How To Become a Tutor
March 2, 2022
A guide on how to become a tutor
Here, we’ll guide you through the 10 main steps to becoming a tutor.
- Complete a DBS check
- Register as a sole trader
- Invest in insurance
- Update your CV
- Decide on your target audience
- Choose a location
- Set your rates
- Find an appointment scheduling solution
- Advertise your tutoring services
- Teach your first session
Becoming a tutor is a great career path for those who love learning and want to help others succeed. It’s also a good form of income if you need a second job or are a university student looking to gain experience in teaching. As long as you have the right knowledge and resources, pretty much anyone can become a tutor.
But there are a few things to get right to be a successful tutor with a loyal, satisfied customer base. If you’re weighing up whether to become a tutor or a raring to get started, read our guide.
1. Complete a DBS check
If you plan to tutor anyone under the age of 18, you should complete a DBS check. A basic DBS checks your criminal record and provides you with a certificate. Although this isn’t required by law, it can put parents at ease and boost your credibility. You never know, it could be the deciding factor for a client to choose your services over competitors.
A basic check will cost you £23 and you can apply for a DBS via the government website. Your certificate should arrive within 14 days, so it’s a good idea to sort out your DBS at the start of your journey to becoming a tutor.
2. Register as a sole trader
Now that you’re a sole trader, you have a number of responsibilities including:
- Keep a record of all sales and expenses
- File a Self Assessment tax return every year
- Pay income tax on your profits and Class 2 or Class 4 National Insurance, depending on your profits
Even if tutoring is a second job on top of any full/part-time work, you must still register.
3. Invest in insurance
Investing in insurance is another bit of admin on a tutor’s to-do list. In particular, public liability insurance. This cover applies if a member of the public experiences an injury due to negligence. For example, a student may trip over some cables in your office and hurt themselves. This type of insurance also covers damage to third party property. For instance, you may accidentally knock a student’s laptop off the desk, and their parents may demand that you cover the repair costs.
Public liability insurance will cover any legal expenses, compensation claims, repair costs and medical fees. So, you must take out a policy to protect your finances.
If you plan to run your tutoring services from home, you can try to prevent these types of accidents with a risk assessment. Scan the area for hazards like a cluttered workspace and fix them before booking any tutoring sessions. If you have a pet, you may also want to restrict them to another room during the tutoring and remove any pet hair to protect students with allergies.
Another important type of insurance for tutors is professional indemnity insurance. This relates to allegations of professional negligence, such as teaching a student the wrong modules for their exam, meaning an inadequate service was provided.
If your student ended up underperforming in their exam, their parents could take legal action by stating that your tutoring service was at fault. Legal costs are not cheap, so it’s worth considering professional indemnity insurance to make sure you’re not out of pocket if things take a turn for the worst.
4. Update your CV
Potential clients may request to see your CV before they book your services. This is your chance to showcase your relevant skills and experience. Remember to update your CV so that it’s specific to the type of services you plan to provide.
Your CV should include:
- Relevant skills – Rather than just listing skills, you should provide evidence. Give examples of situations where your skills helped a student succeed.
- Relevant experience – Highlight any teaching or mentoring experience, as well as any experience working with children here.
- Qualifications – Even though you don’t need any qualifications to become a tutor, gaining a qualification in your chosen field will help you establish your expertise. This will give clients confidence that you’re the right person to teach them.
- References – Present at least two references – one from an educational background and one from an employment setting. This will support the information in your CV and position you as a credible tutor. Once you start your tutoring services, you can gather more references from your tutees.
5. Decide on your target audience
When it comes to tutoring, it’s best to become a specialist in one area as opposed to juggling multiple subjects and skill levels. The teaching style you adopt with primary school children will be very different to when you mentor adults.
For everyone’s benefit, define your target audience and stick to it. This will allow you to properly understand the curriculum to give top class tutoring. When you become a specialist, this can give you room to charge higher prices as you’ve established yourself.
