Tutor  What They Do

Just the Facts

Tutors Career Video

Insider Info

dotTutoring is typically done in a one-to-one situation, as opposed to group or class learning. It lasts for as many sessions as the student and tutor agree on.

Although many tutors are volunteer workers, others are self-employed or working for tutoring services in colleges, universities and private enterprise.

dotTutors work at their occupation either part time or full time. The work lends itself well to those who desire to "moonlight" in addition to their regular employment, or those who want to work only part time due to family or other obligations.

Tutors typically work evenings and weekends, since they must accommodate the times that students are available. They could teach at different levels, from elementary school right up to university.

dotTutors may also teach multiple subjects or specialize in a single subject or area.

Daa Mahowald, a tutor, says you could be a reading specialist, for example. These are tutors who help kids improve their reading and comprehension skills.

Richard Bilonick, who teaches statistics, says the Internet is making online tutoring a possibility. People with specialized knowledge and good Internet skills are increasingly able to operate an online tutoring service with students they never meet in person.

dotTutor Renee Mickelson says tutoring is beginning to be recognized as a professional occupation at the post-secondary level, at least in some areas.

But tutors are generally not certified and are not required to meet any specific training or educational standards. Private tutoring services or college tutoring services, however, will have their own employment requirements, and will often ask for a degree or a teaching certificate.

Even those who wish to be self-employed will find that a degree or a teaching certificate enhances credibility and increases the opportunities available.

dotTutors must have a good knowledge of the subject or subjects that they teach. They must also be flexible and patient and have good communication skills.

"Tutors need a knack for looking at a problem from several perspectives," Mahowald says. "If a tutee doesn't understand a tutor's first explanation, the tutor must take a different approach and maybe even a third or fourth before the tutee's light bulb turns on."

Self-employed tutors need good business skills, according to Bilonick. They need to be able to market their business and determine the amount of fees they must charge to cover expenses and make a profit. They must also keep records for taxation and other purposes.

dotTutoring is a good career option for those with special needs that prevent them from working in other fields. For example, someone who uses a wheelchair has some flexibility when it comes to choosing an accessible tutoring location. Or they could tutor online from home.

Just the Facts

Want a quick overview of what this career is about?Check out Just the Facts for simple lists of characteristics.

At a Glance

Help students with their homework

  • Tutors typically work evenings and weekends
  • Online tutoring lets people tutor students they never meet
  • Certification is not a requirement, unlike for teachers