How to Become a Tutor

Close-up of a tutor helping a female teenage student monkeybusiness / Depositphotos.com

Tutoring is a highly rewarding career path to follow. Indeed, helping learners with their studies and teaching them about a subject you’re passionate about can be very fulfilling and also a great alternative to the 9-to-5 regimen.

Plus, with a steady increase in demand for tutors around the world, this is a booming profession with a non-exhaustive list of opportunities.

So, if you’re serious about becoming a tutor, read on to learn everything you need to know about this exciting profession.

Is it the Right Job for Me?

Before you settle on this career path, you first need to understand what being a tutor entails and decide whether this is the right job for you.

Above all else, a tutor offers academic guidance to students of all ages and backgrounds, helping them understand difficult concepts and preparing them for upcoming examinations. To do this, it’s not only essential that they’re experts in the subject they teach but that they’re also familiar with their students’ educational curriculum and syllabus to supplement their lessons.

Another considerable part of being a tutor is its interpersonal aspect. As a tutor, you need to be able to cooperate with students of different ages and learning styles, build relationships with them and understand their individual needs. It’s crucial, then, that you’re approachable, perceptive and, above all, an excellent communicator.

The good thing about this career path is that you can try your hand at it on a part-time basis by tutoring your peers. This will give an idea of what tutoring is like and inform your decision further. You could also get different insights by talking to established professional tutors or reading reviews online.

What Qualifications Do I Need?

While there are no specific qualifications needed to pursue this career, there are various certifications you could obtain. It is essential, meanwhile, that you can demonstrate your expertise in the subject you want to teach.

Common tutor subjects at high school level include maths, English, science or foreign languages such as French and Spanish. In this instance, a high school diploma would be the minimum requirement to have as a tutor.

However, if you want to work with college students, then you’ll also need to obtain further qualifications. Either way, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the field you want to teach in could give you the kind of leverage you need to get started. You could also complete a master’s degree if you want to specialise in a specific area of your studies. This will undoubtedly provide you with in-depth knowledge of the subject and allow you to teach it with a lot more authority.

Alternatively, you could pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in educational studies, which no doubt will be a great asset to you. After all, you not only need to specialise in a specific subject but also be aware of the needs and requirements of the age groups you want to teach.

Meanwhile, while it’s not always necessary, you could complete a tutor certification programme or undergo formal teacher training. This will provide you with advanced instruction on key methodologies and teaching techniques, as well as give you more credibility as a professional tutor. Plus, if you aim to work as a tutor within a school, then your employer might require you to be officially licensed.

What Skills Do I Need?

As a tutor, you’ll need a specific set of skills to guide your students and help them with their tasks. Some of these include:

  • Curriculum awareness: Having knowledge of your students’ curriculum will help you craft individualised lesson plans that are in alignment with their syllabus. You’ll need to stay updated on these educational outlines and adapt your own material accordingly.
  • Organisational skills: Tutoring requires vigorous organisation and preparation. Not only do you have to put together lesson plans, but you also need to create material and find useful resources to support your lessons. On top of that, you need to stay on top of your scheduled tutoring sessions with all your students.

  • Patience: Patience is a virtue, as the old saying goes. It is also a vital quality for any good tutor. This is especially true when you’re working with young learners or students with learning disabilities, or when you’re teaching a difficult subject. After all, this is usually the reason they needed a tutor in the first place! So, it’s vital that you’re patient with the process, but also persistent.
  • Perceptiveness: Tutors need to be intuitive about their students’ needs. Each student will require separate guidance and will have a different way of learning things. As a tutor, you need to be able to identify these requirements and keep track of your pupils’ progress.
  • Creative thinking: To make your lessons interactive and engaging, you need a dash of creativity – especially when it comes to difficult subjects. Finding ways to accommodate your students’ working styles while keeping them engaged is important. This is a skill that is particularly needed with young learners, although a creative approach to learning is important, regardless of the student’s level and age group.
  • Interpersonal skills: Tutors need to be able to establish trust with their learners. Being personable and approachable will create an open channel of communication between you and your students, making it easier for you to carry out your lessons and identify their needs. It’s also essential for you to get to know your students as individuals, as this will allow you to form a closer bond with them as their tutor.
  • Enthusiasm: What sets a great tutor apart from a good one is their enthusiasm. You need to be able to make lessons interesting for your students in order to keep them engaged and help them learn faster. Your enthusiasm about the subject you teach is essential, too, as this is transmittable to your students, making tutoring a lot more enjoyable for everyone involved.

How Do I Land a Job?

There are many job opportunities out there. Depending on your own working style, you could get a job at a tutoring centre or school or even teach on a freelance basis. Search for opportunities on job boards, contact local schools or create an online ad to help you recruit your first pupils. If you want to get some more experience on your back, consider taking on volunteering opportunities, too.

Meanwhile, if you want to have more flexibility as a tutor, you could join an online tutoring platform. There’re some great tutoring sites out there to help you get started, including Studypool, which claims to charge the lowest service fees in the market at 20% and offers you the opportunity to earn up to $7,500 every month. Other sites include Chegg and Skooli. All you have to do is sign up, set up a tutor profile and start connecting with students!

Bear in mind that most tutoring websites require that you’re, at minimum, a student undertaking a degree in the subject you want to teach. This is to ensure that you have the necessary knowledge to help your students with their studies.

How Can I Advance My Career?

For tutors, career advancement can come in many shapes and forms. As you build on your professional experience, you can become an advanced-level tutor by completing the right qualifications. If you work in a school or a tutoring centre, meanwhile, then you could take on more responsibilities as an educator or get promoted to a more administrative role. There’s also the possibility of becoming a teacher, if that’s something you wish to pursue.

Meanwhile, if you’re more business-driven, you could take the leap and open your own tutoring centre. As for your online tutoring business, you could become a high-earning tutor as you gain more experience.

Working as a tutor can be a very fulfilling undertaking. If you do choose to pursue this career, then you will have the opportunity to teach a subject that you’re passionate about, help students improve at their studies and form meaningful bonds with them. All you need is the drive and dedication to make it happen!  

Are you a tutor? What advice would you give? Let us know in the comments section below!