A couple of days ago, my son took a practice SAT. He's always been an Honor Student (at least for the last few years) with an A/B average in all of his subjects. Sometimes he slides in English, but we always thought that was because of his lack of interest rather than a lack of ability.
His scores on the verbal section were low, and his scores in the math section were not high enough to compensate. Based on that practice test, my Honor Roll son, who is in the College Preparatory track at his school, could not even get into college.
With a severe shortage of teachers, poor pay rates driving current teachers into corporate positions and out of the teaching field, and violence in the schools, many parents are finding themselves in a similar situation to mine - intelligent and seemingly successful kids who are receiving a substandard education.
Enter the tutor.
A tutor is a paid professional who provides academic instruction, usually to students who are struggling in a particular subject. While the most sought-after tutors are those who specialize in advanced math and sciences, all subjects are needed. In addition, a key market for tutors these days is coaching students to pass entrance examinations and standardized admissions tests—such as the ACT, SAT and others.
The pay rate for tutoring varies from $15 to $50 per hour, depending on the geographical location, the subject, and the tutor's experience. Some high end tutors can command as much as $150 per hour. Most tutors have a single student at a time, but some will have up to three students in one session, offering a lower fee per student in a group session.
There are no state or federal requirements governing education, training or experience of an individual tutor, however, most tutors have a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in a given area - usually the area in which they choose to tutor. It is not necessary to have a teaching degree or a background in education, but a genuine desire to help students understand the material they are studying is definitely a must.
The start-up costs for a tutoring service also vary, depending on the types of materials one will employ as a tutor. For many tutors, the materials will be supplied by the student (i.e. school books and/or resources assigned by the teacher for completion by the student with the tutor), but some tutors will either choose to supplement these materials with additional, related information, or choose not to offer "homework help", but rather teach the student the concepts using his/her own materials. Should the tutor use the latter, start-up and ongoing costs for materials will be a little more.
The most effective marketing tools for tutors include contacting the local schools (sending a note with a business card and resume to the principle and/or guidance counselor), talking with other parents, participating in community organizations, and having a web site. Also, posting flyers has proven successful and inexpensive.
In short, being a tutor can be a rewarding and very satisfying home-based career with a relatively low start-up and overhead. If you have ever wanted to be in the teaching profession, but abhor the idea of entering a classroom, consider starting a tutoring service.
For more information, read Tutoring Matters: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About How to Tutor By Jerome Rabow, Tiffani Chin and Nima Fahimian
About The Author
Wendy Brown has been operating her home-based office support service for over six years. A homeschooling mom of five, Wendy understands the desire to be home with the kids and has been developing AmericanReviews.com at www.americanreviews.com, a virtual used bookstore featuring work at home books, most of which are under $5, for the last few years with the goal of helping other parents find the resources they need to start their home-based businesses.