So, you want to become a tutor, eh?
Private one-to-one tuition is known to be the most effective and productive method of learning at all levels of academic or creative development. It helps students build skills, confidence and enthusiasm in their subjects, three things which lead to increased academic success.
That is why the personal tutor industry has become a booming business, with academic hopefuls and/or their parents spending billions of pounds annually to ensure student success.
The focused attention and tailored guidance of private tutoring jobs can help students realise their full academic and creative potential as well as teaching them valuable study skills that can be used later on in their education and career.
That tailored guidance comes from people like you, who are passionate about helping others and a firm believer in the benefits of education.
There are a few things to consider when starting up as private tutor, and our how-to guide will take you through the various steps to get you on your way. Before you become a home tutor, have a read through the different sections on:
Come along now, as we give tips, pointers and helpful hints on establishing yourself as a tutor, building your tutoring business and finding shortcuts to make the logistics of your career move smoother – or, at least, less daunting.
Is tutoring ticking your boxes? Have a look at our guide and FAQs to help you get started. Source: Visualhunt
It goes without saying that tutoring in academic subjects is the bread and butter of the tutoring industry, and for good reason!
Historically, in-home tutoring centred on teaching mathematics, science and, in our country, English. That trend continues still today, in tutoring centres all over the country and in private tuition.
The distinguishing feature of academic tutoring is that there must be a measure of demonstrable proficiency on the tutor’s part.
After all, nobody is going to hire a French tutor who does not speak the language or a calculus tutor who cannot solve linear equations.
By that we don’t mean that every tutor must hold some level of a degree; only the s/he is proficient in his/her discipline at least one year beyond the level s/he wishes to tutor at.
We will explain this principle more in depth in a further segment. For now, just understand that, if you intend to tutor in any academic subject, you should have some sort of provable knowledge in that subject.
Are academic subjects the only ones people seek tutoring for? Goodness, no!
Today’s keen minds hunger for experience, and knowledge is the most effective way to gain it. To that end, eager students seek out tutors for:
In short, whether you are a highly degreed professor or talented in some niche skill, there is a market for you to tutor.
Tutoring services usually look for:
Empathy, creativity and a love of teaching makes the best tutors! Source: Visualhunt
An independent tutor must embody and magnify the same qualities that make a great agency tutor.
Why is empathy on the list?
Students today are subjected to so much pressure: to compete for top marks, to succeed academically… and then, there is social pressure from their peers.
The best tutors minimise the stress of competition by placing their focus solely on their students’ success. To do so effectively, they must realise the importance of every student’s unique situation and find positive ways to overcome the challenges s/he faces.
Learning disabilities or any other disadvantage can have a devastating effect on a student’s academic performance and/or social acceptance.
For this reason alone, tutors must be sensitive to their charges’ needs, ensuring that not only are they given the intellectual tools they need but the moral and emotional support to thrive.
Students need easy and accessible ways of learning to boost grades and cultivate skills.
A private tutor or E-tutor should have the experience and resources to provide their students with personalised guidance that is designed to suit the student’s learning requirements on an individual basis.
Whether it’s helping with homework or preparation for primary SATs, secondary school GCSEs, A-level or college entrance exams, you will need to mentor your students to help them reach their desired level of academic success.
Your teaching strategies must be specific to your student’s learning style to help them with their strengths and weaknesses.
A good private tutor will have many important qualities in both a personal and pedagogical capacity. As a tutor, interpersonal skills and adaptability are key: your approach must be versatile and personalised to the individual student. You must be able to motivate your student to achieve their best.
This might mean finding creative and innovative ways of helping your student learn. A great tutor, above all, will be able to analyse how their student learns and adjust their tuition accordingly.
It’s up to you to listen to your student’s primary concerns and goals whilst also taking stock of their strengths and weaknesses in terms of their knowledge as well as their skills when working with them in order to determine the best way forward. For example, if you’re covering a topic where the student is able to remember key facts but is struggling to remember small details, try and incorporate their strong points into learning new information.
Recognising a student’s particular learning strategies will put you ahead of the game in your lessons. If you’ve noticed your tutee responds well to visual learning aids, or they’re better at absorbing the information they’ve said out loud several times, use visual or auditory teaching methods during your sessions. Not only will this help them to remember the all-important lesson content for exams, but it will also help them to understand their own learning style in a way that will help them long into their adult life.
