In this blog post, we explore the qualifications you need to become an online tutor; which free platforms to use, how to price your services and how to market your online tutoring business.

The tutoring market has grown exponentially over the year and is continuing to move its presence online. Online tutoring offers students and tutors flexibility that you wouldn’t necessarily get with face to face tutoring. Check out our blog post on the benefits of online tutoring.

become an online tutor

Although it isn’t a legal requirement, you should also consider obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, particularly if you intend on tutoring students under the age of 18. Many clients may ask for this before allowing you to tutor their child.

The types of DBS check are as follows:

  • a basic check, which shows unspent convictions and conditional cautions
  • a standard check, which shows spent and unspent convictions, cautions, reprimands and final warnings
  • an enhanced check, which shows the same as a standard check plus any information held by local police that’s considered relevant to the role
  • an enhanced check with a check of the barred lists, which shows the same as an enhanced check plus whether the applicant is on the adults’ barred list, children’s barred list or both

For a demonstration of how online tutoring works, check out this video from UK tutoring agency TutorTutor:

Online tuition makes it easy for students to learn when and where they want. Also, tutors are able to work in much the same way, working from home, with time saved by not having to travel. Nevertheless, it can seem overwhelming to know where to start with online tutoring, so here is a list of top tips on how to become an online tutor.

1. Decide which subjects and levels to teach

Whether you’re already a face to face/in-person tutor, or you’re completely new to private tutoring, the first step is to decide which subjects and levels to tutor. In the UK, you don’t need any specific qualifications to become a tutor, no matter the subject. Although the more qualified you are (teaching qualification (B.Ed. or PGCE), degree, TEFL…), the more valuable you’ll be to potential clients.

First of all, consider what subject you hold as your highest qualification. The subject that you are most qualified in is probably the most obvious one to tutor.

For example, if you have a Bachelor’s Degree in Maths, then this would be the most obvious subject to specialise in. Maths and Sciences are in fact subjects in high demand. By having studied the subject at length, you’ll already have solid understanding of the discipline and will be familiar with most of the content that you’d need to tutor students.

In theory, you should be able to tutor up to the level of your highest qualification. However, most academic online tutoring takes place at GCSE and/or A-Level. One subject that’s always popular with students of all ages and abilities is English as a Second Language (ESL). Whether tutoring foreign students, who have moved to the UK, or adults needing good standard of English for business, tutoring English online can be a varied and rewarding career choice.

2. Research skills needed for online tutoring 

The skills you need to become an online tutor are similar to the skills you need for in-person tutoring. You’ll need to be knowledgeable in your subject area, have a varied teaching style and good one-to-one teaching skills. Beyond these, for online tutoring, you’ll also need:

IT Skills – you don’t need to be an IT expert but it’s important that you’re able to use online teaching platforms confidently, schedule appointments online, share documents and share your interactive screen with students. Most of the skills you’ll need can be learned easily. There are lots of guides online to help.

Business Knowledge – As an online tutor, you’ll be self-employed and will automatically become a tutoring business owner – whether as a sole trader or limited company. It’s therefore important that you familiarize yourself with business aspects such as tax and marketing.

3. Choose the right teaching platform and equipment

Once you’ve decided on the subjects, you’ll need to choose the platform that you’ll use for your online lessons.

It goes without saying to teach online you will need a good computer or laptop that has excellent internet connection. The last thing you need is your lesson to be cancelled because you have poor signal.

There are lots of free services available for video conferencing. The most popular include:

All these offer similar services. However it is a good idea to try them out with a friend or family member before deciding which one works best for you. Make sure you know how to navigate your way around the platform as well as carry out tasks such as file and screen sharing.

You can also consider if you want to invest in additional equipment, such as speakers, headsets or microphone. You can easily teach with just a computer and a reliable internet connection.

4. Set your pricing right

Research the pricing for your particular tutoring services carefully. Check what the average industry rate per lesson is and/or how much your competitors are charging.

