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How to put a price on your skills for home-tutoring

From Hati, published on 03/05/2017 We Love Prof - UK > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > How does experience affect your rates as a tutor?

A flexible job which requires no formal qualifications? You can be your own boss and set your own rates? Where do we sign up?

The tutoring sector has expanded in recent years as parents are prepared to invest more than ever in their children’s educations to give them a head start and help them to succeed in an increasingly competitive job market.

In a 2016 study, the Sutton Trust found that the proportion of students who have received tuition in England and Wales has risen from 18% to 25% over the last decade.

Parents pay for private tutors for their childrens academic success Image ¦ For parents, it is important to invest in the education of their children ¦ source: Pixabay

In line with the rising demand for private tuition, the tutoring workforce is also growing. Individuals from diverse sectors are attracted to a profession where you have a flexible schedule and decide what you want to charge. All this freedom without any formal qualifications.

Experience is priceless, but it does have a cost

The latitude afforded to private tutors is undeniable. However when you decide to become a tutor, you a few key decisions to make to begin with. For many tutors, the question of how much to charge for private tuition is the most difficult to decision to make.

How do you put a Price on your own Time and Knowledge?

Setting an hourly tuition rates is difficult because there is no one-size-fits-all hourly rate for teachers and students. Tutors must not only consider the average rate for their subject in their region, but the level of the pupil, the style of lesson, and their preparation time too. Finally, they must decide how much their tutoring experience will be worth to a pupil.

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How much is your Experience worth?

When putting a price tag on your tutoring background be aware that we can group tutors into three categories:

  1. Professionals or experts generally work in the field that they are teaching and offer private tuition on the side. Professionals are valued for their extensive knowledge and experience of the field and learners benefit from their insight into the profession as these tutors can set them on the right path to work in the sector. ‘Professional’ means different things in different subject areas. In music this may mean a session musician or performer, whereas in languages a ‘professional’ might be a native speaker. Their advanced level and knowledge of the subject means that they ordinarily charge the highest rates for tutoring.
  2. Qualified Teachers looking for jobs after teaching have proven knowledge of their field and have studied teaching techniques. Although they may not be on the cutting edge of the field, they have a sound knowledge of the subject and are familiar with the school syllabus, tests, and governing body standards. As a result they can charge a substantial rate for their lessons.
  3. Undergraduates often take up tutoring as a part time job alongside their studies to gain experience in their subject matter. They are the least experienced of the three categories but their passion, enthusiasm, and motivation makes up for it. Student tutors are often suited to providing homework help as their relatability helps them to build positive relationships with younger pupils. Often the first choice for learners on a budget, student tutors are no less hard-working and can even act as role models for pupils. Due to their inexperience, student tutors usually charge the lowest rates for tuition.

It's a tricky business to find the right balance between too much and too little Image ¦ Striking the balance between too cheap and too expensive is a tricky business ¦ source: Visualhunt

Beware of Undercharging

Even if you have less experience, be careful not to undersell yourself. Although you may not wish to charge top rates for your tutoring services, charge too little and you won’t be taken seriously by potential pupils.

Do Formal Qualifications affect how much Tutors can Charge?

No formal qualifications are required for tutoring, however they can have an impact on how much you charge.

Whether you need qualifications or not depends on your student’s aims and learning style.

Qualifications are evidence of your understanding of the field and give you authority to teach your subject. Although a university degree is not necessary for tutoring, it is shown to have an effect on your rates.

Graduates earn more per hour for tuition than tutors who don't have a university degree Image ¦ Qualifications are not necessary for tutors, but can increase hourly rates ¦ source: Visualhunt

You can’t Teach what you don’t Know

As a tutor you have a duty of care over your students. This duty encompasses ensuring that your contribution to their learning is in no way detrimental to their development or academic success in a subject or activity.

Irresponsible tutoring can lead to academic failure in some cases and injury in others, such as in sports tuition. For a student there is nothing worse than feeling like you’ve wasted both your time and your money.

School Support Tuition

To ensure that you are equipped with the knowledge to tutor a certain level of study, a qualification in your subject is desirable. A rule of thumb for academic support and homework help is that the tutor should have obtained at least one level above that of their student. For example a GCSE tutor should have obtained an A Level in the subject, if not a university degree.

This is a general rule and does not apply to every tutor. For example, undergraduates often make great A Level tutors as they have recent experience of sitting A level exams themselves.

