It used to be that only those struggling learners or people who just needed to make it through got tutors (in the classic sense, that is). There were also the students with money, who had the tutors because they could afford it and the tutors made their lives easier. But from a traditional perspective, tutoring had a slight stigma, because if you needed to get a tutor that gave the impression that you couldn’t make it on your own. The tutor was predominantly there to help guide the low performers back up to where they would pass a class and not have to repeat it or go to summer school.
These days there has been more of a shift in the tutoring scene. Yes, there are still the struggling learners who need that extra one-on-one help that is going to help them to just get through their graduation requirements. But now there is an influx of the more over-achieving types. With more and more people going on to college and subsequent graduate programs after that, the drive of the students and their parents to get outstanding grades is high. There is also a lot of pressure on the students to perform so well because of all the competition out there.
As this demand of students who want A’s and B’s continues to grow, so does the demand for tutoring services. Students can access tutoring through a variety of ways. First of all, they can go about finding a local person who has either advertised their tutoring services or is known through another acquaintance. There are also plenty of opportunities to find tutors online, at sites such as tutor.com. There are also usually various local centers that function in matching students with tutors.
This is where the cost to benefit discussion has to come in. From the student/parent end, depending on the option selected, tutoring can get quite pricey. If they happen to know someone, they might get lucky and the cost might be free or marginal. If they find an independent person, such as a college student looking for some extra cash, they might only have to pay $10-$20 per hour depending on what that person feels like charging them. Online tutoring sites can cost upwards from $29 per hour (although there are usually discounted packages available if several hours are purchased together upfront). Going through a tutoring service can cost $35 or more per hour. Since the demand for tutoring is high, companies know that they can charge this much and that most parents will pay it. The higher pay also allows the companies to be more selective in who they attract as a potential tutor.
On the other end, since this niche is growing, it is a viable option as a side job for some supplemental income, particularly for college students or teachers. If you decide to be an independent, there are obviously no restrictions put on your background or credentials, although you should probably be fairly well versed in the subject area that you intend to tutor in. With online programs they will usually do a background check and require you to pass a series of tests in subject areas in which you would like to tutor, to make sure that they consider you competent enough in the subject. They might also require that you have a bachelor’s degree. Private companies will follow similar protocol, and are definitely more likely to require a college degree. However, there are always going to be students who need to be tutored, and the earning potential is high. Since most of the services are charging $30 and more per hour, they are willing to pay their tutors $20 per hour (or more) in some cases. So if you have the skills (particularly in math, science, and reading) and would like to make some extra cash, tutoring is probably a good option for you.