Extra Income Opportunity: Online Tutoring

By Nora Dunn on 13 March 2008 (Updated 23 December 2013) 9 comments

[Editor's note: If you recently lost your job, take a look at Wise Bread's collection of tips and resources for the recently laid off.]

Do you have an area of expertise and a desire for some extra income? Are you good with concepts and do you like to work with students from elementary school to post-graduate levels? If so, you might have an opportunity to make some money on the side (or even full-time) from the comfort of your home. (See also: Easy Ways to Make Money Online)

Online tutoring is a fast-growing industry, enabled by the age of convenience and high-speed internet connections. By scheduling private tutoring sessions online with your students (once a week for example), you and your students can achieve the same results of an in-person tutoring session — except you can both do it from home. No commuting through snowstorms, no appointments missed because of traffic, and environmental expenses of transportation are reduced too (as an added bonus). (See also: Cost-Conscious Commuting Options)

You use the following tools during an online tutoring session:

  • Instant messaging
  • Interactive whiteboard applications
  • File sharing
  • Chat mechanisms

Although you can work part time or full time as a tutor, most people do it on a part time basis. And although it's casual work, it can't be treated casually. You are usually required to be available for your students consistently week to week throughout the school year. (See also: How to Sell to the Educational Market)

Some of the requirements expected of you include (not all apply, depending on the organization):

  • University degree or equivalent Professional designation
  • Background checks

If you are intrigued by this career possibility, below is a collection of online tutoring companies that may be a good fit for you. It is by no means an exhaustive list, so (as usual), make sure you do some research before jumping in.

Tutor.com

  • Countries of operation: US & Canada
  • Topics: English, Math, Science, Social Studies
  • Required Credentials: University or Professional degree
  • They will pay for training.
  • Pay is based on hours spent tutoring.

Find more info at Tutor.com.

Tutor Vista

  • Countries of operation: US & UK
  • Topics: Math, English, Language Arts, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Integrated Science, and others
  • Required Credentials: Masters degree
  • Doesn't pay for training.

Find more info at Tutor Vista.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

Class of 1

  • Topics: Math, Physics, English, Chemistry, Economics, Statistics, Accounts, Finance, Human Resources Management, Corporate Strategy and Marketing Management
  • Required Experience: Classroom teaching experience in High School/ College/ Graduate/ Post Graduate
  • Required Credentials: Minimum Post graduate degree in the subject with English Medium education

Find more info at Class of 1.

Smart Thinking

  • Countries of operation: US
  • Topics: Accounting, Economics, Finance, Medical Assisting, Neuroscience, Nursing, Medical Surgery, Pharmacology, Online Writing Lab, Spanish
  • Required Commitment: Prefer minimum of 9 hours/week
  • Paid training (10-15 hours)

Find more info at Smart Thinking.

Tutorzilla

  • Topics: Math & Science

I was unable to find any further information about credentials or commitments required.

Find more info at Tutorzilla.

Sylvan Learning

  • Countries of Operation: US & Canada
  • Topics: Wide variety of topics

Sylvan, obviously already a recognized name in the tutoring business, is now operating online too.

Find more info at Sylvan Learning.

Tutor Nation

This service is simply a portal connecting tutors (in all subject areas) with students. They cover the gambit of live tutoring, as well as email tutoring and live online tutoring.

You pay for membership to be listed as a tutor. They guarantee to send you tutor requests or they'll extend your membership for free.

Find more info at Tutor Nation.

If you are looking for teaching experience (or to supplement your existing teaching repertoire), online tutoring may be a way for you to expand your horizons and help a student in the meantime. (See also: Great Jobs for College Students)

Happy tutoring!

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Guest's picture
Shelvia

thanks for the great idea! :)

Guest's picture
Guest

How much money per hour should I expect to do with such a job? approximately of course..

Guest's picture
Guest

Excellent posting Nora!

