With British education proving popular worldwide, we are now seeing the rise of the ‘super tutor’. Here we give some advice on maximising your income from tuition
Fuelled by the demand for British schooling, education services are booming, bringing an estimated £17.5 billion a year to the UK economy. It’s also helping to create the rise of the ‘super tutor’. These are individuals who can easily earn £100,000 a year helping students to pass their exams.
In 2017 the BBC reported on an anonymous ‘super tutor’ who typically charges clients between £40 and £90 per hour for tutoring in the UK. However, when he works with individual students abroad fees are generally much higher. This is to compensate him for the fact that he can’t do any other work. In his last three years as a tutor, he’s worked in India, Indonesia and Costa Rica, as well as the US.
Similarly in a 2108 article entitled ‘What Drives an Elite Supertutor’, the BBC interviewed 36-year-old Melissa Lehan. She earns a six-figure salary as a private tutor in a home-schooling role. After working in Bermuda, Canada, South of France and the Bahamas, the Oxford Graduate and qualified teacher now works with a family in Luxembourg.
But how do you become a super tutor? What qualifications do you need? And do you have to work outside the UK to get the best income? These are just some of your frequently asked questions.
Do I need any specific qualifications to become a tutor?
No. In the UK, there are no legal requirements to have any specific qualifications if you want to become a private tutor. However, in general, tutors of a specific academic subject will have a background or qualification in that area. This will usually be to degree-level or equivalent.
Usually, a tutor should also be at least one level higher than those they are tutoring. So a college undergraduate can help A-Level candidates prepare for their exam while an A level qualified student can tutor at GCSE level. Although it is currently not essential to have a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) check to become a tutor, it is generally recommended as some parents will ask for it. For more information go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/disclosure-and-barring-service.
Does it help to have teaching experience to become a tutor?
Many full-time teachers provide private tutoring services on nights and weekends, and they are often highly sought-after by school students. However, if you don’t have a teaching qualification it shouldn’t hold you back. Many students find their learning can be helped by some with different experiences and skills.
Indeed, viewing subjects and tasks from a non-teaching perspective can help students see things in a different light. Someone without formal teaching experience may also be more flexible in their approach than someone who is a teacher who is used to teach in a particular way.
What qualities do I need to become a tutor?
Undoubtedly the best tutors are those who love learning and are enthusiastic, engaging people. Just as great teachers inspire us at school, tutors must inspire their students to do well in a particular subject. Good tutors will also need to be flexible, employing different learning styles depending on the student. For example, it may be that someone is a more visual learner who learns from images or a kinesthetic learner who learns more from taking a hands-on approach. (See our Effective Learning Styles and Intelligence Types blogs with exciting quizzes to go with them.)
Inevitably in a one-to-one setting, tuition will be much more child-centred. The child will lead their own learning to some extent. Parents will also be more heavily involved in the process than in a school environment. Also bear in mind that, unlike school, lessons are optional and can be stopped at any time. So always try to remain positive, even when your student is failing to engage.
How much money should I charge?
Choosing your hourly rate can be tricky. Ultimately it depends on your level of experience, your location and the subject you teach. English teachers and experienced Maths and Science tutors are in particularly high demand. Typically, hourly rates outside of London start at £15 per hour for those with limited teaching/tutoring experience and go up to around £35 per hour. In London, rates start at between £18 and £20 per hour and generally go up to around £60 per hour.
However, high-cost, or ‘super tutors’, can easily earn over £100 per hour. Often these are Oxbridge graduates who focus on entrance examinations to the most prestigious schools, such as Eton and Harrow. They may also be tutoring to get students into top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge.
Sometimes super tutors are able to command a premium because they are teaching students abroad whose parents really want to get them into the British education system. Or they may be specialists in a particular subject such as Maths or Science who are known to get very good results!
How many hours can I work?
By definition, most tutoring sessions take place outside of school time. This is obviously a limiting factor in the amount you can earn. However, you will probably be looking at around 3-4 hours per evening, five evenings a week. You may also be able to work weekends if you want to and it suits the students and their families.
While generally, most tutors work between 15 and 20 hours per week, it is possible to extend these hours. A-Level and degree students will often have more time during the day. And GCSE students also have study leave prior to their examinations. Teachers offering adult courses can find that their learners are more flexible in arranging lessons and school holidays provide further options. Plus if you are tutoring online you may well have more time to spend tutoring because you haven’t got commuting time.
In conclusion, there has never been a better time to become a tutor. There’s a massive demand for British schooling from foreign students as well as from home students who want to do well in particular subjects. And while it may not be possible to become a super tutor from day one, with hard work – and good results – you could soon be earning a six-figure annual sum. Good luck!