Pros: work environment, payroll system, opportunities to advance
Cons: benefits, sick days, consistency of work hours
You can get hired here with no teaching experience: you will have to train to teach each test type anyway. The teachers and trainers at TPR are AWESOME. The office staff is really helpful too, and will scratch your back if you scratch theirs (e.g. you agree to teach a class 40 miles away; they hook you up with a convenient - and higher paying - tutoring – more... assignment). There is tons of opportunity to advance. You can train to teach additional test types, for example, which will immediately add to your regular hourly rate. You might start out teaching SAT, and soon cross-train for ACT, GRE, or GMAT. Even if you have no science background (like me) you can teach the non-science portion of the MCAT. (As long as you score well enough on a practice/real test, and the trainer gives you a passing grade.) After you've taught two classes, you can start tutoring (at a higher rate of course). And if the kids like you, you'll get promoted to a higher rank. Most tutors with the company at least a year will be promoted to the middle rank. Few get promoted to the top rank.
You're thinking "I'm a good teacher, and I could make more money if I charged people privately than by working through a company like this." Let me tell you why you're [mostly] wrong. Working in California for some reason makes networking and referrals really difficult. I don't know if parents don't talk to each other as much, or if they don't want to admit to other parents that their kid needed a tutor, but referrals were few and far between for me. As soon as I moved to Chicago I found myself with a big referral chain of clients. So yeah, you could make a higher hourly rate charging people privately for your services, but you'll have a lot less work. It's reasonable to expect 3 weeknights and full weekends with this company. If you're in school, this is the perfect schedule for you. Teaching classes is really where you can rake in, because even at a lower pay rate, you'll get a ton of work. You can even opt to proctor tests, give demonstrations at free events, train to teach online, write testing materials - the opportunities to make extra money are seemingly endless.
Fair warnings - You are guaranteed to mess something up, at some point. You might be locked out of your classroom. You might oversleep, or forget an appointment. You might be double-booked with another teacher for a room and have to teach your kids in the coffee shop downstairs (angry parents warning). You might go to work Sunday morning with a hangover and not be able to answer a question a kid had about material you have never actually seen before. I can definitively tell you NOT to take your student's offer to play rock band with them in their basement if you're a male teacher. It seems innocuous, but to that kid's dad, you're a creep. If you're a female teacher, be prepared for a 16 year old boy to write you a love letter. You will definitely have a smart aleck student at some point who will call you out in class on not solving a math problem the "real" way (TPR teaches shortcuts to solving questions, and there are some questions written specifically to teach these strategies. These questions are designed NOT to be easily solved the "real" way and some kids might put you on the spot to prove you know what you're doing).
Some nice perks - the payroll system is effortless. Sometimes the office staff lets you buy your class some pizzas or donuts. You might find yourself tutoring kids in REALLY nice houses (a beautiful escape from your messy apartment, let me tell you). You can swear in front of your students. You can wear sandals to work. You can leave your piercings in, color your hair purple, grow an epic beard, have dread locks - these are all descriptions of different coworkers I've had over the years. Another huge perk: are you planning to take the GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT? Train to teach it. I guarantee you'll ace that test. There are even opportunities to travel to Puerto Rico, Thailand, and some other places I can't remember right now.
The few cons - no healthcare, no sick days, no paid vacation or time off, no retirement benefits. If you're sick, you need to be prepared either to go to work anyway, or deal with calling your 12 students' parents at 8 in the morning to tell them you're canceling their 10am class and no, you can't tell them this instant when the makeup will be (then deal with finding a time when all 12 students can make up the class). Sometimes you can find a last-minute sub. See my note about scratching your office staffers' backs above. Canceling tutorials is easier, however. Another thing I should mention is the slow times. There are some periods of the year you will be completely booked. Other times you might have 5 hours a week. Budget.
This was a great job for that time in my life (age 22-27). Even after graduating, it paid better than a job in my field. I highly recommend it! – less