Online tutoring is a big industry, especially for math, which is a subject that students frequently struggle with. Virtual tutoring offers many advantages to students, including individualized instruction. With a tutor, students can practice test questions and word problems and receive the one-on-one attention that’s not available in a typical math class. Tutors can also enjoy key benefits: good pay, flexible hours, and the chance to truly make a difference.
If you are a math expert, online tutoring can be a fantastic side hustle or even a full-time career. You could set up your own virtual tutoring business and apply to job ads, but that option requires a lot of money and time to build up a client list. Working for an online tutoring provider is often a more practical and efficient choice. Read on to learn more about how to become an online tutor and find the right company to partner with.
What is an online math tutor?
An online math tutor creates a positive learning environment and teaches math to individual students or small groups. Tutoring is designed to enhance a traditional education, not replace it, by providing students additional tools on how to get better at math. Math tutors usually teach students who are having trouble understanding math or getting passing grades on their homework and tests. Virtual tutoring takes place through an online platform instead of during an in-person meeting.
What does an online math tutor do?
As an online math tutor, you would work closely with individual students or small groups through a computer interface. The exact nature of each session will depend on the subject matter, your expertise, and the student’s progress and goals. For example, if a student seems to understand the material but gets poor test scores, you may focus on test preparation and techniques to reduce anxiety.
Virtual tutoring sessions may include a variety of different elements and teaching methods. You may give your students a video lecture, answer questions, give a quiz or practice test, or demonstrate how to solve certain types of problems. Ideally, you should develop customized lesson plans based on your student’s needs and learning style.
How much do online math tutors make?
The amount that you can make from tutoring jobs depends on several factors:
- Subjects taught (elementary, pre-calculus, or college math)
- Degrees and certifications
- Skills and qualifications
Most online math tutors charge by the hour, though it is also common to charge per session. Starting rates for online math tutors are usually between $10 per hour and $15 per hour. Experienced tutors may charge up to $30 per hour. If you have the experience and qualifications to help students with AP math or preparation for standardized tests (SAT/ACT) you may be able to charge closer to $50 per hour.
The amount that online math tutors can make varies greatly, and starting rates aren’t very high. However, this job offers many unique benefits beyond just the paycheck. Math tutors are consistently in high demand, and being an online tutor gives you the chance to land clients from anywhere in the world.
Additionally, it’s flexible enough that you don’t need to commit to a full-time career – you can be a part-time tutor while you work or attend college. Many tutors are university students who are teaching because they love math and want to earn some extra money.
What experience and education do you need to be an online math tutor?
There are no official qualifications for tutors. You don’t need to have an education degree or pass a licensing test like teachers do. However, most online math tutoring companies have some basic hiring requirements, including a background check.
To be a math tutor online, you’ll need to prove you are a math expert, especially if you want to tutor high school and/or college students along with children in lower grades. Many employers require their online tutors to have a high school diploma and a college degree. There may also be a qualification test you need to pass.
If you don’t have a math degree, you may still be able to tutor if you majored in a relevant field, such as engineering or physics. Some employers may require you to have prior teaching or tutoring experience. You may also need to show a tutoring certification – there are many online accreditation programs.
Essential skills to be a successful online math tutor
Here are some vital skills you need to succeed as an online math tutor.
1. Math expertise
Obviously, you need to know a lot about mathematics if you plan to teach it to others. This is especially true if you are going to be helping students with higher-level courses such as algebra, calculus, and probability. It’s important to have a good grasp of mathematical theory and the skills to explain homework problems and real-world applications.
Before applying for jobs, brush up on the relevant skills for your preferred mathematics course. For example, if you want to be a online math tutor for adults, spend time reviewing undergraduate and graduate-level examinations like the PRAXIS or GRE. Try taking a practice test and evaluating how well you did. Even if you don’t do well the first time, you can target growth areas and reteach yourself specific concepts. These strategies will help you demonstrate your expertise and be more effective at helping students with their particular areas of need.
2. Good communication
You’ll need to communicate effectively with your students in order to help them. Good communication skills for a tutor include both listening and speaking. You should be able to actively listen to your clients to understand their needs and incorporate their feedback. It’s also important to be able to present information clearly by speaking and writing.
3. Educational knowledge
To be a successful teacher, you need to know more than just math. You should have a good understanding of educational principles and learning styles so you can customize your lesson plans for each student. For example, it’s important to understand the difference between audio, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles. You should also be able to develop quizzes or other methods for determining how your students are progressing.
Patience is vital for an online math tutor. Many of the students you will work with already feel frustrated, ashamed, or angry about their struggles with math and their need for a tutor. You’ll need to be able to stay calm during emotional outbursts and explain things multiple times from different angles if necessary. It’s also essential to be patient with yourself, especially when you are starting out as a tutor.
5. Organization and time management
Whether you choose to work as a full-time or part-time tutor, you need to have strong time management and organizational skills. It’s important to plan each session out and schedule blocks of time to browse job ads to find more clients. If you are tutoring while working another job or going to college, you need to be able to manage your schedule so you don’t burn out.
