How To Become a Tutor

Updated July 21, 2022

Tutoring is an interesting career option for anyone who enjoys learning and teaching others. Tutors instruct their students in academic disciplines in a variety of settings, many of which are outside a traditional classroom. If you like to teach and have a high school diploma or associate degree, working as a tutor could be an excellent career choice for you. In this article, we discuss a tutor's responsibilities, their earning potential and how to pursue this role.

What does a tutor do?

Tutors provide additional academic instruction to students beyond what they learn from their primary teachers. They meet either one-on-one or with small groups to supply personalized teaching and mentoring. They may help students improve their grades, catch up with the rest of a class or improve their understanding of certain subjects. Some tutors also specialize in helping students prepare for college entrance exams like the ACT, SAT and PSAT. Additional tutor duties include:

  • Creating a detailed and personalized lesson plan for each of their students

  • Teaching their clients to improve their study skills and independent learning skills

  • Ascertaining the source of a student's academic struggles and helping them come up with a solution for the problem

  • Communicating with the student, their family and their teachers to ensure that the tutor's lesson plan is sufficient and that their methods are effective

Read more: Browse Tutor Jobs

Average salary

Tutor salaries vary depending on the subjects they specialize in, their level of education and their geographic location. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $25.05 per hour

  • Some salaries range from $7.25 to $43.40 per hour

Tutor requirements

Individuals must meet specific educational requirements to work as a tutor and may need additional training and certifications to work in certain states or for certain employers.


Tutors must hold a high school degree before they can begin mentoring students. Some college students find work tutoring middle school or high school students while they are still working toward a bachelor's or master's degree. If a tutor has earned a four-year degree, they are qualified to tutor others in their field of study. Some tutors might specifically pursue an education degree if they are interested in teaching in a traditional classroom.


Tutors who wish to teach privately do not need any further training beyond a bachelor's degree and/or a tutoring certification. However, if they want to work in a classroom, they will need to pursue formal education training, such as a teacher's aide certificate or a teacher preparation associate degree. If they want to work for a tutoring agency or organization, they may also be required to complete additional training required by their specific employer.

Read more: Teaching Assistant Cover Letter


Tutoring certifications are not required for tutors but can improve an individual's chances of securing a high-paying job. Certifications provide advanced knowledge of teaching techniques and methods and make a tutor a more attractive job candidate. Certification is supplied by the National Tutoring Association, the American Tutoring Association and other qualified organizations.


Tutors need several specific skills to effectively mentor their students, address academic challenges and foster a passion for learning. Here are some key skills used in tutoring:

  • Communication: Tutors must be able to explain concepts and theories to a variety of ages and to students with a wide range of learning styles. They need to be able to engage their students in conversation, provoke them to participate in the discussion and encourage them to interact with the lesson material. They must also be able to communicate with parents, teachers and others to make sure that they are meeting the student's needs.

  • Organization: Tutors often collect and organize their own lesson materials. They must also be able to efficiently manage a schedule that involves multiple clients. They will need to keep accurate records to provide the appropriate lessons for each student and to keep track of which students are learning which subjects.

  • Listening: Tutors must be able to listen carefully to each student to understand their needs. They should be willing to dedicate one-on-one time to a student if the student feels they need privacy to express themselves. Tutors must also be willing to listen to teachers and family members and to implement their suggestions so that they can formulate the best possible teaching plan for a specific student.

  • Creativity: Tutors need to be able to keep their students engaged for lengthy periods. They will need to use their innovation and creative thinking to present lesson material in a way that is interesting and memorable. Some students seek out a tutor precisely because they find it difficult to learn in a classroom. Therefore, tutors may need to use unorthodox techniques to help students learn the material.

  • Patience: Patience is a crucial skill for a tutor. Often, students who need tutors are struggling to meet educational standards. Some may even have learning disabilities or other challenges. A good tutor can take their time and put in whatever effort is necessary to help their students learn and understand. Tutors know that not every student can learn at the same pace and allowing a student to learn on their own time could be exactly what they need to succeed.

  • Adaptability: Effective tutors can adjust their materials to suit the specific needs of each student. If they can adapt their approach and methods to fit different situations, they will be an asset to their students. Tutors who are willing to compromise and work according to the student's needs have a greater chance of positively impacting the student.

Read more: Tutor Resume Examples and Samples

Tutor work environment

Tutors may find work in a variety of environments including schools, their homes, their students' residencies, learning centers and neutral meeting areas. Tutors frequently create or provide their own study materials which they will need to transport to and from meeting places. Tutors may teach students one-on-one or in small groups, depending on the specific situation.

Related: Learn About Being a Teacher

How to become a tutor

Here are the most common steps needed to become a tutor:

1. Earn a degree

Tutors need at least a high school degree before they can seek certification or begin tutoring younger students. They will need a bachelor's degree before they are qualified to find work with a tutoring agency or organization.

2. Become certified.

Tutors can be certified through accredited tutoring associations including the American Tutoring Association, Association for Tutoring Professionals, the College Reading and Learning Association and the National Tutoring Association. Tutors will need to research which certification best suits them since each association has different requirements for a tutor's level of experience and education.

3. Choose a specialty

Most tutors specialize in teaching certain subjects. These include English, math, science or other common courses. They also may decide to specialize in preparing college applicants for college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT.

4. Set rates and advertise

If a tutor plans to work independently, they can set their own rates and are responsible for making their own advertisements. Tutors will need to research the average salary for similar tutors in their area, as well as local supply and demand to set an appropriate rate. Tutors can advertise on online job boards, post flyers in school or libraries or register with online tutoring websites to find clients.

Tutor job description example

The Green Apple Tutoring Agency is searching for an experienced and reliable tutor to join our team. The tutor will be responsible for helping students to improve their academic performance using interactive lessons, creative teaching methods and engaging materials. The ideal candidate has several years of experience working with both children and young adults and can provide specialized instruction and attention needed for specific subjects and standardized test preparation. The tutor should be able to work one-on-one or with a small group of students and will be responsible for documenting their progress and discussing results with parents, guardians and teachers.

Primary duties also include:

  • Set personalized goals for each student

  • Collaborate with a student's support system to accurately evaluate the student's needs

  • Create lessons that address the student's specific needs and that suit his or her learning style

  • Adjust lessons to fit the experience level of the student or students

  • Review daily homework and assist students in completing tasks and projects

Related careers

Those interested in tutoring might also wish to consider the following professions:

  • Teacher

  • Principal

  • Professor

Related Articles

35 Tutoring Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

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