Private tutors teach a particular subject or skill to individuals or small groups who usually pay a fee for this service.
You could be:
- discussing with a potential student, or parent, the work with which an adult or child needs help
- tutoring adults or children, or both, face-to-face
- tutoring a student over a long period, to pass on a skill in, for example, a language, a musical instrument, dancing or a particular sport
- tutoring a student for a limited time, in addition to normal lessons, to prepare for a national exam such as Higher Maths or university exams
- tutoring a student who needs specialist learning support
- planning each lesson and choosing suitable books, media, worksheets and other teaching materials, depending on your subject
- organising your work diary, leaving time to travel between places
- setting tests and assignments and marking them
- discussing your student’s progress with the student or parents.
Some private tutors now offer online tuition. If you do this you could be writing materials for use online, providing support via email or telephone and marking completed assessments sent in by students.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- whether you are self-employed
- what subject and level you are tutoring
- the demand for your services.
Most private tutors are self-employed so their earnings will vary.
For one-to-one tuition, they normally charge an hourly fee which can range from £25 to £45 an hour or more. Working for an agency, they might earn £15 to £30 an hour. In both cases fees vary depending on the subject and the level at which they teach.
Remember that as a self-employed private tutor you will have to pay for advertising and for teaching materials. If you tutor pupils in their homes you will have travel costs. If you tutor students in your home you will need a comfortable, quiet room.
- You might work in your own home, in your student’s home or in a public meeting place.
- You usually meet each student once a week, usually at the same time each week, usually for 1-1.5 hours.
- You may have to travel to different places. If so you will have fewer hours available for tutoring.
- You will tutor mostly in the evenings or at weekends.
- You will probably do preparation and marking during the day.
- You might tutor at a school, with students learning, for example, a musical instrument, in which case you will work during the day.
- You may work for an agency or you could be self-employed.
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There are various routes into this job.
- Depending on the subject you teach, ability and experience may be as important as qualifications, but most tutors do have qualifications.
- If you tutor an academic subject you should preferably have a teaching qualification in that subject (see Teacher of various subjects) and experience of preparing students for national exams.
- If you tutor dance or a musical instrument you should have appropriate teaching qualifications (see Dancer, Musician).
- If you tutor a sport, it helps if you have a coaching qualification (see Sports Coach or Instructor).
- If you tutor a language other than English, you should also be fluent in English.
- A driving licence is useful if you have to travel between students’ homes and perhaps transport musical or sports equipment.
- You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.
If you want to work for an agency, you could find companies on the internet. If you decide to become self-employed, you would have to advertise for students.
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What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- patience and adaptability
- an assertive approach when necessary
- good organisational skills
- good IT skills if you are an online tutor
- a good understanding of the relevant curriculum if teaching academic subjects.
You need to be able to:
- explain ideas clearly and make lessons interesting for pupils of various ages
- encourage and motivate pupils of all abilities
- motivate yourself to work on your own.
Training is normally by experience on the job.
- You might start by working for an agency or on your own, with only two or three students a week.
- As you gain experience and build up a good reputation, you would increase the number of students you tutor.
- With further experience, you might set up your own tutorial agency, employing other tutors.
- There are a number of tutoring agencies which operate throughout the UK, as well as local agencies. You can contact many of them through the internet.
- To find students yourself, you could advertise in schools, colleges and universities, local shops or on the internet, through websites and social media. Remember to consider the costs when you decide which method to use.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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