Things like getting familiar with syllabuses, textbooks and exam formats can also help you better tailor your tuition to the student, so do your research on what teachers and exam boards are looking for as well as how grading systems and mark schemes work.
Good communication skills are key to making your one-to-one tutoring session successful and rewarding, so asking your student about their own experience of the national curriculum in the classroom can give you some clue as to the direction you need to take in teaching it.
You must also think about the kind of private tutor you would like to be. Will you work in your own home, or visit students? Do you want to tutor exclusively privately or offer to teach a small group too? Will you need to travel? How far are you prepared to go? Or will you work from home and tutor students online from your computer?
The trend these days is more toward online tutoring Soutce: Pixabay Credit: Cuncon
Don’t forget that as a self-employed tutor, you are essentially running a business, and it’s up to you to build a good reputation for that business. Investing your time and money in your tutoring services is investing in yourself, so you can’t always afford to cut corners.
A great tutor will be flexible and fully equipped to run their own business. This might mean having a safe and appropriate living situation, or a reliable means of transport. You might require a computer with a webcam and have a proficient technical ability if you’re planning to offer online tutorials. It’s worth investing in good-quality technical equipment for your online lessons, including a high-quality external webcam and a good microphone. Although these can be pricey, they will ensure that your lessons run as smoothly as possible with no time wasted by preventable technical interruptions and help you build your reputation as a tutor who recognises that quality of their online stream can affect the overall quality of their lessons.
The most essential quality of a good private tutor is a love and passion for what they are teaching. You don’t need qualifications – just knowledge and enthusiasm.
If you have an energetic, encouraging character and good experience in your subject area, tutoring is for you!
Contrary to what many people think, teaching isn’t just about imparting one’s knowledge to others; teaching and tutoring are about showing students what makes the subject they are learning so exciting. We all know that learning is easy when you’re having fun, and that holding a genuine interest in a topic motivates you to delve deeper into it.
So, as a private tutor, it’s up to you to create a safe learning environment so you can make kids as mad about your subject as you are. Enthusiasm is infectious.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll teach a future expert in your field.
You may tutor a future expert!. Source: Visualhunt
You are not required to have any specific qualifications or experience to become an independent tutor in the UK.
That being said, let us now advance a caveat: if you wish to become an in-home personal trainer, you must be in possession of a valid Level-3 certificate.
Now, let’s explain that earlier assertion: you must be proficient in your discipline, at least to one level higher than the level you intend to tutor.
This is a rule of thumb that guides tutors in setting their limits on who they can tutor. What it means is that, if you are an undergraduate, you may tutor GCSE and A-Level candidate in exam preparation, homework help or general academic support.
If you are preparing for your A-Levels, it would be perfectly acceptable for you to coach a GCSE-level student for their ordeal.
In our country, tutors may be as young as 14, meaning they could legally tutor any pupil in early Key Stage 3 and below.
Being a private tutor requires a certain level of skill and expertise, and it is up to you to advertise your credentials accordingly and decide whether you are competent to tutor in a certain subject.
Above all, it is important to remember that experience and human qualities such as perseverance, enthusiasm and a passion for teaching are what really qualifies you to be a great tutor.
The above-mentioned instances aside, in general, tutors of a specific academic subject will have a background or qualification in that area, usually to degree-level.
Many tutors are professional teachers or ex-teachers, but it is not necessary to have any teaching qualifications to be a private tutor.
Some students prefer to have a tutor who is a certified teacher due to their knowledge of the syllabus and what exam boards are looking for in test prep, whereas others might find that their way of learning is better supported by someone with different experience and skills to offer, such as a recent graduate.
Tuition offered in more specialist subjects, such as IT and media-based skills, for example, tends to be provided by people with industry experience of working in that specific field, and they can be very helpful for students who are thinking about a career in that area.
Nonetheless, it is not necessary to have professional experience of the subject you wish to tutor. It is your responsibility to decide if you will be able to provide a beneficial, expert one on one tutoring service in your area of expertise.
Legal guidelines to know before becoming a private tutor. Source: Visualhunt
There are no legal requirements to work as a private tutor in the UK. It is therefore up to you, the tutor, to advertise your services and decide which precautions to take and which checks you may wish to have done.
As of 17th June 2013, The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have merged to become the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).
A DBS certificate is an official document proving that there is no known reason why an individual may not work with children or vulnerable adults.
