How to Become an Online Tutor and Make a Business Out of It

Roi kaufman headshot
Roi Kaufman
Updated May 5 2021
How to become an online tutor - young school girl giving a thumbs up
Roi kaufman headshot
Roi Kaufman
Updated May 5 2021

So you want to know how to tutor online?  Becoming an online tutor is a great way to make extra money in a part-time capacity, whether you are a college student, a former teacher or professor, or a professional in an industry that has in-demand knowledge to impart.

First off, what subjects do you know like the back of your hand?  Are you equipped to teach these subjects to another person? A few subjects might require specific qualifications while others like teaching math or languages online do not.  The more qualified you are, the more valuable you will be to your future students.

Starting a tutoring business from home is certainly no easy feat but you can find great success if you stick to a plan and avoid rushing the details. In order to begin, you must take these tips on how to become an online tutor into consideration:


Choose Technology That Works for You

Once you’ve decided on the subject you want to teach, you will need to choose an online platform that allows you to communicate your message with ease.  You have many online platforms to choose from, including a nice little platform I am unsurprisingly most partial to called Kaltura Virtual Classroom, purpose-built for online instruction.  Your platform of choice must have an easy-to-use interface, ideally be web-based so your students won’t have to download and install any applications, and include a mix of collaborative tools to help keep your students engaged.

One of the most important tools is an interactive whiteboard that allows you to sketch out ideas during a brainstorming session, write out equations, annotate, and allow your students to work on the same board.  A cloud-based, content management system is always helpful to keep all of your files organized in one place. It may also be relevant to play videos, share files, share your screen, and build multimedia quizzes.

Obviously, you must make sure you and your students have a computer, a reliable internet connection, and a webcam and microphone.  Technical problems can bring an inspiring lesson to a halt. Make sure you test your system beforehand and build comfort within your platform of choice before expecting your students to do the same.

Find Online Tutoring Jobs or Go Solo

If you are doing K-12 tutoring, sites like Skooli, Connections Academy, Aim-for-A, or might be right for you. It’s also a good idea to keep a close watch on tutoring job boards.  But while you are scouring all these sites and forums, it never hurts to boost your presence and inform your friends on social media platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn. Your community will be happy to share the word about the service you are offering.

You can also advertise directly on Google using Google AdWords or consider creating an advertising platform on Facebook, but these options come at a greater cost. Posting in online marketplaces for freelance services like Fiverr, a site that allows you to ask for or receive a myriad of services starting at $5, or even Craigslist may quickly connect you to students in need of a tutor.


Create Your Business

So now that you have found your students, and know the technology you will use to teach them, you can begin to think about how much you should charge for your online lessons.  You can do a basic web search to explore what others in your field are charging, but your best bet is to reach out to others in your community to gauge the most suitable rates.

Online tutors can charge anywhere from $20-$80 per hour so any tips from fellow tutors are a big help.  Be aware that you will likely charge less for online learning lessons than if you conducted face-to-face lessons due to the lack of overhead of teaching online.

Once you have set your price, you must decide how you wish students to pay. Paypal is an obvious choice.  But if you prefer an alternative, check out Google Pay, Intuit, We Pay, or these 23 Best Paypal Alternatives of 2021.  Since you asked about how to tutor online, surely you’ve examined the legal side of going into business for yourself.  If not, it’s best to consult an accountant or fellow tutors for any tax tips or questions. At the very least, you will likely have to report your income by filing a 1099 tax form or applicable tax forms for independent contracting in your country of residence.


Design the Course Well

Every course should not be a cookie-cutter one.  Make sure you alter the direction of the lesson depending on the subject and the number of participants in the session.  For how long should you lecture? When might it be advantageous to break out students into smaller groups to practice what they are learning?

To gauge if a student is absorbing your lesson or to spice it up, consider giving them a quiz or playing an instructive video.  Some students complain about the lack of personal connection and dynamism when receiving instruction online.  The key is to make it engaging and as interactive as possible.

The biggest obstacle in putting together the perfect course for your future students could be you!  People who are first-timers at working for themselves may find it is too easy to get caught up in a lack of productivity.  No bosses can translate to a lack of deadlines, so it is vital that you stick to a schedule and keep it. Also, prioritize carefully which tasks on your agenda are most important, and don’t get too caught up with the minor details.

Expect the Unexpected

All the details concerning how to become an online tutor have almost been sorted out.  All that is left is actually teaching your students. Going into your first session, you must have your game plan ready. What is the student expecting? How long will each lesson be?

Before your first class begins, you will need to make sure that your students are able to access your platform of choice and that they are comfortable with it.  Do they have adequate system requirements, an acceptable webcam, and microphone, and is their internet good enough to hold a session? Did you prepare materials for them to get sorted out beforehand?

Now you might want to practice by giving a lesson to someone in your family or a friend.  It will help you to be calmer and more smooth when it’s time to deliver your real lesson. And the feedback you receive afterward will help you be the best you can be. You might even consider giving a first-time student a free consultation lesson to work out all the bugs.  This trial and error process will sharpen your performance and ensure your student will come back despite the first lesson potentially having some wrinkles.


You now have some tips on how to become an online tutor and make a business out of it.  Remember, nowadays career-oriented students and adults are willing to take any step necessary to get ahead professionally.  But since many do not have the time within their inflexible and demanding schedule, they are giving online learning a chance. You are learning how to tutor online at the right time.

Though eLearning has been around for years, modern technology has created unlimited possibilities in the world of education, with more and more people signing up to take classes online every day.  You are at the forefront of this online teaching revolution and the sky’s the limit.