Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Working as a private tutor can be very lucrative. The demand is most definitely there – if you search for the words private tutor in your browser, there’s no shortage of sites advertising the services.
You don’t even have to have teaching experience to work as a private tutor. If you’re a graduate, particularly with knowledge of maths or sciences, you can make a lot of money tutoring GCSE students or those trying to get into university.
Read on to find out how you could make as much as £80 an hour tutoring.
Tutoring is a fantastic way to support students who struggle in a classroom environment. There are many fantastic resources out there where tutors focused on special needs students can be found.
If you are interested in becoming a tutor, you don’t have to limit your horizons to teaching children, as learning doesn’t stop when you finish core education. There is an increasing number of tutors out there who focus on mature students looking to learn a new skill, such as a language or musical instrument.
Nonetheless, young students remain the main target demographic. An Ipsos-MORI survey for Sutton Trust found that 30% of 11 to 16-year-olds have received private tuition nationwide. In London the figure is as high as 48%. £80+ an hour for tutoring services is not an unreasonable amount to charge either, as concerned parents are prepared to pay it.
Private tutors are usually employed on a short-term basis. Parents want them to help kids make it through the weeks leading up to their exams and ensure they’re well-prepared. According to Superprof magazine, over half of those hiring private tutors do so to get ready for a specific test. That doesn’t mean you’ll only get work around exams time – those seeking help with school work in general make up a nearly equally high percentage.
Often, parents will want a private tutor to come to their home to teach. If you plan to tutor in your student’s house, remember you’ll need to factor in travel costs. Some people charge extra to cover what they spend on commute while others include it in their hourly rate. Alternatively – and as is becoming more popular recently – they may want to get tutoring online. As well as being more convenient and allowing tutors to work flexibly, this cuts out the expenses involved in travelling to each student’s home.
To work as a private tutor you’ll obviously have to have a level of knowledge in the subject you teach – but you don’t necessarily have to be a qualified teacher. If you have a degree, your skills in that subject will still be sought after. Even university students still working towards their degree can make themselves some extra cash tutoring.
What you will need as a private tutor is patience, enthusiasm and good communication skills. This may be particularly important depending on which age group you teach. If you tutor teens, they can be a bit more difficult age group. And remember private tutoring isn’t just about explaining complicated issues and helping with learning. It’s also key you’re able to inspire confidence in your students.
This is actually a big part of being a private tutor. If the children or teenagers you teach believe that they can work out that maths formula and have confidence in their abilities, they’ll be much less nervous about their exams and perform better. And that, in turn, will make them trust you as a tutor even more.
It’s important to remember that word of mouth is often the best way private tutors get work. Having a great reputation in your local area can be worth everything.
One more thing to remember if you choose to work with children or young teenagers is potential checks. If you don’t work through an agency, you may well need to have a DBS check. To find out about how to get one, see our article here.
If you are interested in specialising in tutoring those who need more support, then Bright Heart Education in London is just one example of the many organisations out there offering structured tutor training, support and a strong platform to advertise a tutor’s specific skill set.
The tutors at Bright Heart aim to deliver a nurturing approach towards tutoring and charge prices ranging from £50 to £60 an hour. Each tutor is matched to a student who would best benefit from their personality, teaching style and knowledge.
Those of you thinking this is the area of tutoring for you will need to ascertain you have the right background checks in place. Bright Heart Education offers Enhanced DBS checks for all of their tutors.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in getting involved in, then be sure to check them out.
Depending on which subject or skill you cover as a private tutor, there’ll be busier and quieter months. Foreign languages and music instrument lessons may be popular all year long, while the demand for more academic subjects tends to grow around exams time. When it comes to advertising your private tutoring services, you’ll have various options. You can do so in your local area – in the library, post office, supermarket or newsagent’s, for instance. Alternatively you can go online. There’s plenty of specialist websites, social media groups and online community sites where you can spread the word about your private tutoring services.
Sites like Schoolstrader are a great option for private tutors. The website covers 30,000 independent primary and secondary schools across the UK and Ireland. Placing an ad is completely free and it’ll stay up on the site for three months. It could be an efficient way to advertise your services as a private tutor.
Alternatively, you could work for an agency where you’re likely to earn more but they often have strict requirements about your educational background. They’re unlikely to employ those without teaching qualifications or a first-class degree. Tutoring agencies also tend to require you to complete a DBS check.
Have a look at The Good Schools Guide (at £60 it’s pretty expensive, but your local library should have a copy in their reference section) to see which agencies they recommend.
Over the past few years, Bright Young Things, a tutoring business based in London, has been recruiting high-flying students to work as private tutors. They said that some of their Manchester graduates were earning over £100 for four hours’ teaching through their online one-on-one service. A chemistry graduate tutor, who did not want to be named said, “Last year I earned enough money to spend throughout my last summer before I got a proper job. It even allowed me to afford to get unpaid work experience at a newspaper. I could not recommend it more.”
You can advertise on The Tutor Website for just £35 a year. They’re currently offering for private tutors to advertise free of charge (you’ll just need to put in their promo code when you finish your submission). You won’t have to renew your subscription after your free year, but if you choose to do so, it’ll only cost £20.
The way it works is that you list your subjects and set your prices – and there’re no agency fees. Students and parents browse the site looking for potential private tutors in the subject they want. It’s pretty good value. The site also provides practical advice on tutoring and getting the most from your advert.
Online teaching is also becoming a popular option for private tutors. It’ll save you time and travel costs getting to and from clients’ homes and let’s be honest, working from home is great. It’s also more convenient for families, particularly those in more remote areas.
As a private tutor teaching online you can speak to students remotely via Skype and work using a virtual whiteboard. You’ll earn less this way, but of course you don’t have to consider travel costs or materials. Saving time on commuting also means you can take on more online students.
The great thing about working as a private tutor is that there’s no limit to the possibilities this type of work presents. You can teach anything – from physics and maths to geography and English. Subjects like languages and music can be taught year round to adults as well as children, which means if you’re serious about it, you could make a career out of being a private tutor. For loads of tips about starting your own business, have a look at our small business blog.
Tute is a social learning platform that encourages interactive learning by chatting to tutors online. There are over 250 lessons running every week and they cover all main subjects and all levels between the ages 8-18.
If you’re a private tutor looking to join Tute, there’re two models:
Tute lets private tutors set their own fees and charges a fixed fee of £5 per lesson for any introduction they make. Find out more about Tute here.
If you’ve had experience being a private tutor, or have any questions about this article, let us know by commenting below – we love to hear from you!
Get weekly ideas, deals & freebies
New data capture form 2023. This is for the popup form to avoid duplicate IDs.
"*" indicates required fields
It’s possible but I think it’s a good idea to actually be an experienced and qualified teacher. Parents will get a much better service and the students will enjoy their tutoring sessions. I love tutoring!