DBS certificates are commonly held by tutors, particularly to show to parents and carers, although they are not a legal requirement. You must be 16 or over to have a DBS check.
Note: to teach in any school or tutor through any agency, you will be required to provide a DBS. In Scotland, that same document is called ‘basic disclosure’ and possession thereof is required of anyone who works with vulnerable individuals.
There are three types of check:
|Type of DBS Check||Price||What's Included|
|Standard||£26||Check for spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings|
|Enhanced||£44||Same as that standard check + any additional information held by local police that is considered relevant to the role being applied for|
|Enhanced with List Checks||£44||Same as the enhanced check + check of the DBS barred lists|
It generally takes around eight weeks to get a DBS check; the time it takes to process the check depends on the level of the check required, the accuracy of the details provided, and the police forces that need to be involved in the check.
The benefits of having a DBS certificate include making students, parents and other tutors feel safe and secure, and consequently attracting more students to your service.
Taking the time to get a DBS check also shows that you’re serious about the services you are providing, however little or often you may tutor, and it’s also handy to have if you’re applying for any other jobs which involve working with young people or vulnerable adults.
If you are self-employed, however, you cannot apply for a DBS check. There are alternatives to the DBS check, which include a free ‘subject access request’ which you can apply for from your local police station.
Recording and reporting your income doesn’t have to be difficult! Source: Visualhunt
One of the most important parts of working as a private tutor is reporting your income and paying your taxes.
How do you go about doing that?
As a private tutor, you are classed as a self-employed sole trader. Working as a sole trader entails certain responsibilities. You will need to register as self-employed with HMRC in order to report your yearly income and make sure you pay the correct Income Tax and National Insurance.
If you live and tutor in Scotland, you should register for Scottish income taxes.
As a sole trader, you will have to complete a self-assessment tax return every year after 5th April (when the tax year ends), which you can do online.
You must do this even if you are also employed elsewhere!
As someone who runs a business, in effect, you are personally responsible for its finances. In the same way that your full-time place of work sorts out the amount of tax you should be paying based on your earnings, you’ll need to do the same for yourself as a self-employed tutor.
HMRC offers more information about working for yourself, including advice on setting up as a sole trader and the appropriate forms to complete for your application.
Although you are not legally obliged to have insurance to work as a private tutor in the UK, the best tutors prefer to have insurance as a precaution or security measure to protect themselves and their business.
Public liability insurance covers the cost of claims made by members of the public for damage or injury that has occurred in connection with your business.
Public liability insurance is generally recommended for private and freelance workers, particularly for those who offer personal tuition at home or outside of their home as a means of protecting themselves against any legal liability, should an injury occur to a learner or damage occur to third party property.
Insurance policies vary between insurers, but public liability will normally cover you for incidents that occur on your personal property should you tutor in your own home, and incidents that occur outside of your home at an event or activity that you have organised, i.e. at your students’ homes or elsewhere.
Even if you will tutor exclusively online, it is a good idea to insure yourself.
Granted, you eliminate the risk of anyone tripping over anything in your home by tutoring online but what if you suffer an incapacitating illness?
The potential loss of income due to illness or injury is one factor that keeps talented tutors from diving headlong into the independent tutoring business.
The best way to safeguard against such an eventuality is to protect yourself with a comprehensive insurance policy.
The price of insurance also varies from insurer to insurer. There are many price comparison websites such as Compare the Market available to help you choose the right insurance company to suit your needs and price range. The cost of your insurance will usually depend on your insurance claims history and the nature of your work.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website contains lots of information and advice for creating a safe and legal work environment. It also has guidelines on the risks involved with working with young and vulnerable people – something you need to consider, especially if you’re holding lessons at your home.
For more information about public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance, or to help you decide if you might wish to have it, more information can be found on the Association of British Insurers website.
It is also crucial to remember that you are obliged by law to give a true and accurate description of the tuition services that you advertise.
Any marketing materials you use, such as business cards, flyers and adverts, or any descriptions of your services in online adverts must be factually correct and you should be able to provide proof of any experience or qualifications you claim to have.
This is another area in which Superprof can help both tutors and students. All qualifications that you claim to have on your online profile with Superprof will be verified by the Superprof team before they are shared with prospective students, but it is solely the tutor’s responsibility to provide truthful information on any insurance and DBS checks that you may have.
