Tuition 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 the steady demand for tutors around the world continuously increasing, this is a booming profession with a non-exhaustive list of opportunities.
So, if you want to learn more about how to become a tutor, keep reading!
1. Do your research
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 needs to offer students with academic guidance, help them understand difficult concepts and prepare them for upcoming exams.
To do this, it’s not only essential that they have expertise in the subject they teach but that they’re also familiar with their student’s educational curriculum and syllabus to supplement their lessons.
Another considerable part of being a tutor is its interpersonal aspect. They need to be able to cooperate with students of different ages and learning styles, build trusting relationships with them and understand their individual needs. It’s crucial, then, that you’re approachable, perceptive and, above all, a good communicator.
2. Master your subject
It’s essential that you can demonstrate your expertise in the subject you want to teach, whether it’s maths, English, science or a foreign language like French or Spanish.
While a high school diploma is enough is enough to get started, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in the field you want to teach in will always give you an edge over the competition. You could also complete a master’s degree if you want to specialise in a specific area of your studies. This will help you become a master of the subject you want to teach, and it will allow you to teach it with a lot more authority.
Alternatively, you could pursue a bachelor’s or master’s in education, which will be a great asset to you. After all, you not only need to specialise in a subject but also be aware of the needs and requirements of the age groups you want to teach.
3. Sharpen your skills
As a tutor, you’ll need a specific set of skills to guide your students.
As you focus on enriching your subject-related knowledge, then, you should also place emphasis on developing other interpersonal and soft skills that will enable you to communicate and work with your students fruitfully. Being personable and approachable will create an open channel of communication between you and them.
When it comes to interpersonal skills, tutors should have patience – especially when working with young learners or students with learning disabilities, or when teaching a difficult subject. Perceptiveness is also crucial, as you need to be intuitive about your students’ needs – indeed, each student will require personalised guidance and will have a different way of learning.
As for your soft skills, creative thinking and organisation are vital as not only do you have to put together lesson plans but also make lessons interactive and engaging to accommodate your students’ working styles.
The good thing about tutoring is that you can gain valuable experience through volunteering opportunities, both online and offline and. You can also offer informal tutoring sessions to close friends and family. Through this sort of hands-on experience, you can hone your skills and start developing your own teaching style, which brings us to the next point…
4. Find your teaching style
As you begin to acclimate as a tutor and sharpen your skills, you will also begin to refine your personal style of teaching. Of course, your intuition and personality will also play a major part in this and, with time, you will start understanding what approach feels more natural to you.
Generally, there are five main teaching styles:
- The Authority method – also referred to as the lecture style, learners sit and listen to their tutor discuss a topic while taking notes
- The Demonstrator style – teachers use multimedia, presentations and other material to show their students the information they need to know
- The Facilitator style – enables students to develop critical thinking by encouraging self-learning and self-discovery
- The Delegator style – learners have a proactive role in their learning by collaborating with their peers while the teacher observes and delegates tasks
- The Hybrid method – also known as blended learning, it integrates personalities, preferences and styles together into the teaching process
While having a personal style is crucial, you must also be flexible with your approach. Sometimes you will have to adapt to your students’ needs. So, while you may not be a big fan of using visuals in your tutoring sessions, some students might find it easier to digest information with pictures, charts and graphs. Plus, in the scenario where you’re tutoring on a one-on-one basis, some teaching styles may be harder to employ.
5. Get certified
While there are no specific qualifications needed to pursue tutoring, there are various certifications you could obtain, which can help you get the recognition you deserve.
For example, you could complete a tutor certification programme or undergo teacher training. These 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 your aim is to work as a tutor within a school, then your employer might require you to be officially licensed.
As you build on your professional experience, you can become an advanced-level tutor by completing the right qualifications. There’s also the possibility of becoming a teacher with the right training, if that’s something that you’d want to eventually pursue.
6. Search for job opportunities
When it comes to finding work as a tutor, you won’t be short of options. Indeed, there are plenty of job opportunities out there that will cater to your personal preferences and working style.
Most tutors start out by working on a freelance basis. Once you book your first student, word of mouth marketing could mean you’ll have a regular flow of students which you could teach in groups or one-on-one. To get you started, you could search for opportunities on job boards, contact local schools or create an online ad to help you recruit your first pupils.
Alternatively, you could get a job at a tuition centre or a school which could guarantee you a steadier schedule and income.
You could also consider online tutoring as an alternative option. By joining an online tutoring platform you would definitely have more flexibility. There’re some great tutoring sites out there to help you get started, such as Studypool, Chegg and Skooli. All you have to do is sign up, set up a tutor profile and start connecting with students!
7. Set up your own tutoring business
If you’re business driven, then you could take the leap and set up your own tuition centre. Of course, it’s wise to gain some experience before you venture out on your own. Learning the ropes as a tutor and as an employee at a tutoring centre will give you valuable insights and knowledge that could benefit your business if you decide to take this entrepreneurial step down the road.
Plus, as you progress through your career, and if you work at a school or a teaching centre, you could take on more responsibilities as an educator or get promoted to more administrative tasks as well – which will definitely help you build on your entrepreneurial skills further.
Another wise move would be to expand your services and become a tutor trainer too. This might require additional qualifications on your part, but it could give you a competitive advantage and maximise your income as well.
Working as a tutor can be a fulfilling undertaking. If you do choose to pursue this career path, then you will have the opportunity to teach a subject that you’re passionate about, as well as help students improve their studies and form meaningful bonds with them. All you need is the drive and dedication to make it happen!
Are you considering a career as a tutor? What subjects are you interested in teaching? Let us know in the comments section below!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 13 December 2019.