Make $50 per Hour as a Tutor
By Steve Gillman - August 30, 2013
Maybe you're one of the half a million college graduates working for
minimum wage in the U.S. Or maybe a regular job doesn't fit
into your life right now, but you need some extra income. Good
news! If you have a college degree (and maybe even if you don't)
you can make $50 or more per hour as a tutor. You can even do
it online from home!
Flickr photo by City Year
What Kind of Tutoring?
The highest pay is in the "high stakes" areas, like
prepping students for college. For example, long-time tutor Allison Kade says SAT tutoring can
run $125 per session in many cities, and adds that "One
upscale Manhattan tutoring company offers private tutoring starting
at $195 per 50 minutes."
But there are many other types of tutoring. Tutor.com lists 40 subjects that they cover,
- Algebra I
- World history
- Essay writing
- English literature
- Earth science
you'll find tutors for all the usual academic subjects, plus:
It's up to you to choose your subjects, and to decide whether
to specialize in one or offer many, as some tutors do. At least
in a country where 73% of college graduates don't have a job related
to their major tutoring offers the opportunity to actually
use what you've learned.
You also have another decision to make about the "type"
of tutoring to offer. You can choose to tutor by phone and internet,
or see students in person.
How Much Can You Charge?
In general you get more for in-person tutoring, but you have
to keep in mind the time and cost of traveling to students homes.
Working for $25 per hour online might be better than charging
$40 for one-hour sessions that cost you a few bucks in gas and
an hour of back-and-forth time.
Many of the 1,100 tutors who list their services on TutoringServices.com offer only online tutoring.
Here are some rates from randomly selected tutors offering online
- Poetry (Elementary, Middle School): $25/hour
- Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry: $13/hour
- Business Law: $12/hour
- Statistics: $25/hour
- Basic Math: $35/hour
Versus these in-person services, again randomly selected:
- Writing Skills: $60/hour
- College essays $60/hour
- Psychology $40/hour
- Basic Math $15/hour
- Reading Skills $25/hour
Of course rates tend to be lower or higher according to the
tutor's qualifications and, in the case of in-person tutoring,
location. In other words, if you're the only French tutor in
town you can probably charge $50 per hour.
For an example of what's possible, I checked out the tutors
at Wyzant.com and found Regan C, who charges $85 per hour, has put
in 5,000 hours tutoring (various subjects), and has almost 1,000
What About Qualifications?
Strictly speaking you don't need a college degree to be a
tutor. Most clients want you to have one, but no law requires
it. If you can do the job and don't have a degree you might try
offering a low rate, and then raise your rate as you get glowing
testimonials from satisfied clients.
If your qualifications are limited, it can also help to sign
up with one of the online marketplaces that does skill testing and certification of tutors.
How Do You Sell Your Tutoring Service?
To start you can mention your services to anyone you meet
and hope for clients by word of mouth. Craigslist.com has a category
for advertising "lessons and tutoring."
But when students (or their parents) want a tutor, the first
thing most will do is search online for "math tutors"
or something similar. That's why you should probably sign up with Wyzant.com, the largest tutoring
marketplace online. Their site will be near the top of the search
results when people look for tutors.
At WyzAnt you can sign up for free and post your profile and
schedule, and set your rates. They take a hefty 25% of what you
make, but they say that traditional tutoring franchises take
60% or more, and, as they put it:
You don't have to worry about marketing, collecting payment,
or unqualified leads on WyzAnt. We take care of all the details
so you can focus on tutoring!
You not only save time and trouble by signing up with WyzAnt
or other online marketplaces, but you can probably charge more
to make up for the fee. People shopping for tutors on Craigslist
might be looking for a lower rate after all.
English, science, and foreign language tutors near me (we
live in a small town in Florida) charge $40 to $60 per hour,
which means they get $30 to $45 per hour after Wzant's fee, and
perhaps net a dollar or two per hour less than that after traveling
expenses. The fee is paid only when you get the clients.
Tutoring done this way is essentially a service business that
can net you $40 per hour from the first week and can be started