I've used my education and training to teach for several colleges online. And now I have teamed up with my brother-in-law and developed an online budget planning web site, that educates people on budgeting and personal finance.

Joe

Guest's picture
Guest

I have a degree in English and tried to sign up with Tutor.com last year. I easily passed their tests, was accepted, and was allowed to download their propriety software and tutoring manuals. My last step was to provide my education info, tax ID, and other personal data for a background check and for direct deposit setup. Now, I have lived a virtually blameless, and it must said, boring life, so the background check was nothing more than a formality. I expected to have my sign-up process finalized quickly, or to at least receive confirmation that they had received the (highly sensitve) information I had sent. Silence. I never heard from Tutor.com again, despite repeated faxes and emails requesting nothing more than confirmation that my personal information had been received and was being processed.
After a while, I decided if I couldn't trust these people to deal with me professionally during the sign-up process, I might not be able to depend on them after I was an active tutor either, so I withdrew my application. Needless to say, I sent them more than one communication to this effect, along with a request that they DESTROY the documents I had faxed and emailed that contained my social security number, past addresses, etc. Of course, they STILL did not respond, so for all I know all this sensitive information is floating around out there somewhere, waiting to be taken advantage of by an identity thief. Tutor.com is supposed to have one of the best reputations in the online tutoring business, but I can't say they impressed me. Approach with caution, and keep a close watch on your paperwork!

Guest's picture
Alicia Grime

My name is Alicia G. I also have applied at tutor.com and tried passing their on line exams and have not passed one of them. I do not think of myself as stpid by any means. I graduated from college with a Teaching Degree and went six years to get this degree.I am glad to see that somebody else has a complaint with tutor .com as well. I have 14 years of teaching experience.It seems that People do not want to pay much for any kind of professional help these says but they do want all your personal information.I have learned not to give out certain information until they say I am actually hired.My e mail is rexflow@juno.com If snybody would like to hire me as an on line ESL tutor.

Guest's picture
Guest

Guest (comment #4), I'm sorry you feel that way about Tutor.com!

I signed up with them in October of last year and everything went smoothly. I have a M.Ed. in English and a clean background, too. I'm not sure why they never responded to you -- my stuff went through pretty quickly. I also got lots of e-mails with instructions on each step and links to websites. Are you sure you faxed it to the correct number and it went through?

Guest #2: This is the only Tutoring service I have experience with so far, but you can expect to make $8 as a probationary tutor and then it goes up from there to about $15/hour for mentors.

Guest's picture

Unlike Guest #2, I had no problems being processed by Tutor.com. I have an M.S.Ed in secondary education and a B.A. in criminal justice. I despise Tutor.com and the bratty little students that connect to them. I just began using the Ziizoo interface, and at $25/hour (minus 15%) I am now making MORE THAN DOUBLE what I was making with the ridiculous Tutor.com. The rates are SET BY THE TUTOR. I am tutoring a college student in the area of criminal justice. So far, she is my first student. I am in the process of marketing myself and project that I will be able to make over $1,000/month if I take on four more students. My plan is to eventually purchase my own software and develop my own interface so that I don't have to give anyone a percentage of the money.

I am having a wonderful experience at Ziizoo, and the student really makes me feel that she NEEDS the help I am giving her.

I wouldn't wish Tutor.com on my worst enemy.

Guest's picture
Wayne Johnson

tutor.com was recommended to me in WomansDay magazine. I got online, did the tests and started the long process of getting 'onboard.' I faxed in everything required (several times,)did the online mock session (several times)then tutor.com dropped off the face of the earth as far as communication was concerned. False starts, mishandling of information,non-handling of information, all of this just a basic repeat of some of the experiences relayed by some of the guests above. Tutor.com acts like they are hot stuff but they greatly dashed my optimistic expectations of some valid part time to fulltime work where I could use my 4-year degree for something besides languishing in a call center. Shame on you, tutor.CON!

Guest's picture
Guest

Thanks for the feedback. I just eliminated them from my list. Good luck.