You must be completely honest with all skills, qualifications and successes that you claim to have. For example, you cannot say you lived abroad to learn a language if you did not, and you cannot claim that all your past students achieved A grades if it is not the case. Likewise, you shouldn’t fabricate any testimonials or make up any success stories from supposed former students.
Any experiences or stories of previous successes with past students must also be verifiable if you use them to advertise and promote your home tutoring services.
It is a criminal offence to falsify information of a service you sell. It is possible for members of the public to report misleading advertising to the Advertising Standards Authority, which can involve long and costly legal proceedings.
For more information on abiding by UK advertising codes and to make sure you are advertising responsibly, visit the Advertising Standards Authority website.
Taxes, insurance, advertising and other business expenses… where will that money come from?
How much you can earn as a tutor depends on many variables Source: Pixabay Credit: Cosmix
Unfortunately, there is no straightforward answer to that question because there are so many factor that influence your earning potential:
The upside of all of these factors is that they demonstrate that your business will be what you make of it.
Taking into consideration the factors outlined above, it is still possible to estimate average per-hour rates for tutors in general, across the UK.
City Average Rates per Hour London £25.55 Edinburgh £22.03 Manchester £21.35 Liverpool £20.53 Belfast £19.85 Glasgow £19.41 Coventry £19.32
You must keep in mind, however, that what you teach is a most important factor in determining your schedule of fees, as is the availability of tutors in your area that teach the same subject(s) as you do.
It is likely you will compete with more tutors for clients if you teach academic subjects than if you teach a specialised skill such as yoga or drawing.
Passionate and altruistic though you may be, just like the rest of us, you need to earn your living – unless you are independently wealthy. So, determining how much income your tutoring business needs to generate is a prime consideration.
It might be tempting to set your rates high, so that one hour of tutoring would yield the same income as a day’s wages working in a shop.
On the flip side, you might think that, as you are just starting out as a tutor, setting a very low price for each hour of instruction would attract a lot of clients.
Neither of these strategies are an effective way to set your hourly tutoring prices.
Unfortunately, there are no formal or official guidelines for establishing a schedule of fees for tutoring. Into that void leaps Superprof, to offer a couple of suggestions.
Naturally, you are free to set your rates however high or low you’d like but, unless you hit that happy balance where clients can justify the expense of tutoring with the benefit they derive from it, you will most likely price yourself right out of the tutoring market!
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many kids you can tutor: that makes your tutoring business forecast appear, on the surface, a bit gloomy, doesn’t it?
Let’s say you tutor 3 students every evening, charging £20 per session – that puts your daily earnings at less than the national living wage and you would have to work seven days a week to support your family!
Rather than work so much, why not adopt a few of these methods for earning more per hour?
That last suggestion may be a particular boon if you consider that students in Asian countries all work very hard to learn English and their being several time zones ahead of us means they are out of class and available for lessons as you’re drinking your morning coffee!
One of tutoring’s biggest quandaries is waiting for your students to be available for lessons which, if they are school students, means you must wait until after school to start your workday – leaving a generous block of time free that you could spend earning.
Should online lessons not appeal to you, you may make the rounds of businesses, promoting your communications skills learning programmes or pointing out their need for a peer tutor for their various continuing education programmes: you!
We’ll talk more about that in our next segment…
Advertise in and around your local community. Source: Flickr
To get started, put yourself in the shoes of a student and ask yourself some simple questions they may want to know the answer to, such as:
The right experience and attributes will make you stand out and get the interest of prospective students.
Advertising your experience and success is an important way of catching students’ eyes. If you have previous experience working in teaching or in an appropriate professional field to your subject, then your service will stand out amongst other offers, so be sure to mention this in your advert.
There are many other ways to advertise your tutoring service online. Classified sites like Gumtree, Freeads or social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are a great way to advertise and find jobs in and around your community, so make use of them!
Post on community pages as well as putting a small ad on your personal profiles. You may even want to start a business page for your services on Facebook and LinkedIn where students can find out more about what you offer as well as leaving reviews – this is a good option if you want to keep your personal and tutoring lives separate.
Building a Web Page
Not only does a web address give you ample room to promote your business by allowing you to expand on your knowledge, skills and experiences but it gives your potential clients a point of reference through which to view you. A website gives your business an authenticity that you might not have by simply posting a free advert on an online classifieds service.
Having your own web page permits you to share success stories of previous students through their testimonials, written for you to feature on your page. Not only will these show off your teaching skill, but they may also be useful to other parents and students who are looking for something in particular.
