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How to Become a Tutor: Make Extra Cash Helping Students

Last updated: September 28, 2020
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There are plenty of subjects out there that are incredibly difficult for students to grasp. Calculus, biology, accounting, finance, and many other subject areas can give students trouble. But for some people, this curriculum comes easy.

If you’re educated in a certain subject, you can take your expertise and start teaching others. There are plenty of students and parents who are willing to pay for tutoring services. Tutoring is a popular way for college students and others to make an extra buck in their free time, and it could be your path to a financially and emotionally rewarding side gig or full-time job.

In this article, we’re going to show you how to become a tutor. We’ll go over how you can get set up, how you can find students, and how you can start making money today.

How to Become a Tutor

Tutoring students is a great way to earn money in your free time, especially if you’re a college student looking for a side job. Being a tutor is more than just a job that pays you for your services. As a tutor, you can truly master your curriculum and develop an even better understanding of the subjects you teach.

Becoming a tutor doesn’t require any formal training or formal education. As long as you have a comprehensive understanding of a certain subject area, you can start making extra money part-time at your own hourly rate that you’ve set.

Once you figure out which subject you want to teach, you’ll need to perfect your teaching methods and find students who are willing to pay for your expertise. Then the only thing left to do is meet up and carry out tutoring sessions.

Let’s take a look at how to become a tutor so you can start getting paid to teach students on the side.

Pick a Subject and Age Group

Pick a tutoring subject you want to specialize in and an age group you want to work with. What you choose will depend on your personal preference and which subjects you’re qualified to tutor.

Some people enjoy working with children and focusing on elementary-level subjects. Others prefer to work with fellow college students or adults who are learning higher-level curriculum. If you’re a college student, it may be easier to find other college students who need help preparing for exams.

The subject you decide to tutor will depend on what curriculum you know best. If you’re an accounting major who’s pursuing your Master’s degree, then you can tutor undergrad accounting students and help them learn a subject you’re already educated in. If you’ve always been great at math, then you can teach introductory math to younger grade school students.

Perfect Your Teaching Methods

Each tutor will have their own way of teaching. Your teaching methodology can be perfected over time, but you should have a pretty good idea of how you want to run your tutoring sessions.

You’ll need to determine whether you’ll incorporate interactive games and activities with your tutoring lessons. You can also decide to use teaching props and tools, like a whiteboard, PowerPoint presentations, or materials for interactive projects.

Before jumping into a tutoring session, you can review tutoring techniques that will help guide your lessons. You can also browse through these tutoring resources for you and your students to use before, during, and after your tutoring session.

Every student will have different ways of learning. Some will be more visual learners, while others react better to verbal explanations. One size will not fit all. You’ll need to alter your methods depending on each individual student’s learning style.

Get a Tutoring Certification

If you want to take your tutoring gig to the next level, you can seek out a tutoring certification. Getting a tutoring certification isn’t necessary, but it will help you become a better tutor and enable you to attract more clientele.

You can become a certified tutor through the National Tutoring Association. This organization offers several types of tutoring certifications that range from basic level education through to Master’s level curriculum. You can also get certifications in specific subjects like math and reading.

These certifications will give you tutor training that consists of webinars, workbooks, and activities to help you become a more effective and successful tutor. You’ll learn how to interact with your students and develop effective tutoring techniques to help your students learn to the best of their ability.

Find Students

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Once you’ve figured out what subject you want to teach and how you want to teach your students, you’ll need to find potential students who are willing to pay for your services. At this point, you can decide if you want to tutor students in person or online.

There are plenty of online tutoring jobs that will pay you to teach from wherever you’d like. Online tutoring companies, like Chegg, Cambly, and Studypool enable you to teach from the comfort of your own home and allow for a flexible work schedule. Online platforms easily connect you with paying students so you don’t have to go out and find clients on your own.

You can also teach students in person. This will require you to find students on your own. You can find interested students by reaching out to teachers, networking with classmates, or posting your services on Craigslist, Care.com, or local Facebook groups. There’s even the old fashion way of posting fliers in public places like university coffee shops or library bulletin boards.

Once you have a few clients, you can encourage your students to refer any other friends they have who would be interested in tutoring services. You could even offer a discounted rate for every new student they send your way.

Set Your Rates

You should be clear from the start about what you plan on charging students for your services. If you’re tutoring students who are learning advanced curriculum, then you shouldn’t be shy about charging a premium.

You should think about how much you value your time and energy. If you consider yourself a skilled tutor, then you can set higher rates. If you’re just getting started, then you might want to charge a lower rate at first until you work out all the kinks.

You should also consider who you’re tutoring. If you’re working with cash-strapped college students, you might not be able to get away with higher rates. To give yourself a frame of reference, look around at what other local tutors are charging.

Determine Your Payment Method

Before taking on any tutoring sessions, you should determine how you want to receive payment. If you’re tutoring someone in person, then they could pay via cash or through PayPal or Venmo. If you’re working through an online platform, payment is typically made through direct deposit or PayPal.

You should make it a habit to get paid right after you complete a tutoring session. This will ensure you never run into any problems with students who make late payments or forget to pay.

Choose a Place to Meet

If you’ve opted to teach in person rather than online, you’ll need to figure out where you’ll teach your students. Deciding where you want to complete your tutoring session will be up to you and your students. Some people don’t mind doing tutoring sessions in their home while others prefer to be in a public space.

If you’re tutoring someone for the first time, you could meet in a public place like a coffee shop or a library. Many libraries will have whiteboards, seating, and study rooms, to give you a productive space to tutor in.

If you’re giving private tutoring lessons to a repeat client who you’ve come to know and trust, you can decide to tutor in their home or your own. It all depends on how comfortable you are with your client.

Understand Your Students

Every student will have a different way of learning. Some may be visual learners who need to be shown how to do something on a notepad or whiteboard. Others need you to talk through content so they can develop a thorough understanding.

It will be up to you to figure out how your students learn best and then alter your teaching tactics to match their personality. Students will also react differently to different incentives, rewards, and criticism. This is especially true for younger, elementary-level students. Obviously, you’ll need to alter your approach if you’re working with high school students or college learners.

Communicate With Students and Parents

You should have an open line of communication in place with students and their parents if they’re young or adolescent learners. Students should know what they need to work on, areas for improvement, and areas they’re showing progress in.

If you’re working with younger students, you should always keep parents up to date about what you’re teaching and how well their children are doing. This can be addressed by giving routine progress reports after tutoring sessions. You can also receive guidance from students and parents as to which areas they should focus on, depending on which subjects the students are learning in school.

The better you’re able to communicate with students and parents, the more you can cater your tutoring services to their specific needs. If you’re able to help students learn and see results from your tutoring sessions, then there’s a good chance you can continue to get paid as their tutor of choice.

Land Your First Tutoring Job

Now that you know how to become a tutor, you can help students learn certain subjects and start making money in your free time. If you get enjoyment out of helping students learn, tutoring is an easy and fulfilling way to bring in some extra cash. Start posting your services around campus and lock in your first tutoring job today. If you’d like to research other odd jobs and side hustles, check out this guide to 10 other opportunities.

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