With demand for private tuition as high as ever, now is as good a time as any to take the leap and become a physics tutor if it’s something you’re interested in.
Physics is an endlessly fascinating, yet challenging subject. This makes it both difficult, but very rewarding to teach should you have a keen interest in the field.
Becoming a science tutor of any kind brings with it a series of challenges since it can be a very logical subject with hard-to-grasp concepts and complex mathematics, but the benefits can make it a worthwhile profession to pursue.
Due to the difficult nature of the subject, you will have to be on top of your game as both a keen student of physics with an in-depth knowledge of the discipline, but also in terms of your ability to simplify potentially complex topics.
On the plus side, you might not struggle to find students as much as tutors of other subjects, and you will likely be paid handsomely for your services.
In this article we’re going to explore the most important steps and criteria for becoming a physics tutor, including everything from the necessary qualifications, to how you can best market your services to drum up business.
What qualifications do you need?
Before anything else, it’s important to know what qualifications are necessary to get your foot in the door as a physics tutor, and which ones can propel your career in the right direction and set you apart from the competition.
You might be surprised to learn that you don't need any qualifications to become a physics tutor.
Yes, that’s right, you can start your career as a physics tutor without ever having been to university or obtained a qualification.
However, this of course isn’t ideal.
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective student for the moment and ask yourself if you would be likely to choose to take classes with an unqualified tutor of one of the most complicated subjects out there.
The answer is probably going to be a resounding no.
For that reason, you’re going to want to at least have some type of qualification.
A good rule of thumb is to have a qualification which is of a higher level than the level you want to teach.
If you plan on teaching A-level physics, then a university degree is preferred. If you want to teach GCSE physics, then a solid A-level grade in physics should suffice.
Aside from these academic qualifications, you’ll probably want to get your hands on some form of teaching qualification.
Your credibility as being proficient in the field of physics isn’t in doubt if you have the academic qualification to back up your knowledge of the subject, however just knowing physics inside and out isn’t enough to convince some people they should take classes with you.
Being great at a subject doesn’t automatically make you a great teacher of that subject.
To really boost your chances of success as a physics tutor, both in terms of the amount of referrals you get and students you attract, study for a qualification like a PGCE or another similar teaching qualification
What skills are beneficial as a physics tutor?
As I mentioned earlier, distilling complicated topics that arise with the study of physics isn’t an easy task.
One of the ingredients that makes a great tutor is a desire to constantly learn and stay abreast of the topic you teach.
If you want to be a physics tutor then, you must be a great learner, and be committed to putting in the hours to stay atop of the latest developments in the field.
As well as needing to study consistently, you’ll find that how you are able to 88communicate complex ideas to another person plays a big role in your success as a tutor.
Something that is perhaps brought up for every job is the need for good communication skills.
However this is perhaps never more true than it is for a physics tutor.
If a student doesn’t understand your initial explanation of a theory or concept, then you will have to demonstrate adaptability and an awareness of different learner styles to get your point across effectively.
If you have a student who prefers learning visually, then you can attempt to incorporate video into your classes to help them wrap their heads around difficult subjects.
If they recall information better when they explain it to other people, then you can organise an exercise at the end of each class where they try to summarise and explain the subject back to you as if they were the tutor.
The skill to learn what learning style your students thrive in is an important one, and shouldn’t be underestimated should you decide to become a physics tutor.
What role does experience play in securing students?
Experience is something that absolutely shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to tutoring.
The only thing more reassuring than taking classes with a highly qualified tutor, is taking classes with one who has already accumulated a wealth of experience teaching physics.
I like to think of the example of music to understand the importance experience plays in securing students. Given the choice between music lessons given by an established musician who has toured around the world and made a name for themselves, as opposed to someone who has plenty of qualifications to their name, I’d like to think a lot of people would opt for the former.
Experience counts for a lot, and can even make up for a lack of qualifications, or even skill in some cases, since it will make you more trustworthy as a tutor.
If you have experience, then you will likely have a number of students that can vouch for you as a tutor, or provide you with referrals that lead to more students taking classes with you.
If you don’t already have experience, then you can test your tutoring out on friends and family members, to hone your teaching skills and get feedback as to how you can improve.
You could also offer up your services for free in the beginning just to get your name out there, and potentially land some referrals from giving solid classes.
Advertise a free group class at a local social hub, and pull out all the stops to leave a lasting impression, and you will surely do a lot for your brand.
What’s the best way to market your services?
Another hugely important factor to consider if you’re looking to become a physics tutor, is how you are going to market your tutoring services, and reach as many potential students as possible.
There are 2 ways to advertise your classes: locally and through the internet.
Using both the offline and online mediums to promote your business will give you the best chance of finding students.
Your best bet when it comes to advertising locally is to create some eye-catching posters, leaflets, and/or business cards to spread the word of your classes in your local community.
Target universities, town halls, libraries, and other social hubs within your local community to reach out to as many people as possible.
Word of mouth is also very effective.
Make sure you bring up your tutoring services to friends and family, since they might know of people who need physics tuition and can point them in your direction.
Finally, while not everyone’s best option, you could decide to register with a local tutoring agency.
A tutoring agency will take a commission from each lesson you give, but will provide you with ongoing business and help take care of the administrative and marketing sides of things.
The preferred route of many private tutors these days, advertising online is a highly effective way to reach out to a large number of people in a short amount of time.
Posting ads on tutoring websites can be effective, as can posting them to more general sites like Craigslist.
However, if you prefer to focus solely on the teaching side of things, then you might consider signing up as a tutor with Superprof.
Our online teaching platform is designed in such a way that students will find you, rather than the other way around, leaving you to focus on what really matters.
This approach will also allow you to work online, from the convenience of your own home!
The last effective way to advertise your tutoring services online would be to establish an online presence for yourself and create your own brand.
Make a website, write regular blog posts about physics offering free value to readers, and engage with fans on social media, and you could establish a name for yourself as a popular physics tutor.