How Can I Become an Online Tutor?

By Jack SteinLast Updated Jun 24, 2020 7:19:27 PM ET
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The internet age has given us two great benefits: the ability to learn from instructors anywhere in the world and opportunities to earn a living online. You can combine both when you work as an online tutor, sharing your knowledge and experience with others and earning money doing so.

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Becoming an online tutor is a terrific opportunity if you have the skills and know-how, but you can't become one overnight. There are certain factors that you need to consider before you take the plunge, and the ways you approach these steps can help determine your success. Consider this path before you decide to become an online tutor.

Examine Your Credentials

Before you consider entering the world of online tutoring, think about whether you're qualified to provide instruction to others. It's important to examine your credentials; in many cases you can't teach others — even online — without the right qualifications. Having more than just enthusiasm and knowledge can help you become successful as an online educator.

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Do you have a degree in education or in the subject in which you want to tutor others? Do you have any specific certificates in a certain area, or did you concentrate on specific subjects and earn advanced degrees in college? Have you achieved milestones in a particular field throughout your career? Looking at these credentials can determine whether others will see you as a credible online tutor.

Choose Your Specialty

The next factor in becoming an online tutor is deciding what subject you want to specialize in for tutoring. Most tutors don’t offer help in general subjects because it’s simply too overwhelming and because specializing in something speaks better to their expertise in that subject. You can market yourself better if you have a specific concentration. It's best to have a concentration of a handful of related subjects to make your tutoring career shine.

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Look back not only at your education but also on your career. Did you excel in certain courses of study? Did you concentrate on a particular subject? Do you love talking and learning about a certain field? What you do well and what you can explain thoroughly can help you narrow down the specialization that's best for you. Once you've given your areas of expertise some thought, you can begin planning further.

Decide Whether to Look for Jobs or Venture Out on Your Own

The world of online tutoring is wide enough that you can either join an existing tutoring company or strike out on your own. You can treat your tutoring career as a job working for someone else or as your own business. If you choose to look for a tutoring position with an existing website, you can choose from any number of sites that take care of the hosting and business parts of tutoring for you.

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If you decide to start your own tutoring site, you should treat it as launching your own business. You'll need to develop a business plan and consider expenses. You'll also need to research tax laws where you live and look at what you need to do and file, legally speaking, to start your own business and host your own website.

Develop Your Curriculum

Putting together your classes and material can be fun and rewarding; this is the part where you finally get to design your curriculum. As you're developing your materials, consider the media that you'll use — audio, video, presentations and downloadables — to tutor others. Will you offer live tutoring, or will your entire curriculum consist of pre-recorded material? Or, will you offer both to ensure that people with various learning styles find your material accessible?

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It’s essential to make your tutoring curriculum interesting, engaging and even fun. It should also be manageable for tutees to work on at regular intervals, not overwhelming. And it should harmonize with your teaching style. Your students will learn more and appreciate the subject if they enjoy what you're teaching them and find it easy to interact with. It's also more likely that your customers will recommend you to others if the material is engaging and effective.

Find a Platform to Host Your Tutoring

If you've made the decision to develop your own tutoring site, you'll need to figure out the best way to host your material. You can choose an existing tutoring platform that allows you to upload your curriculum and that hosts it for you. Many of these sites offer you assistance in setting up your account and let you know about the best practices for success. You'll be part of this type of site’s network, which gives you a leg up when it comes to marketing.

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You can also go your own route and develop a website for hosting your material from scratch. This will take much more work on your part. You’ll need to secure a domain, design and set up the website and load all your content before you can go live. You'll also have to work on marketing it so that potential students know you're out there and ready to help. While this can require more work initially, you may appreciate it later on when you’re not paying commission fees to an existing platform to host and market your material.