Most importantly, guesswork is not an option. It is always better to admit that you don’t know something rather than to misinform your students. If you are offering university level tuition, you should consider whether your knowledge of the field is adequate to tutor this level.

If your knowledge exceeds your qualifications it is not the end of the world. However you should always be upfront with your students about your qualifications.

Sports Instruction

British governing bodies such as SportUK recommend an advanced level in the sport and a formal coaching qualification for sports coaches.

On SuperProf, sports coaches are not asked for formal qualifications. Above all a sports coach should have an in-depth knowledge of good and bad training practices in the sport to avoid injury.

This knowledge can be obtained through experience or through formal training, depending on the sport. Formal certification holds more weight in some sports than in others and takes the form of belts, badges, stars or certificates.

Qualifications differ according to the subject matter, and aren't necessarily a degree Image ¦ A qualification does not have to be a piece of paper ¦ source: Pixabay

Music Teaching

Similarly, music tutors require no formal qualifications to tutor their subject, but should have reached a higher level than that of their students.

According to the ABRSM, it is generally accepted that music tutors should have achieved grade 8 in their instrument. However there are many successful music teachers who have no musical qualifications. This is often the case in non-classical instruments, such as rock guitar or drums, where less of an emphasis is placed on formal exams.

Qualifications aren’t everything

Tutors without a degree aren’t expected to enroll in a 3 year university course to increase their hourly earnings. Having first-hand experience in the field that you are tutoring is valued highly by prospective students, even if you don’t have the certificate to prove it.

What’s more, having a good knowledge of the subject does not equate to being a good tutor because teaching is a skill in itself. This means that highly qualified professionals and experts don’t always make the best tutors despite having extensive knowledge of their field.

Some instruments don't require formal exams for tutors Image ¦ Official certification is valued more in some areas of music tuition than in others ¦ source: Visualhunt

Why does your Tutoring Background affect your wage?

The more experience you have, the more parents are willing to pay. This increases in your tutoring rate comes with certain expectations from your clients.

You Know what you’re doing

No one wants to be the guinea pig. Parents often look for experienced tutors in order to avoid being part of their teacher’s ‘learning curb’.

Your experience is proof of your competence as a teacher. This in turn gives parents confidence in your skills which means that you can set a higher price for your tutoring services.

Newcomers to private tuition may seek more experienced tutors as they are unfamiliar with tutoring practices themselves or have very specific learning styles. For these students, knowing that they are in capable hands is paramount. It is therefore vital that you give them confidence your abilities and in private tuition.

When it comes to academic tuition, parents are often looking for tutors who will provide individualised support to help their child achieve academic success. These students are expecting well structure lessons and study plans; thorough preparation and feedback on assignments; and a profound understanding of the curriculum. Certified teachers are often a popular choice for parents as they are knowledgeable about the school syllabus as well as grade criteria and exams skills.

Professionalism

When you charge more for tutoring, your students expected a more professional service. Professionalism as a tutor includes (but is not limited to):

  • reliability and punctuality,
  • individualized study plan,
  • adequate preparation for lessons,
  • thorough assignment feedback,
  • Identifying strengths as much as their weaknesses,
  • tracking of progress.

These practices should be observed by all tutors, however the expectations of you student will increase in line with your price tag.

Higher rates mean higher levels of professionalism from tutors Image ¦ Tutors should be punctual, reliable, and well-prepared for every lesson ¦ source: Pixabay

Good track record

Never underestimate the power of Word of Mouth! Your tutoring reviews have a huge impact on the rate that you set. For example, a 5-star tutor can generally charge more than a 1-star tutor in the same subject. The more mentoring you do, the more reviews you will have and the more students will trust in your abilities.

Don’t be afraid to ask your students to give you a review.

How to gain Experience

Don’t despair if you are at the lower end of the experience spectrum, there’s always room for progression.

When you’re tutoring you are constantly accumulating invaluable experience and becoming more accomplished as a teacher. Your rates should reflect your development.  Consider periodically review how much you charge to ensure that your price conforms to your experience, credentials, and to other prices on the market.

It’s important to ensure that you’re gaining the right kind of experience by adopting good tutoring practices. Work with your students to plan their sessions helps you to assess their needs, track their progress, and give them the best possible learning experience. You can also ask for feedback on your teaching style – that way, you may learn a little something too!

Outside of your experience, there are other factors affecting prices beyond your control. Read how your rates may vary across the UK and according to your subject.

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