How To Become an Online Tutor

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Online tutoring is an attractive career option for anyone who enjoys learning and instructing others. Online tutors educate their students in academic disciplines in a variety of settings, mostly through online programs such as video conference calls or interactive platforms. If you like to teach and have knowledge of a specialised subject or across multiple disciplines, working as an online tutor could be a career choice for you. In this article, we discuss what an online tutor is and what they do, skills needed, a tutor's responsibilities, their earning potential and how to pursue this position.

What is an online tutor?

Online tutors teach courses virtually in various subjects. They work with students and deliver specialized education depending on their needs. Tutors can be teachers, professors or individuals who have a specialized skill set within a specific subject. Online tutors are individuals who help students improve their skills in different areas of education. These individuals typically work with a certain subject and may also specialise in specific subjects, such as mathematics or science. Other subjects online tutors may teach include:

  • Reading

  • Spelling

  • Chemistry

  • Biology

  • Geography

  • English

  • Government

  • Arts

  • Foreign languages

  • Technology

  • Health

  • Physical education

What does an online tutor do?

Tutors provide additional academic instruction to students beyond what they learn from their primary teachers. They meet either one-on-one or with small groups online to supply personalized teaching and mentoring. They may help students improve their grades or improve their understanding of certain subjects. Some tutors also help students prepare for specialized exams. Additional tutor duties may include:

  • Prepare a schedule: The tutor might need to know how many hours per week the student is able to dedicate, what their skill level is and what their goals are to create a learning schedule.

  • Create an online course: Students who take online lessons may have a lot of options for learning content. Online tutors might create self-paced courses, tutorials on a wide range of topics from specific subjects like math or music or offer an individual teacher meeting for in-depth support.

  • Offer feedback: Tutors often provide feedback on a student's work and may provide grades or specific updates on what's next in their learning.

  • Communicate progress to parents, guardians or teachers: If applicable, an online tutor may communicate a student's progress to a parent or guardian or facilitate grades to a teacher.

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How much do online tutors make?

Tutor salaries vary depending on the subjects they specialize in, their level of education and their geographic location. The average salary for a tutor is $58,531 per year. Since online tutors can create their own schedules and decide how many students to teach, they may adjust their income to their own financial goals accordingly.

Related: 20 Part-Time Jobs That Pay Well

What qualifications do I need to become an online tutor?

Individuals may need to meet specific educational requirements to work as a tutor and may need additional training and certifications to work for certain employers. However, some online tutors work for themselves independently and may not need any specialised degrees or training, just knowledge and passion for the subject they teach. Other online tutor requirements may include:

Education

Tutors may hold an educational degree before they mentor students. Some university students may find work tutoring younger students online while they work toward completing their own degrees. As online tutors gain more experience and education, they may find more tutoring clients because of their accomplishments and experience in their specialised subjects.

Training

Tutors who wish to teach privately may not need any further training beyond their own specialised knowledge in their industry. However, to work in an online classroom for a company or reach new clients, tutors may need to pursue formal education training, such as a teacher's certification. To work for a tutoring agency or organisation, candidates may also be required to complete additional training required by their specific employer.

Certifications

Online tutoring doesn't require specific tutoring certifications for employees, but they may improve an individual's chances of securing a high-paying tutoring job or gaining more clients. Certifications provide advanced knowledge of teaching techniques and methods and may make a tutor a more attractive candidate. Research your industry for specific certifications that may be available.

Online tutor skills

In order to be a tutor, a candidate must be patient with students and able to provide them with the required knowledge so that they can learn effectively. Online tutors should have strong listening skills, good reading comprehension and writing abilities. A tutor may also be able to convey knowledge effectively so that the learner will comprehend what they are learning. They need to be able to communicate with learners in a way that is clear, concise and effective. Online tutors may need to have the following skills:

  • Excellent communication skills: Online tutors may need to excel in online communication and use visual cues, interactive lesson plans and digital chat platforms to communicate with students.

  • Ability to teach in a way that is engaging and effective: Tutors help their students understand their concepts and are able to understand the student's reasoning behind his or her answer.

  • A passion for teaching and learning: Tutors may use creative teaching methods like comparing two points of view, asking open-ended questions, giving homework and having one-on-one sessions with students to reinforce studying skills.

  • Ability to build rapport with students: Online tutors may need to find unique ways of connecting with students to encourage and support their academic journey.

  • Being able to create engagement and trust: Online tutors may need to build trust through an online platform in order to encourage students and create an engaged classroom.

  • Computer proficiency: Online tutors may need proficiency in a variety of computer platforms, including video conference software or online course websites, to deliver the tutoring sessions virtually.

An online tutor must be able to engage students with interesting content and encourage them through interactive activities. They should also possess a talent for problem-solving as well as patience and stamina for working long hours online.

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How do I become an online tutor?

Here are the most common steps needed to become a tutor:

1. Earn a degree or receive specialised education in a specific field

Tutors may need a completed degree to start online tutoring, depending on the company and its requirements. However, since some online tutors work independently, companies may choose to tutor online as soon as they feel they have enough education in a particular subject to teach others.

2. Choose a specialty

Most tutors choose to specialise in teaching certain subjects. These include English, math, science or other common courses. Someone who is fluent in Spanish, for example, may decide to offer Spanish language online tutoring. Each online tutor may find that they have unique knowledge or speciality to share and may choose to teach one or many subjects at a time.

3. Set rates and advertise

If a tutor plans to work independently, they can set their own rates and make their own advertisements. Tutors may need to research the average salary for similar tutors in their area, as well as local supply and demand to set an appropriate rate. Tutors can advertise on online job boards, post flyers in schools or libraries or register with online tutoring websites to find clients. Some online tutors create a website to advertise their skills that includes the following information:

  • Professional photograph: Consider using a professional photograph on your online tutoring profile to introduce yourself to clients.

  • Contact information: Ensure that up-to-date contact information is readily available, including a phone number and email address.

  • Specialities: Share your specialities for online tutoring, including any subjects that you're an expert in.

  • Pricing: You may also want to share pricing on your website to help users determine if you're tutoring is within their budget. However, you might share that information privately after you receive an online tutoring inquiry.

  • Testimonials: If you've taught others before, consider asking for testimonials to share on your website. Share results from prior clients to show that you can help your students achieve their academic goals.

  • Blog posts: You may want to add a blog to your professional website that includes relevant posts about your educational background, any topics of interest or examples of the types of content you teach.

  • Educational background: Create a personal profile on your website that includes your educational background and any advanced proficiencies that you've attained.

Related: The Essential Guide To Working Part-Time Hours

Is online tutoring a good job?

Online tutoring can be a skill-intensive occupation. It requires both teaching skills and the ability to interact with students on a personal level. An online tutor is expected to teach an individual or small group of students in a virtual classroom environment via online video conferencing software. Because of those factors, it may be a good position for someone who likes to teach others and wants the flexibility of a remote position. Online tutoring is a job that offers several benefits including convenience and the flexibility to work online wherever there is an internet connection.

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