6. Computer and tech skills
For most virtual tutoring platforms, you’ll do more than just have video calls with your students. You may need to use virtual scheduling and billing programs. You’ll probably also use presentation software to show examples. The last thing you want to do is try to figure out technological issues while you are supposed to be teaching, so make sure you’re comfortable with all the tools you need to use.
Naturally, you need to have top-notch math problem-solving skills. A tutor should be able to clearly demonstrate methods for solving a variety of different problems. Additionally, you’ll need to apply some problem-solving to each of your students. Each person is different, so you need to be able to take what you know about each client and create a viable solution to teach math in a way that works for them.
How do you become an online math tutor?
Are you ready to start working as an online math tutor? Here’s a step-by-step guide.
1. Get your qualifications
Before you can start browsing job ads, building your own tutoring business, or landing a job with an online provider, you need to make sure you get all your paperwork in order:
- Degree or proof of adequate math expertise
- Tutoring certification (if necessary)
- Background check application
- Business license or self-employment paperwork (if necessary)
Most online tutoring employers will require you to take a qualification test as well as provide the necessary documents.
2. Practice your presentation
You’ll probably be a little nervous during your first few tutoring sessions, but that doesn’t mean you should just go in without any preparation, especially if you’ve never taught before. Take some time to practice talking to the camera and writing on the software you will be using, such as a virtual whiteboard. Make sure you can explain points clearly and demonstrate multiple different techniques for solving problems (when possible).
3. Apply for the position you want
You can start your online math tutoring business, but that path often requires a lot more time and effort than working for an online company. If you choose to work for a company, you have access to a streamlined platform that makes it easy for you to find tutoring jobs and teach virtual sessions. Working with a company also simplifies billing and payment.
There are several different online tutoring organizations. Each one has unique pros and cons, so it’s smart to do some research first to make sure you choose the one that best fits your needs. Here are some things to consider when choosing a company:
- Pay rate
- Required qualifications
- Available hours
- Technological setup
Some companies pay their tutors specific rates for certain courses while others allow tutors to set their own rates. You should also make sure you understand the details of the working relationship. Will you be an employee or an independent contractor? How will the income affect your taxes? Make sure you know if you need to meet a certain number of hours or be available for night or weekend sessions.
4. Develop your profile
If you decide to create your own tutoring company, you’ll have to do all the marketing yourself. Work on your branding and your online profile, and figure out how to advertise so potential clients can find you. You might also set up a system to notify you of the latest job alert postings for math tutors.
Even if you work for an online tutoring provider, you’ll probably need to create some sort of profile. Make sure you have a clear photo you can use: a professional-style headshot if possible. You should also clearly state all your qualifications and write a compelling profile telling students what they can expect from working with you.
The best online math tutoring companies to work for
If you’re thinking of starting a career as an online math tutor, there are several different employers you can work for. Here’s an overview of some of the top online tutoring companies.
Learner was founded by passionate educators who want to provide the best online learning experience for students and tutors. This company focuses on K-12 students but also offers tutoring for college students, so there is a wide range of opportunities for tutors.
To work for Learner, you’ll need to have a degree from a four-year university and significant tutoring experience. The minimum requirements are three years of math tutoring and one year of online math tutoring.
Mathnasium offers instruction for K-12 students. The tutoring centers are owned and operated by franchisees, so the process for becoming a tutor may change slightly depending on the location. For example, some Mathnasium locations promise that their tutors offer both in-person and online instruction.
If you are only interested in tutoring online, Mathnasium may not be right for you. However, if you enjoy the idea of working at a tutoring center and providing in-person instruction, this could be a good choice.
TutorMe offers tutoring in a variety of subjects, not just math. This site is essentially a platform that helps students connect with tutors. Though it does offer a matching service, students may also contact tutors directly based on their online profiles.
Tutors and students rate each other on the site, and your rating may influence how many students choose to learn from you. According to the company’s website, tutors make $16 per hour. This setup could work well as a side gig if you’re going to school or working full-time elsewhere and want to make a little extra money.
Outschool is not exactly a tutoring site, but it could be a great option if you want to build your own tutoring business without starting from scratch or spending hours scouring job ads. Essentially, you can build your own class and offer it to students on the Outschool platform. Outschool takes care of the administrative work and payment, and you focus on building a high-quality course and interacting with your students.
To work with Outschool, you don’t need to have any formal teaching credentials, and you don’t need to pay anything to list your course on the site. Instead, Outschool takes a 30% cut of your income. You can set the price for your courses. This is a good option if you would prefer to teach an online class rather than work one-on-one with individuals.
Top benefits of tutoring at Learner
If you want a fulfilling career that helps people and gives you a lot of flexibility, consider being an online tutor. As a math tutor, you can enjoy the feeling of helping others learn to understand and appreciate math. Being an online tutor with Learner is especially rewarding.
The benefits of working with Learner include access to a well-designed remote learning environment and good pay. The company matches students with tutors, so you can avoid the stress and hassle of “open forum” sites where you have to bid for work against other tutors. The Learner business model stresses long-term relationships with tutors, so it could be a good choice if you want something closer to a career than a short-lived side hustle.