Back in the days of the Ancient Greeks and Romans, tutors were often famous academics, scholars, and philosophers. Sometimes they were royal advisors from conquered nations. But nowadays, becoming a tutor is a bit simpler than all that.
Plenty of personality types can make great tutors. And there’s a wide variety of subjects to tackle. We asked the experts at Care.com—an online marketplace that connects millions of families around the world with caregivers (including tutors)—what makes a great one.
Here are just a few highlights of what they told us.
1. You Know Your Stuff
Knowledge is the basis of any tutoring relationship. If you geek out on ancient Greek history or go crazy for the laws of Newtonian physics, there’s a good chance you could channel that passion into a paying position. Tutors are enthusiasts of the highest order. They get to harness their passions to help kids and peers learn and grow. They love learning so much that they want to help others do the same. Do you?
2. You’re A Great Communicator (And A Leader)
If knowledge is the foundation of great tutoring, communication skills are the house. Being able to connect with people, clearly communicate ideas, and answer difficult questions are all equally as important as the facts themselves. Are you a sports team captain? Debate champion? Host on your college radio station? All of these are good signs that you might make a great tutor.
3. You’re Good With Kids…Or Teenagers…Or Your Peers
Tutoring means taking part in the growth and development of your students, no matter what age they are. And each age group presents its own set of challenges for tutors. If you’ve got experience with kids, perhaps as a babysitter or a nanny, then that might uniquely qualify you to help children learn something like math or basic grammar. If you’ve been a teaching assistant or an RA, then you might actually be better suited to connecting with people your own age. Consider your skills and experience, and you might find that you have a perfect target market for your tutoring business.
4. You’ve Got A Knack For Business
Tutoring is a noble pursuit, but it’s also a business. Whether it’s a flexible side gig to get some extra scratch or a full-time business you’re putting together, you’ve got to know how to sell yourself, manage relationships, meet deadlines, and optimize your output. You can’t be afraid to explain to people the unique value of your services and tell them what your rate ought to be. When you’re able to combine tutoring skills with business prowess, both you—and your students—are going to be a lot happier.
5. You’re A Master Of Organization
Progress takes persistence—and you can’t keep moving forward if you don’t know where you’ve been. The best tutors are extremely organized and analytical. Think binders, color-coded stickers, labelled worksheets, and the like.
If you can track your students’ progress and problems, then you can do a much better job helping them achieve their goals. Whether they’re aiming for an A or practicing for a perfect score, an organized person is more likely to help them get there.
6. You’re Bi-Lingual (Or Even Better…Trilingual)
While there are plenty of other subjects to tutor, language tutoring is one of the most common. Not only are language skills some of the hardest to master, they’re also in high demand. If you’ve got two languages down pat—reading, speaking, and writing—then you’d be a great candidate to help other people master one of them. Bonus points if you’re a grammarian with a huge vocabulary.
7. You’re Actually Certified (Even Though It’s Not A Requirement)
While a certification is by no means a requirement to tutor on Care.com, it can be a nice thing to have. Here’s why.
If you’ve got a bachelor’s degree and some tutoring experience, you can take it to the next level with a certification from the American Tutoring Association. Certification can make it easier to find students and can even lead to better pay. If tutoring is going to be your side (or even main) hustle, then getting a certificate to prove your skills can be a great next step.
Think you’ve got what it takes to tutor? Check out open opportunities in a wide variety of subjects on Care.com.