Change a Life: How to Become a Tutor in Your Spare Time


Deciding to become a tutor be a great move if you are good at helping kids learn. You can help motivate and inspire students while making some money in the process.

To be a successful tutor, you need to possess good communication skills, mastery of a subject and patience helping your students learn at their own pace.

You’re thinking, “I get it, but how do I turn tutoring into a successful business?”

Look no further. Here’s how to become a tutor and make great money at it.

Starting at the Beginning

Many parents are interested in hiring tutors to help their children excel in school. And if you have expertise in a subject, you can make a career out of tutoring.

Tutors work after school, on weekends, during holiday breaks and during the summer break.

If you have strong knowledge in a particular subject like math or writing, you can put those skills to use to earn a living while helping students learn.

1. How to Get Started

Beginning a career as a personal tutor requires some planning and preparation. You’ll need to decide what subjects you want to tutor, the grade levels you prefer working with and how to learn the students’ curriculum.

You’ll also need to consider if you need to take any additional classes to get you started.

2. How to Choose Your Tutoring Subject?

Personal tutors are expected to master the subject areas they teach. When choosing a subject area you’d like to tutor students in think about the subjects you excel in and also enjoy.

Many tutors focus on subjects they majored in during college. English majors make great writing tutors as they’ve written many essays.

On the other hand, people who have majored in math can help students learn complex mathematical concepts and math word problems an area many students struggle with.

3. Choosing a Grade Level

After deciding on a subject area, you’ll need to choose what grade level you want to focus on.

You can work with students in elementary school, middle school or college, depending on your education and experience level.

Think of an age group you enjoy spending time with. If you love working with middle school aged children, that’s an age group to consider.

If you want to work with older kids, high school or college-aged students might be a better fit and more fulfilling.

4. Learning the Curriculum

Once you’ve chosen the grade level you wish to work with, it’s time to access the curriculum. You can learn about the curriculum in a variety of ways, depending on the level you’ll be tutoring.

For example, grades K-12 teach what’s known as the Core Standards that is a curriculum taught at most schools throughout the United States.

There are also many supplementary materials for these standards to help you with lesson plans and learning outcomes.

These standards are broken down by grade level, subject area and the specific standard, so you can find them for every grade, subject or lesson.

Creating your instruction based on these standards is a smart way to prepare for tutoring sessions. Your students might have the standard identified in their textbooks.

Technology in The Classroom

These days, technology is taught in classrooms, so it’s good for you to be up-to-speed on various websites and classroom technology.

In the younger grades, students use educational games and activities created for the classroom to help students strengthen core skills while engaging in a fun, interactive learning environment.

If you’re tutoring high school or college students, you’ll need to be up on the internet and social media skills, since many teachers have discussion boards where students post their homework.

It’s highly likely your students will have to create PowerPoint presentations for homework projects, so it’s good for tutors to know the technology to help their students with classroom projects.

5. Identifying Problem Areas and Assessment

The first time you meet with a student, it’s important to identify the problems your student is having with their subject. This will help you create a targeted lesson plan to strengthen these weaknesses.

Some students might be vague in their explanations, so you may need to communicate with parents and teachers to ensure your time with the student is productive.

After you’ve identified your students’ weak areas and teach the concept, test them with a few problems or questions to make sure they understand what you taught them.

Based on this assessment, you may need to adjust your instructional plan to enable them to understand concepts.

6. Communicating with Parents and Teachers

When you’re learning how to become a tutor, you’ll know it’s essential to keep the parents of younger kids abreast of their child’s progress.

It’s a good idea to communicate with them regularly. You can assign exercises that parents and students can practice at home.

Tutors also have contact with teachers which can give tutors perspective into the learning problems of a specific student. Since teachers work with students on a daily basis, they usually can provide valuable insight.

7. Tutoring Education

While colleges don’t offer tutor degree programs, it’s essential to have training in the subject you’ll be teaching.

Many tutors possess degrees in the subject they teach. English tutors usually hold a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in English. And math tutors have math-related degrees.

8. Tutoring Certificates

While tutoring certificates aren’t formally offered in degree programs at colleges, some associations and companies offer tutoring certificates such as the National Tutoring Association.

Tutoring companies, including Sylvan, Huntington Learning Center and Pearson offer professional certificate programs to their employees.

These companies offer classes to tutors before they begin working with students as well as seminars taught while they continue to work at the company.

9. Where to Find Clients

Once you’ve mastered your subject, it’s time to find some clients. Some tutors begin with a company like Sylvan Learning Center where they work under a supervisor with other tutors to learn the industry.

Other tutors begin by helping incoming freshman with subjects the tutors have mastered at school.

Other tutors post fliers in schools and colleges and work as an independent contractor. They are responsible for preparing their own income taxes either quarterly or annually.

The Takeaway on How to Become a Tutor in Your Spare Time

You now know how to become a tutor and the steps you need to take to get there.

Whether tutoring is your side hustle for some extra cash or you want to make it a lifelong career, becoming a tutor can be a rewarding experience for you and the students you teach.

Looking for more great content? From careers to finance, to relationships, to living a healthy lifestyle and more, discover an abundance of helpful articles on the Humble Musings Blog.