How To Become an Online Tutor (Step-by-Step Guide)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated December 8, 2022

Published September 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Online tutors have more flexibility to choose clientele and subjects than tutors who work face-to-face with their students. This is an excellent job for people who enjoy educating others, have expert knowledge in one or more fields, and want the freedom to work from virtually anywhere in the world. By understanding how to find work in this, you can decide whether this career is appropriate for your interests and skill set. In this article, we discuss how to become an online tutor and provide you with a list of skills required to succeed in this field.

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How to become an online tutor

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you become an online tutor:

1. Establish your brand and audience

Begin by considering your brand and identify your target audience and fields of study. Whether you're a student with excellent grades or a professor in specific subjects, online tutoring requires you to know your audience so you can develop lessons to suit them. Decide which subject support to offer by identifying your skills and the topics in which you have advanced knowledge. Consider doing market research to find out which topics are most in-demand and whether you have the skills necessary to teach in those niches.

To help build your brand, also consider developing interactive games and activities with online tools. Create slideshows, stories, and other engaging learning experiences. This separates you from other online tutors and ensures students distinguish your learning style. Creating more accessible and visual material for students ensures they learn easier and develop a better understanding of the subject.

Related: 11 Tutor Interview Questions With Sample Answers

2. Choose your course pattern

Next, choose your course pattern depending on the target audience. To do this, identify the needs of your target audience and consider their learning styles and challenges. If your students have difficulty learning, try developing video or recorded classes, so they can review the material following your sessions.

3. Develop a course model

When you determine your skills and course pattern, follow up by developing your course model. This requires you to choose between an academy model and a night school model. Academy models provide students with immediate and unlimited access to courses once they pay for them. During these courses, students learn every detail of the subject. Night school models are typically more traditional and require students to pay for lessons immediately. Students follow your curriculum and complete exams according to this predetermined schedule.

4. Choose your platform

Finally, choose the platform on which you sell your classes. Choose between registering with existing websites or beginning your own platform. The benefit of registering with existing websites is that you only need to upload your lessons and lesson plan. When you develop your own platform, you have more freedom over the content produced, as well as how much to charge students. If you choose to pursue the creation of your own platform, you can also consider the following:

Domain name

Your domain name is the name of your website and typically reflects your business name. You need to choose a domain name when you register your website. Remember to use an accessible website name because this is the website your students use to access your classes.

Hosting

Next, you need to find a host for your website, which keeps your data and files live. There are several hosting companies available online, so choose one that coincides with the overall size and needs of your business. When you find your host, choose a subscription that suits you financially.

SaaS-based solutions

SaaS-based solutions, or software as a service solution, are necessary when you want a website that hosts tutoring lessons. These platforms are closed source and you're unable to modify them with coding. If you build a SaaS-based website and want to modify it, you need to contact the seller to do so.

Related: SaaS Marketing (Definition, Advantages, and Key Elements)

Custom solutions

These solutions provide tutors with the option to customize code. If you lack the skills necessary to edit this code, consider contacting a developer. Custom solutions are scalable and are modifiable as your business develops.

5. Manage your classes

Online tutoring websites provide tutors with accessible tools to interact with students. For example, some platforms have digital notepads to help you take notes during sessions with students. Use the platform's library to edit your curriculum as your course advances. This is useful if you notice your classes fail to suit the needs of particular students. When this happens, consider establishing a secondary course that suits the needs of specific demographics. For example, you may develop science classes specifically tailored to students with ADHD.

6. Market yourself

The last step to becoming an online tutor is to market yourself and develop your clientele. Use online marketing and advertisements to develop campaigns that direct traffic to your website or to the tutoring website you use for classes. Keep in mind that you can develop campaigns with a limited budget. Consider developing an email marketing campaign to reach out to potential customers and clients. You can also increase traffic by using search engine optimization and writing blog posts to increase visitors and viewers. Reach out to schools to find out whether they have a potential client base for you.

Skills required to become an online tutor

Here is a list of tutoring skills for those who want to become online tutors:

Patience

Patience is essential for all online tutors because you repeat the same topics for multiple students, and need to translate complex terms for your students. Keep in mind that you're the expert on the topic you teach. Remember to stay calm and be patient to ensure students feel supported. This helps your sessions to run smoothly.

Optimism

Demonstrating optimism with students encourages them to continue their studies. To do so, consider complimenting students often. When you observe hard work or strong skills, praise the student. Recognize when your students challenge themselves and overcome those challenges.

Empathy

You need to have empathy when working with students because if they experience difficulty in school, having someone demonstrate empathy makes a significant difference in their learning experience. Using empathy motivates students and makes them feel understood. You also empower students to continue learning by using empathy.

Confidentiality

Online tutors maintain student confidentiality while tutoring. During sessions, students divulge sensitive information, and it's your responsibility to ensure that information remains private. Before beginning sessions, consider having students sign a contract and discuss a tutoring agreement. This agreement helps to ensure that the student's information remains confidential and builds a trusting relationship.

Expertise in particular fields

Technical knowledge refers to the skills required to complete specific tasks. You need technical knowledge in the field in which you tutor students. Online tutors become experts in their fields and help students excel in their classes as well. To work as an online tutor, you typically need a high level of knowledge in specific subjects. You also benefit from technical skills to navigate computer systems while working online.

Active listening

Online tutors need strong active listening skills to pay attention to student needs. During sessions, focus on students to identify problems they may have in their classes. Demonstrate active listening skills by maintaining eye contact, nodding when appropriate, and summarizing or paraphrasing the student's words to establish whether you understand them correctly. By demonstrating active listening skills, you ensure students feel heard and valued.

Related: Active Listening Skills: A Key To Effective Communication in the Workplace

Communication

Tutors need good communication skills to understand and vocalize student concerns. You also need good written communication skills because you need to contact students by email and write notes for your students to read later. These tasks require you to be able to write clearly and effectively to convey your intended message.

Related: How To Become an Effective Communicator

Problem-solving

Online tutors need problem-solving skills to identify issues and create solutions for students. This helps to establish a healthy working relationship and helps you be more effective at assisting students. The role may require you to identify where students have challenges in their classes and how they can best understand a subject.

Related: Problem-Solving Skills: Definitions and Examples

Time-management

Tutors benefit from good time management skills because they typically work with several students. You need to accommodate several schedules and ensure that sessions stay within their designated time. You also need these skills to remain disciplined during sessions and ensure you remain focused on the subject or task.

Leadership

You need to have good leadership skills to lead students toward a particular goal or path. Online tutors have a responsibility to multiple students and act as mentors to these students. By having good leadership skills, you can help students stay on track and motivate them to do well.

Now that you know what being an online tutor entails and how to become an online tutor, you can work towards starting your own tutoring business.

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