How to Get Started as an Online Tutor

Whatever skill you have, someone out there is trying to learn it. In fact, plenty of people will pay to learn from your expertise if you work as an online tutor.

Tutoring is an especially good choice for new graduates. It lets you monetize your knowledge of the academic system and the specifics of your program. But even if it’s been years since you graduated or never got a degree, you can still help others as a tutor.

In this article, we’ll teach you how to set yourself up for success with online tutoring.

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be an Online Tutor?

man giving qualified thumbs up with a macbook

Besides staying up-to-date on your topic, you need to have some tech skills to be successful at online work. For instance, you need to be comfortable writing and sending invoices, and using online payment software.

To be a freelance tutor, you’ll need some media writing and marketing skills. You can set up a client base by volunteering at a local school. This will also help you understand academic standards and systems, another necessary skill.

Finally, interpersonal communication skills are essential for a tutor. You will be dealing with people who are stressed, frustrated, or depressed. Your sessions won’t go anywhere if you lack empathy and listening skills.

Zoom on a computer monitor vector

You will need access to video conferencing software. This will often mean becoming a Zoom expert, if you aren’t one already. You should also know how to use Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, which are popular among students.

If your topic involves software, you’ll need access to the latest version. For instance, if you want to tutor in writing, you should have access to Microsoft Word and Google Docs. Try to get familiar with the most popular apps for your topic.

For hardware, you need a computer, a webcam, and a headset with a microphone. Good sound quality is essential, so don’t rely on internal mics from laptops or in-ear headphone sets. Unless your subject requires intense software, a laptop and a mid-range headset are enough.

Download: Zoom for Desktop | Android | iOS (Free, subscription available)

How Does Online Tutoring Work?

tutor connecting with her client via web conference
Wichayada Su /Vecteezy

Video conferencing is the most common way to chat with a student and share files. Freelancers who use this method charge by the hour, but tutoring websites may pay per client.

Some tutoring networks pay a fixed rate. Others let the student select a rate, and tutors can choose from available clients. Most sites that use this method will require you to meet a quota.

In some cases, you and the student will work out the specifics of your appointment. Other times, you will work through the website’s interface. In this case, they will typically train you in the program’s basics before you start.

Some tutoring platforms use the document sharing method. This is when a student sends or uploads a file, and the tutor returns it with feedback. The payment methods are similar to video tutoring, either at an hourly or per-client rate.

Lastly, tutors do a variety of jobs. Many tutoring programs also feature Q&A forums. These are where tutors can respond to quick questions from students. Some also hire tutors to create practice sheets and other student resources.

How Do You Find Online Tutoring Jobs?

Wyzant find tutoring jobs page

When searching for tutoring jobs, remember to keep your search terms flexible. For instance, some companies refer to tutors as Subject Experts or Mentors. Keep your expectations reasonable as well. You may need to volunteer for a while before you can take a paid position.

If you want to work or volunteer for a school, you will likely work for the Distance Learning team. Each school manages their student supports differently. Inquire at potential employers about where to send your resume. But this isn’t your only option.

There are lots of online tutoring websites you can work through. Look for a link called Jobs or Become a Tutor. It may be in the website’s footer. You apply like any other job, by sending in a resume and cover letter.

Both children and adults can benefit from tutoring, and everyone has some area of expertise to share. You likely already have most of what you need to start. This is what makes online tutoring such an accessible and rewarding job.

two persons sitting on chair and having an informal conversation
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