Whether you are a teacher looking to make some extra money, or a subject matter expert who wants to share the experience with others, becoming an online tutor can provide you with extra income, a flexible schedule, and a rewarding career. If you want to become an online tutor, we have some information and advice to help you to become an online tutor.
Who Can Become an Online Tutor?
Everyone over the age of 18 can apply for online tutoring jobs. The online tutoring industry is broad, and most people will find their niche in an online tutoring capacity. The requirements for being a tutor may vary depending on where you are located, what you are teaching, whether you work independently or are part of a tutoring agency.
While certifications aren’t necessary to become online tutoring, many people choose to gain certifications or accreditation as a professional tutor. However, if you reside in Canada, there are no national certification programs or organizations specific to the tutoring industry. If you are interested in pursuing a tutoring career, take a moment to review the particular guidelines in your state or country.
Online tutors range from college students to stay-at-home parents, former and current teachers, and business professionals from a variety of industries. How is that possible? The online tutoring industry is enormous and only getting bigger. There are tutors available to teach both children and adults in about any subject imaginable. Therefore, if you are incredibly knowledgeable in a field of study, or a specific industry, you may have what it takes to be an online tutor. If you plan to become an English language tutor, make sure you hold the right certification, such as TEFL.
Once you have decided on the demographics and the subject matter that you plan to tutor, it is time to become an online tutor!
4 Steps How to Become an Online Tutor
1. Choose between an agency and independent online tutoring
There are several options to choose from when becoming an online tutor. Some tutors decide to work as a direct-hire for an established tutoring organization; others create a profile on freelance tutoring websites to showcase their abilities and attract students. Still, others decide to work independently and start their own tutoring business.
Direct online tutoring hire
Numerous companies are dedicated to tutoring – both in-person and online, that work with both young students and adults. As a direct-hire, tutors are assigned students based on their area of expertise.
Tutoring through a dedicated website
Besides private tutoring companies, there are also websites dedicated to matching students – both adult and child learners, with dedicated tutors. These sites act as a platform where online tutors can create a profile listing their areas of expertise, their hourly rate, and their availability. Individuals looking for online tutors can connect with various professionals, compare prices, teaching style, and experience. Once they match up with online tutors, they can negotiate rates and set up an agreement for services.
Independent Online Tutoring
Another option is to work as an independent online tutor. Prospective online tutors can promote their business through schools, word-of-mouth, and social media. The tutors can use flyers and business cards to promote their tutoring services. The tutors have total autonomy and the freedom to set and require a specified hourly rate. Tutors can create a personalized curriculum. If you decide to start your own tutoring business, you should use tutoring agreements for each student.
2. Get your online tutoring equipment
Once you have decided how you would like to proceed with your online tutoring career, it’s time to prepare! First, you will need the proper equipment and the appropriate setting to work with your students. Teaching online is very different from teaching in a typical classroom, so it is essential to create an atmosphere that will keep your students engaged and interested, and will allow you to present information clearly and concisely. That starts with the right equipment.
Classroom teaching techniques are useful because the teacher and students are face to face, in the same room. They can hear and see each other well, and as a teacher or tutor, it is easy to read facial expressions to gauge a student’s understanding. When working in an online capacity, it is essential to mimic that setting as much as possible. You want to ensure that you can effectively communicate with your students.
Use a high-quality camera or webcam
Again, there are many visual cues from both student and tutor when teaching a lesson plan. Having a high-quality webcam or a document camera will give your students an experience that better mimics an in-person setting. If you have to provide examples of problem-solving techniques or give an impromptu visual presentation, you want to ensure that your feed is precise, without lag or auto delay.
Invest in a quality microphone or headset
Do not rely on the microphone from your computer to assist you in online tutoring. While an occasional meeting or quick discussion can be handled with a simple laptop or desktop microphone, the amount of communication required in a tutoring session is much more robust. As such, to ensure that your students can hear you properly and catch nuances in your lessons that increase understanding and comprehension, you want to use a high-quality microphone or headset.
Don’t forget learning aids.
Many students learn better with visual cues. Regardless of the subject matter, visual aids can help get your point across. When you work on complex math equations or teach students complicated subject matter, you want to write a real-time example with a pen tablet or use visual aids from around your home or office to teach complex concepts. It will help reinforce your message. No matter how many learning tools you create before a tutoring session, there will always be a time where you need to provide an immediate example off the cuff. So make sure you have the appropriate classroom equipment to do so.
3. Find the platform that works for you
There are several different programs to help you meet with your students. Selecting the best one may be partially personal preference, but also consider the overall flexibility of the program, your comfort level, and the compatibility of real-time teaching tools, like free online whiteboards.
Common platforms for tutoring include Zoom or Skype, for example. Having a reliable form of video chat is essential for effective tutoring online. If teaching math or science, or other subjects where you will need a chalkboard type experience, consider using a virtual whiteboard, like idroo, or baiboard, or Scribblar to assist with lessons.
Also important is document sharing. Trello, Google doc, Dropbox, or Dropmark will allow you and your students to collaborate on papers, quizzes, and other materials. They are all relatively easy to use and can provide a similar document sharing experience.
Before you get started with online tutoring, you want to take a little time to get comfortable with your chosen equipment, video platform, virtual whiteboard, and your file-sharing programs. By familiarizing yourself with these tools, you will create a seamless experience that mimics in-person one-on-one tutoring that your students will appreciate.
4. Plan your lessons
Before getting started with your tutoring sessions, you need to identify your student’s overall goals. A teacher planner can hep you writing it all down. Why are they seeking out online tutoring? Do they need extra help, prefer the one on one instruction, or are they trying to supplement their classroom experience only? Having a sit down meeting with your clients beforehand will help you determine the best way to proceed with lessons.
Every student is different in terms of how they learn. When students are looking for a tutor, they want one-on-one attention to be successful. Understanding your students’ learning styles will help a new or established tutor tremendously. Not everyone learns the same way, so before creating a lesson plan for your students, consider using a questionnaire or other mechanism better to understand each of your student’s specific learning styles.
Don’t rely on your student to always have homework or a test to review. Make sure you have some ideas to engage your students during each session. To avoid that a student forgot their book, ask them to find their course books RedShelf. This way, all students have their books available at all times on their computers.
Becoming an online tutor is a great choice for everyone who decides for a career in education. The online education market has grown tremendously in recent months. Many tutors are trying to learn how to bring traditional tutoring methods to an online setting. If you follow these guidelines on “how to become an online tutor”, you will find success in online tutoring before you know it.