This post will help you clearly understand what to charge for online tutoring.

Some tutoring businesses will be charging really high prices. You should be realistic.

Pricing lower than your competitors may make your services more attractive to prospects. However it is important to note that it is your high quality teaching that they are paying for.

Offering an online service may mean you don’t need to charge for travel expenses but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t charge for your experience or expertise. Some subjects such as Maths or Sciences are high in demand and if that is your specialist area, think about this when coming up with a pricing strategy.  Every parent wants their child to succeed academically. If your sessions are high quality and they see a progress with their child’s learning and confidence in the subject, they’ll end up staying with you. They will then join the long list of satisfied clients who can become your brand ambassadors.

5. Have an online presence

Marketing your services as an online tutor can be one of the most challenging aspects of tutoring.

No business owner can think of running a successful business these days without having an online presence. There is still a place to list and advertise your services in local couriers and newspapers. Sending out flyers is still a successful marketing method too.

However, nowadays, potential clients find it a lot more convenient to use a search engine, such as Google, to find a service in their local area. So that you can be found easily during this search it is important to think about the following:

  1. Make sure you have a user-friendly, easy to navigate website which clearly explains what services you are offering and how you can be contacted easily.
  2. Make sure you have a mobile friendly website as majority of searches are carried out through mobile internet. A more recent study by Stone Temple Consulting earlier this year suggested that 55% of all traffic is now coming from a mobile device.

Have business social media accounts set up, again explaining clearly what you offer and have your contact details clearly visible. Prospects are looking for social proof and there is no better way of displaying it other than client’s positive reviews. FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn are the best for marketing your online tutoring business. Although Instagram is the most popular social media platform amongst the younger generation so in order to increase your reach to the younger clients, then it is worth setting up an Instagram business account too.

6. Get listed on tutoring directories

As well as having a professional website and being present on social media sites, there are other ways to make it easier to be found. In order to maximise your chances of being found in your local area through online searches, you should think about signing up to tutor directories.

You can submit your business information on tutoring directories, such as tutorzHome Tutors directory and Tutorpages.com. These directories are ranked higher on search engines and enable clients to search for tutors based on a subject of their interest or by geography, if you offer home services too.

7. Prepare for your first session

As with any type of teaching, you need to plan your online lessons, check you have the resources and they are age and level appropriate.

Before lessons begin, it is a good idea to arrange a free online consultation with your student/their parent so that they get to know you and are comfortable using the chosen platform and that they know their way around it. It’s important that you both have a good grasp of the platform’s functions and what the following sessions will entail. Having a cloud based appointment and invoicing software such as Grow in Cloud will allow you to arrange, schedule, reschedule appointments online, without going back and forth on emails to arrange dates and times. Check out our detailed blog post on how to use and schedule bookings online.

become an online tutor

Also, with the software you can send invoices online with ease before sessions as well as receive payments online too. This avoids the hassle and awkwardness of chasing payments and leaves you to focus on the task in hand; tutoring!

become an online tutor

As additional preparation, you may want to email over worksheets, or learning materials, so your student can familiarise themselves with the lesson structure and content. This can also be done using Grow in Cloud’s document sharing feature. Even though you can screen share on your online video conferencing platforms, enabling students to print a hard copy of learning materials can help with written work, note-taking and future revision.

become an online tutor

Summary

Some students/clients may find that they work best with face-to-face tuition, but overall online tuition can be a very flexible, interactive and an effective way to learn, which works well for tutor and student alike.

If you have good subject knowledge, competent IT skills and the flair for teaching (as well as patience!) then why not seek a rewarding career and become an online tutor.

Related Blogs on Tutoring:

6 Benefits of Starting An Online Tutoring Business

Why Tutors Need To Switch To A Cloud Based Software

Schedule Tutor Bookings Online 24/7

6 Ways To Use Social Media For Your Tutoring Business

9 Tips For Starting A Home Tutoring Business

6 Tips To Develop and Grow Your Online Tutoring Business

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