site and watch your return roll in!

6. Prepare in advance

Whether it’s a classroom or online teaching, preparation is key! You’ll need to have a clear outline of each class which should be shared with your student or their parents. Besides, you’ll need to have all the materials ready and tested. For example, if you’re using an online web source, make sure that it’s still accessible before you start your class.

Another point that many teachers forget is to have a backup. online courses manager Thomas advises tutors to ‘prepare more than enough material for your scheduled lesson since there’s nothing worse than the lesson petering out five minutes before it is due to end – and with nothing up your sleeve’.

7. Manage your lessons

When teaching online, it’s harder to get an understanding of who is struggling or who has switched off 10 minutes into the lesson. To ensure that you have a productive virtual classroom, you’ll need to take extra guidance and mentoring measures.

Before starting the class, establish and enforce some classroom rules; these could include only one person talking at a time or requiring pupils to raise their hand before speaking. That way, each class member will be able to follow the lesson without any noise disruptions.

8. Market yourself

As mentioned previously, you’ll need a strong marketing campaign to push your skills and products, but you shouldn’t stop there! To get your name out, you could consider writing blog posts for your website as well as other well-established sites.

Meanwhile, forums like Reddit and Quora are a great way to meet potential students. By answering their questions and sharing your expertise, you’ll be one step closer to gaining a paying student, and you’ve already shown that you have what it takes with your free advice!

9. Sharpen your skills

As with any digital job, you’ll need to continue to broaden your skillset as new trends and tools emerge. If you want to stay ahead of the crowd, you’ll need to have an open mindset and test new methods when it comes to teaching.

Another way to expand your skills is through attending training seminars that offer new insights and inspiration. During these training seminars, you can also connect with other online tutors and share your experiences and methods.

You could also join accredited boards such as the European Foundation for Management Development, which will make you a part of a vibrant learning and networking community, giving you a source of additional online teaching information.

10. Attract more students

Now that you have all that it takes to become a great online tutor, you’ll need to attract more students to grow your business. To do so, you could gather testimonials and ratings from past students and place this information on your website.

You could also record a short video with information on your lesson plan and teaching style. And no matter what you do, always be approachable and helpful by responding quickly to any enquiries that may come your way.

As most teaching institutions have now moved to an online solution, the demand for remote tutors is higher than ever before. The key thing to remember is that, in such a digital age, your teaching methods need to continue to evolve. It’s easy to get away with following the same outdated curriculum in a classroom, but with the constant output of new technological tools, your lesson will quickly fall behind if you fail to keep up!

So, if you’re up to speed with the digital world, and if teaching is a large passion of yours, then this could be the perfect match for you!

How do you think online tutoring will evolve over the next 20 years? Are you an online tutor and have some other useful tips to share? Join the conversation down below and let us know!