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Getting Started in Online Tutoring


Online tutoring can be a rewarding experience for the work-at-home entrepreneur. You'll be working in a field that helps students further their education or improve their skills in a subject where they're falling behind. Here are some tips you'll need if you want to go into business for yourself as a private tutor.

Choose a Level and Course

What grade level are you qualified to tutor? Most tutoring jobs are geared toward middle and high school students. You can focus on a range of grades, such as middle school, high school or both. You may also be qualified to tutor special needs students or elementary students. Choose a grade level or range to start out your tutoring business. You can always expand to cover other grade levels later if needed.

Choose a course of study that you're qualified to tutor in. Check with state and local laws to see if there are any special certifications you'll need to offer your tutoring services to students.

Choose a Tutoring Format

You'll need to decide how you'll be interacting with students as you tutor them online. What options do you have available, and what tools do you know how to use? Using Skype for computer-to-computer phone conversations is one option. Instant messaging or other chat programs are another option. Some companies like eSylvan will provide you with a headset and digital pen to work alongside students.

Market Your Services

You'll be working with students, but you'll be marketing yourself to their parents. Advertise your skills where the parents are. Market yourself to local school districts first. See if they'll refer parents to you or allow you to place fliers at parent meetings. You might be able to place a sponsor ad in a newsletter that goes out to parents, to let people know about your business.

You should also create a web presence and build a website that uses search engine optimization (SEO), so potential clients can find you on the web.

Attract Clients Before Making a Big Investment

Curriculum can be very expensive. Different school districts within a state may use different curriculums. You don't want to purchase a curriculum to use in tutoring, only to find that you don't have any students that need it. Find out the needs of your clients before investing in too many tools.

Decide on Rates to Charge

How much will you charge for your online tutoring business? Typical rates for tutoring are about $20 per hour. Different economic factors in your local market may require you to charge less for your services. If there's a high enough demand for your tutoring skills, you may even be able to charge more.

How Will You Collect Payment?

Will you be paid on a weekly basis or every time a lesson is taught? Will you be paid up front? Will you accept PayPal payments for your services? Will you send out a bill to clients at the end of the month? Choose a method for collecting payment for your services that works best for you. One thing to keep in mind is subcontracting for a local school district. Districts often pay subcontractors at the end of the quarter. If you subcontract in this way, you'll want to make sure you have enough money to live on until the district pays its bill to you.

Those are just a few things to consider before becoming an online tutor. You should also study what other successful tutoring businesses have done, and adopt any of their practices that work for you.


Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.

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