Whether you’re searching for help with reading, science, or math, you likely have one overarching question: How much is tutoring? While the complicated nature of this question means there is no easy answer, with a little time and research, you can make smart decisions about the right kind of tutor for you. In this article, we'll discuss these factors and give you the information you need to determine what's fair when hiring a tutor for yourself or your child.
Let’s start with some good news: You aren’t limited to looking for a tutor in your area, finding a safe place to meet, and working out a schedule for in-person tutoring. Because of recent innovations in the tutoring industry, you can now connect with tutors online for a safer and more convenient experience. Some studies even indicate that virtual tutoring provides certain benefits compared to the more traditional, in-person style of instruction.
For tutoring overall, however, studies have found that working with a math tutor online three times a week helped students in the following ways:
- Higher standardized test scores
- Better grades
- Fewer repeated grade levels
When kids had access to online tutoring, another study found that their school attendance, time spent on homework, and sense of well-being each improved. While the benefits of this type of academic support are well documented, the question of affordability remains. Luckily, we have some insight to help you find an affordable tutor online or in your local community.
Why Should You Pay for Tutoring?
We’ve discussed the benefits of tutoring, but are they significant enough to warrant paying for them? Due to the nature of the service, it’s unlikely that you’ll find free tutors with the experience and qualifications necessary to ensure results. And while some school systems may offer additional assistance for students struggling with a subject, this help is often limited by funding, timing, or class size. Additionally, students and parents have little control over the instruction offered, meaning it’s often a gamble as to whether your specific needs will be addressed.
When you pay for tutoring, however, you have more control over who you choose. Whether you prioritize experience, communication skills, or cost, the decision is yours regarding which tutor or tutoring service is best for you. While you may struggle to find someone locally who fits your learning style and personality, online tutoring platforms give you access to hundreds of tutors with a wide variety of backgrounds and specialties.
Those platforms aren’t free, but they’re worth the investment if you want effective tutoring that delivers results.
How Much is Tutoring?
How much you pay for tutoring depends on various factors, which we’ll discuss in a moment. Before we do, let’s first go over some pricing averages and estimates so you have a general idea of what tutoring might cost you today. Keep in mind that prices will shift over time, depending on the economy and other factors.
Generally, the range for private tutoring is $20 to $100 per hour. If you look for tutors in your hometown, you may find some high school or college students willing to tutor basic subject matter for a bit less. Even then, most tutors ask for at least $20 an hour for basic math, elementary writing, or simple science instruction.
Keep in mind that price can be a useful indicator of value when searching for a tutor. Someone charging less than $20 an hour likely has little to no experience teaching. Without any academic experience beyond high school, it’s safe to assume that their expertise will be limited. While this may suit your needs for basic elementary or early middle school tutoring, older students or children requiring special help might struggle to find value.
A good tutor is like an experienced, relatable teacher–except you have that teacher’s sole, undivided attention for the duration of your lesson. Because they are there to help only one student, a tutor adjusts the lesson’s pace, content, and tone to suit that student. Often, this degree of dedication and personalization is just what a student needs to surpass their struggles.
Is that worth paying for? If you want to improve your grades, master a subject, or perform well on an important test such as the SAT, then yes, tutoring is worth the investment. By paying $20 or more an hour for quality tutoring, you ensure that the tutor you hire has the necessary experience and qualifications to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.
As a rule, tutoring rates increase as the difficulty of the subject matter being taught increases. Additionally, there are some other considerations that factor into the price of tutoring.
Factors that Impact the Cost of Tutoring
What determines how much you pay for tutoring? More goes into pricing than you may imagine, so let’s look at a quick list of influential factors.
- Knowledge Level: A tutor who has mastered college-level physics, calculus, trigonometry, or statistics will charge more than someone only qualified to teach elementary school math or elementary algebra. They have invested more time and money to gain a higher level of knowledge, so it’s understandable that they charge more to help others get to their level.
- Education: The more education a tutor has, the more likely they are to charge $40 or more per hour. Think of how your expectations will likely differ when hiring a local high school student to tutor your child versus an accomplished professional with a degree in the subject matter.
- Experience: New tutors may charge less when establishing clientele, as they are still gaining experience. Their rates are likely to increase as they establish long-term clients and become more confident in their tutoring skills. One advantage to working with a new tutor is potentially having the lowest rate locked in before they start to increase prices.
- Subject: Some subjects are more complex and difficult to teach than others. The more challenging the topic, the more closely you should inspect the tutor’s experience and educational achievements. Make sure your tutor is qualified to teach the subject matter you need to learn.
- Location: When hiring a tutor for in-person sessions, where you live will likely influence what you pay. Some affluent areas naturally come with higher prices because tutors know that residents in the area can afford higher rates. If this is an issue, working with an online platform will eliminate geographical differences in tutoring rates.
- Availability/Demand: Once you start actively looking for a tutor, you may find that the most in-demand tutors charge more. Often, this is because they maintain an established client base. As the demand for a tutor’s time increases, every hour on their schedule becomes more valuable.
When determining whether you should pay the rate a tutor demands, consider how each of these factors applies to their services. If the tutor is extremely experienced, possesses degrees or academic accomplishments, or has glowing reviews from past clients, you may decide they’re worth a higher rate. If they don’t have the education, experience, or availability to justify their rate, you should continue looking for a more suitable tutor.
How to Make Room in Your Budget for Tutoring
If high-quality tutoring is necessary but does not currently fit into your budget, you’re not alone. We have some tips to help you make room in your budget for this essential service:
- Give up a luxury service or two temporarily: If you need tutoring short term to prepare for a test or get through a challenging course, consider suspending one or two optional services temporarily. If it means passing a math class or mastering the skills necessary to begin a career, you may decide you can survive with one less television streaming service or your music subscription.
- Add tutoring to your bill list: If you’re like most people, you treat bills differently than you do optional or luxury services. Instead of thinking of tutoring as optional, consider it a utility bill that must be paid each month. By shifting the way you think about this service, you will prioritize finding a way to make payments happen.
- Find a side hustle or part-time job: This is the hard way to pay for tutoring, but you only need a little extra every week or month to cover your sessions. A growing gig economy is developing, and the average person has many ways to make a bit of money, such as answering surveys, delivering groceries, or even arranging products on store shelves. If stretching your budget isn’t possible, consider expanding that budget with occasional side gigs.
How to Find the Best Tutor
Your tutoring needs will change as you progress academically and professionally. If, instead, you’re interested in finding a tutor for your child, they may need different types of help as they get closer to high school graduation or progress through college.
Because of this, it’s crucial to connect with a virtual tutoring service like Learner. By taking your tutoring needs online, you can connect to math tutors with a variety of experience levels and specializations. If you need even more flexibility, you can work with one tutor over time or switch between tutors as your needs change. While changing in-person tutors as you progress is time-intensive and costly, online tutoring simplifies this process.