Distributing fliers and putting up adverts in your local school, shop, cafe or library are useful ways of advertising your service – but do ask for permission before you do this!
Posting small advertisements in busy areas is a great way to get your name out there; even if it’s not somewhere popular with parents, your ad could catch the eye of someone who will pass your name on to a potential customer.
You may even consider your local schools – they have bulletin boards too. And don’t forget student centres and dorms in your city’s local universities!
Speaking with family, friends and people in your local community can also help spread your services by word-of-mouth. For those who live in an especially close-knit community, word travels fast, so the power of word-of-mouth should never be underestimated. Make sure you tell everyone about your services. Even if they don’t require them, they may know someone who does.
When it comes to advertising, the idea is that you make your name a go-to whenever anyone thinks of tuition in your subject, so knowing how to market yourself is essential. As a self-employed tutor, you are running a business – so, build a brand! Whether it’s using a particular slogan on your flyers and web pages, or using specific teaching methods as a selling point, making yourself memorable will put you ahead of the game.
Writing a good advert is key to drumming up business! Source: Visualhunt
The key to getting the attention of the public is keeping it simple.
Only include information that will answer key questions such as:
The way in which you structure your advert is also crucial. To make your posters eye-catching and your fliers worth more than just a glance, the most important information should be the most noticeable – that means bigger and bolder!
Having the words ‘MATH TUTOR’ in bold lettering is a good start for math tutoring. After that, you can add the rest of your details as you see fit.
Remember – you must advertise accurately and truthfully. Your online profiles and advertisements must be a true reflection of who you are and what you have to offer.
Finding tutoring jobs isn’t always an easy task. Online platforms are a great way to access thousands of private tutoring jobs. Simply create your free profile and advertise your tutoring service to students across the UK and worldwide.
Superprof takes much of the worry and hassle out of finding clients and advertising by providing every tutor with a page uniquely theirs.
On your profile page, you may say as much as you’d like about your pedagogy, experience and qualifications. You may set your rates as you see fit, upload whatever documents – DBS, credentials and others so that your profile will show as ‘verified’ to prospective clients.
Free online platforms like Superprof offer an enormous online community, ensuring that your profile has a wide audience and that your prospective students are able to learn as much as possible about you before getting in touch. All you need to do is build your profile and make it live, and then the students looking for someone like you to tutor them will be able to find your advert.
To get the most out of free online tutoring services, you should aim to make your profile as detailed and attractive as possible and market yourself to the student in a way that makes you stand out from the crowd.
On our platform, Superprof, students are able to find and interact with private tutors who suit their needs in order to find the perfect match. The student will be able to view your tutoring profile, compare price and experience, and talk with various tutors to help find their ideal tutor to provide supplemental instruction.
Use your skills and experience to boost your students’ grades. Source: VIsualhuntUnlike other online tutoring platforms, Superprof lets you choose how you get paid and how much you charge with no commission fees. Every penny you earn for your time spent tutoring is yours to keep!
With Superprof, all payment for academic tutoring services is arranged solely between the tutor and the student. Superprof has no involvement with the payment process for tuition in any way. This gives you total control of how you wish to be payed and means you pay no commission for your services.
On Superprof, you can create a detailed personal profile to showcase your experience, qualifications, location, hourly rates and availability with this comprehensive guide, all at no cost to you. A complete and detailed profile will target and attract suitable prospective students so that you can start working and building your online tutor reputation immediately.
It’s as easy as that! Here at Superprof we pride ourselves on providing expert tutoring and a quality service available to everyone – this means tutors as well as students. Our online platform connects tutors and students of all ages and for all kinds of learning, either in person or online.
Students can choose from a community of over a million hand-picked, passionate tutors all over the world. If you like your independence, Superprof will be perfect for you. With no involvement in the payment process and no minimum teaching hours, you are in charge of your own business: you decide your rates and organise your own schedule.
To help you navigate the business side of tutoring you can also get help from The Tutor Coach, where you can find tools, guidance and resources to help you manage your tutoring business whether you want to turn it into a full-time career or as a part-time job to earn some extra income on the side.
You can start tutoring with Superprof in 6 simple steps:
Online tutoring jobs provide a secure and resourceful service to help you share your expertise with eager students. You can tailor your work to suit your schedule by choosing your hours – you can work from anywhere, anytime – all you need is an internet connection and a webcam.
Are you ready to start your tutoring business now?