Ideas of areas you can target are:
- Primary school core subjects
- SATs tuition
- Core GCSE and A Level subjects
- Language tuition
- International qualifications
- Exam prep
- Performing arts coaching
- Homework help
You can offer tutoring for more hands-on subjects too. If you’re proficient in a particular instrument, why not become a tutor in your spare time for some extra cash? Read more in our blog on how to do online music lessons.
6. Choose a location
Will you offer online tutoring services? Will students travel to your home for a session? Or will you travel to students’ homes? Maybe you could meet in the middle and hire out a room in a library? There are so many possibilities when it comes to choosing a location for your tutoring.
If you plan to offer online tutoring, make sure you have the right technology and a strong internet connection. If you decide to travel to an agreed location, you may have to raise your pricing to cover the travel expenses.
There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to location. You may want to give both online and in-person sessions a go before making a final decision.
7. Set your rates
As much as tutoring is about helping people develop, you’re still running a business at the end of the day, so you need to make sure you turn a profit. Setting your rates can be tricky. Too high and you’ll be undercut by competitors, meaning you’ll be lucky to get any bookings at all. Too low, and you risk making a loss if you can’t attract enough clients.
When you’re starting out, research what similar tutoring services are charging, and price yourself a little under this average. With no track record to back yourself up, lower prices are necessary to enrol the first wave of tutees. As you gain more experience, you can win new clients through positive reviews and brand awareness. Perhaps introduce a referral scheme to extend your network. Once you’ve built a solid reputation and a portfolio of clients, you can then raise your rates.
Things to factor in when working out your pricing structure are:
- Location e.g. online or in-person
- Length of the session
- Skill level of the tutee e.g. advanced classes require more prep and marking time
- Teaching format e.g. one-to-one vs group sessions
The hourly rate can vary so much, with some tutors charging as little as £15 all the way up to £60 plus. This is why competitor research is key.
8. Find an appointment scheduling solution
With different students working from different schedules, it can be difficult to organise tutoring sessions. A lot of your precious time can be spent negotiating appointment slots, and the admin work can take over. Step eight in becoming a tutor is to find an appointment scheduling solution that works for you.
Instead of asking students to call you up or drop you a text, you can direct them to a live booking link when you adopt a course booking system. This link can also be embedded on your website and social media profiles. Using the scheduling software, students can browse your availability, book a session and pay for it all at once!
This takes away the headache of monitoring tutees’ payments too. You don’t need to worry about your card machine not working, or not having enough spare change. With payment integrations such as PayPal, WorldPay and Stripe, you can take deposits and track your income. It couldn’t be easier!
Most tutors have to face the disappointment of their students forgetting to show up. No-shows chip away at the overall learning time in their plan. Every hour counts, and it can be hard to catch up in time for exam season. With the online booking system, no-shows are significantly reduced. You can automatically send tutees SMS and email reminders, and it’s easy for them to cancel a booking. This frees up space for another student so no one’s time is wasted.
9. Advertise your tutoring services
Once you’ve got your strategy set and are ready to go, it’s time to start attracting potential clients! To drum up interest in your tutoring services, you’ll need to use some methods of promotion.
Some of the cheapest and most effective ways to promote your tutoring business are:
- Build connections and network on Linkedin
- Post taster videos on Instagram
- Attend events
- Post flyers
- Partner with local schools and colleges
The more channels you use to get the word out about your services, the better. For your tutoring business to take off, having a presence on social media is essential. Social media is where you’ll find your target audience, so communicate directly with them through Facebook posts, Instagram reels and Linkedin polls. You can read our guide on how to sell tutoring services to learn more.
10. Teach your first session
Now that you’ve filed the necessary paperwork and recruited your first client, it’s time to teach your first session! There are a few basics to run through when you first meet a tutee. Gathering as much information as you can early on helps you create the perfect tutoring plan for them.
