How can one become a professional tutor?
I have done a lot of tutoring in my spare time, but I am considering to make it a career choice. How can one make tutoring a stable, professional job? Are there any certifications required?
Hello Anna! Thank you for this question. I started working as a tutor in 2001 as part of my campus job. I worked as a writing tutor for 2 years during college with 10-12 hours per week. Then, as I proceeded to law school, I spent another 2 years working 20 hours per week as a writing tutor. Although I became an attorney, I still enjoy tutoring on a part-time basis so from 2014 until now I have been working as a professional tutor for Fisher College. Nowadays I do 4 hours per month only due to my busy schedule and mostly tutor in writing, accounting, criminal justice and economics.
I absolutely love tutoring because I find it rewarding and enriching both for the student and for me. I believe that in order to become a strong professional tutor you need to choose a subject or subjects where you did well, attend training in teaching and public speaking, work on your communication skills, be patient and, most importantly, keep tutoring. You will meet students with different stories and backgrounds and some may have learning disabilities or may share personal fears. The key is to listen to them and communicate openly so that you identify areas of improvement. No certifications are required but you may obtain them if your mentor or supervisor recommends that.
Alexandra recommends the following next steps:
After utilizing many tutors throughout high school and college, I knew what it took to become a good tutor and connect with the students. It is important to identify a subject matter you would like to tutor and an age group you would like to target. Experience volunteering with students at multiple age groups is a really good step towards understanding the market you want to target. It is also important to find a community that is in need of a tutor. A lot of high-income families tend to hire private tutors to help their children study for college entrance exams as well as AP classes. A lot of low-income families do not have that opportunity; therefore, schools will hire tutors to help students in specific subject areas after school. I eventually became an accounting tutor for the athletics department at a college. This was a great place to start for me because I got to work with student-athletes who have an incredible work ethic. With that experience, I was then able to target a nearby high school and market myself as an accounting tutor who also tutors the college students. This was a great marketing technique because most inquiries were coming from seniors in high school and they liked the idea that I also tutored the college's student-athletes. I think if you start small, you can eventually grow your network of clients and build a professional reputation for being one of the top tutors in the city.