How To Become A Tutor | The Complete Guide

tldr: If you're an experienced tutor that is looking to get into online tutoring, apply to become a tutor on Sherpa. We're an industry-leading platform with fair platform fees.


There could be many reasons why you are looking into becoming a tutor. Are you in between jobs, possibly looking for a fresh new challenge or disgruntled by the current push towards admin and crowd control in schools?

You may be a student looking to subsidise your studies or you may have been a tutor previously and miss sharing knowledge and imparting wisdom to the future generations. Whatever your reason for looking into becoming a tutor, this guide will give you a chunk of information ranging from how to apply, start sessions, and what accreditations you need; to name a few.

The tuition industry is booming, the demand to find an online tutor is becoming ever-popular and for a great many it provides a real alternative to common 9 to 5 jobs or low-rate, part-time positions that provide a false sense of flexibility.

Getting Started

Should I consider becoming a tutor?

The best tutors are naturally passionate about a particular subject and have the expertise in that field to match. They love to continuously learn and are enthusiastic, engaging and exemplary people.

We all remember certain teachers that inspired us at school (even if only a few) and one of the reasons being we felt their love for that subject. The same can be said for tutors.

What qualifications do I need to become a tutor?

One of the myths surrounding tutoring is the need to have particular qualifications to begin. However, you do not need a teaching qualification, to complete a specific course or have particular work experience.

One of the benefits of tuition is how varied each tutor is with their specific teaching style and personality.

The one pre-requisite for tutors is excellent subject knowledge, a passion for learning/teaching and a professional, friendly manner.

If you have this then you can make money from tutoring.

Do I need a DBS check to become a tutor?

While DBS checks are required for certain jobs and voluntary work there is no legal requirement for tutors to be DBS-checked. However, it is worthwhile obtaining one if you are planning to work with students under the age of 18. Many parents will actively seek a tutor that has an active or enhanced DBS.

What different types of tutoring can I do?

Tutoring comes in a variety of forms. From one on one sessions to small groups and lessons can be conducted either online or in person.

There are several benefits to online tutoring:

  • Convenience

  • Simpler Payments

  • Better Communication Channels

  • Lower Prices

But there are also some advantages to traditional tutoring:

  • IRL interactions

  • Better ability to react to emotions and body language

6 steps to become an online tutor

Let's go through step-by-step, exactly how to become an online tutor and achieve your career goals:

1) Determine the subject(s) you want to teach

Before becoming a tutor, you need to know what subject(s) you are able and wish to teach to students. You can base the decision on your interests or the area in which you have the most qualifications. As an example; you may have obtained a degree in a specific subject representing an area of expertise you may wish to tutor in.

2) Decide what level(s) of student you want to teach

Just like deciding the subject(s), you need to determine what level(s) you are comfortable tutoring at. Does your expertise lend to teaching up to A-Level or cap out at GCSE? Evaluate your strengths and the depth of your knowledge to decide the level of students you'll target.

3) Meet educational requirements

Whilst becoming a tutor in the UK doesn't have standard requirements, most tutoring roles will have some form of criteria that you need to meet. These may be experience-based or qualification based. IT entirely depends upon the role you apply for. For example; some positions may require you to hold a degree in that subject at a minimum. Make sure you do your research when applying.

4) Gain some experience tutoring however you can

Employers or clients may decide they prefer online tutors who have experience when teaching or tutoring students. Once you have achieved the necessary level of education or training, seek out entry-level roles to gain experience that will stand you in good stead. Again, do your research before applying!

5) Apply for an online tutoring position

As soon as you feel like you have gained the relevant experience, qualifications and training, you will be able to search for online tutoring jobs at multiple organisations. Review the job requirements and ensure you can meet the expectations. Tailor your application to signal your strengths clearly to the employer for this specific role.