Firstly, ask them to fill out a questionnaire covering details such as the subject, their level, the exam board and what they want to achieve from the course. As well as collecting the facts, you need to build a strong rapport with your students too. Finding out about their personality, strengths and weaknesses will help you adapt your teaching style.
Communication works both ways, and to build trust, you should introduce yourself. Talk about your teaching background, and mention any hobbies or interests. You want to remain professional but sharing these interests can put students at ease, as you become more approachable. When you talk about your subject area, this is your chance to show off your enthusiasm. Displaying your passion will give students confidence in your teaching, and they are likely to become loyal learners.
Identifying a students’ strengths and weaknesses can start with self-reflection. Ask them to show you their latest work and give their opinion on what they want to improve. This will help you select the most suitable resources in their learning plan, and gives a starting point for monitoring progress.
Benefits of being a tutor
If you’re considering becoming a tutor, these benefits may help you reach a decision.
Private tutoring can provide you with a good stream of income. Your hourly rate can vary based on several factors, but you can expect to earn at least £15 per hour.
When you become a tutor, you become your own boss. You decide your working hours, and you have full control over the days you work. There aren’t many other jobs around that offer such flexibility!
Being a tutor is a rewarding experience. Whether your student passed an exam or received praise at school. When they succeed, you can see the real-life impact of your work.
Develop your knowledge and skills
Although the main focus of tutoring is to teach, you’ll find that you learn a lot from your students in return! They may ask complex questions that require you to brush up on your reading to find the answer. As a tutor, you can develop your own knowledge and skills whilst boosting the capabilities of your students.
Skills you need to become a tutor
Tutoring isn’t for everyone. There are a few essential skills to really excel as a tutor.
As a tutor, your job is to communicate complex concepts in simple terms, so strong verbal communication is key. You’ll also provide students with written feedback and revision resources, making direct written communication equally important.
Your students will have less knowledge than you and it may take some time for them to grasp certain themes. Remaining calm and patient will put your students at ease and encourage a positive learning environment.
To offer the best support to your students, you need to become an expert in your subject. Keep up to date with the latest news and research publications in your field, and take online courses for refresher training. The more able you are to answer tutees’ questions, the better experience you will provide. This will encourage them to book more sessions!
Knowledge of revision & exam techniques
Research updated revision techniques and identify the learning style of each student – there are plenty of online quizzes to help you. The four learning styles are visual, auditory, reading and writing, and kinesthetic. If you tailor your teaching to individual needs, your students may better retain and apply information in their exams.
Time management is a valuable skill in any job but can especially benefit tutors. You need to make sure that your sessions start and end on time, whilst ensuring you cover all your conversation prompts. You want your students to learn as much as they can to feel best prepared for their exams.
Some students love to learn whilst others may rely on their tutor to keep them motivated. Showing empathy towards students that struggle with learning can make them push themselves and become dedicated to your services.
The responsibilities of a tutor
Before you become a tutor, are you clued up on the responsibilities you’ll take on?
- Assess students’ skill level and needs – When you onboard a new tutee, they will need a custom learning plan.
- Plan and schedule sessions – Work out the content you’ll cover throughout the tutoring to suit the students’ end goal.
- Understand the curriculum – The curriculum may have changed since you were in education, so brush up on the exact topics you need to cover.
- Create progress reports – To justify the tutoring and encourage repeat business, you need to prove to parents and students that your services are working. Produce regular progress reports to highlight tutees’ development.
- Advertise your services – As your students grow up, they will no longer require your services. Constantly promote yourself to keep new clients booking sessions.
Now that you’re clued up on how to become a tutor, you’ll need to know how to advertise your classes. Read our guide on how to sell tutoring services to build a successful tutoring business!
BookingLive: Find out more
If you’re about to start tutoring and still on the lookout for a scheduling solution, we at BookingLive can help. We can offer a demo of our software so you can see the benefits for yourself. Contact us today to find out more.