6) Start your own online tutoring business

You may decide to go it alone and begin your own tutoring business. When starting, you need to register as self-employed with HMRC and if you want, form a limited liability company (LLC) with companies house. Seek appropriate guidance if you do decide upon this route.

Applying to Become a Tutor

Every tuition site whether they are an agency or platform will have its way of applying to become a tutor.

The first thing you need to do is identify what kind of tutoring you prefer. This is important as each type of tutoring has different requirements. Once you know this, research the best platform for you.

For example, if you want to do online one-to-one or small-group lessons then Sherpa is the right platform for you.

The application process will usually involve an initial sign-up where you provide some personal information and tell the site about your experience, qualifications, passion for teaching and teaching style although this may vary.

From here, the experience can vary greatly. On sites like Sherpa, you will then be asked to meet for a 20-minute onboarding call in an interactive classroom where a member of the team will answer any questions you have about the platform and give you a breakdown of how to navigate/use the site.

Can I become a private tutor?

Becoming a self-employed private tutor with no affiliations to platforms or agencies is certainly an option. Many people have found great success in doing so. The only issue is the amount of competition you face. Not to mention having to become a marketer, influencer and business manager at the same time in order to keep expanding your client list.

There is a reason agencies and platforms are becoming ever-popular...

Should I sign up with a tutoring agency or platform?

This depends on how much control you want over your tutoring style. Platforms are less restrictive and usually take a lower commission than standard agencies, giving you greater financial control and also the flexibility to decide when you work. The trade-off is that you have to market yourself a little more and generate interest on your profile that is hosted on the site.

Agencies on the other hand demand extortionate commission rates because they do all the marketing and client acquisition for you. You are also given set times/days that you have to work, with no scope for change or variance

Setting up your tutoring profile

4 tips to generate student enquiries

This will vary greatly depending on whether you sign up with an agency, platform or decide to go solo.

  • Conduct some free lessons and get involved in marketing material for the platform/agency.

  • Offer a discount to students who refer new clients to you.

  • Let friends, family and ex-colleagues know about your profile to generate traffic and word-of-mouth marketing.

Signing up with an agency will require very little leg work in order to attract students and begin lessons. Traditional tutoring agencies will assign students to you automatically based solely on the student's needs and you will have little to no input in the decision.

Most platforms are student-led which means that marketing techniques are used to drive students towards the site so that they come across your profile on the site. It is up to you how you lay out that profile in the most appealing way by detailing your experience and teaching style in a positive way.

Is it worth becoming a tutor?

Tutoring is an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only do you get to share your knowledge and help people achieve their goals, but you also get a lot of satisfaction from seeing your students improve.

Tutoring can be very flexible in terms of hours and locations, so it can easily fit around other commitments. It is also a great way to earn extra money.

What is the average hourly rate for a tutor?

The average hourly rate for tutors is £25-35, but this can vary depending on your experience and the type of tutoring you do whether it is in person or online.

A Physics tutor's cost ranges from between £20 to £30 per hour. A more popular GCSE maths tutor will cost a little more per hour due to higher demand, typically around the £40 per hour mark.

Can I make a living as a tutor?

Tutoring isn't only a good-paying side hustle for students, it can also lead to a fulfilling career. On average tutors earn anywhere between £1,500 to £4000 per month when full-time. It is also easier to make a living by becoming an online tutor exclusively due to the lower overhead costs that are commonly involved in travelling in traditional tutoring models.

Final advice to someone starting out as a tutor?

I give this advice to every tutor onboarded at Sherpa. The number one thing is the relationship you have with each student. Taking time to build a good rapport can be the difference between the student hanging onto every word you say, actively listening and participating compared to just regurgitating information back.

I would also advise being as patient as possible. Learning can be difficult and slow at times, so it is important to be encouraging and praise students when they make even the smallest of progress.

Finally, try to make your lessons fun! If students are enjoying themselves they are much more likely to engage with the material and learn more effectively.

Author's profile picture

James Gurnett

12th May

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