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What Qualifies You to Start One to One Tutoring Jobs?

By Jon, published on 16/07/2018 We Love Prof - AU > Tutoring > Advice for Tutors > What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Tutor?

In the UK, there are no legal requirements to have any specific qualifications to become a private tutor.

In general, tutors of a specific academic subject will normally have a background or qualification in that area, usually to degree-level or equivalent. It is not compulsory to have a degree, but it is naturally quite an important component for providing a great tutoring service and obtaining tutoring jobs London, Manchester, Glasgow and elsewhere. After all, you need to be confident in your own abilities your subject if you’re going to help others improve.

Many tutoring jobs at agencies will recommend or even demand that you have at least a university-level knowledge of the subject you wish to tutor before accepting any applications to join their teaching team. They might also prefer that you have first-hand experience in certain subjects that might be more specialist. The demand for a high level of knowledge in a certain area, along with the preference for teaching experience in the industry makes tutoring perfect for jobs after teaching.

Many parents of students might well prefer that you have some sort of academic qualification in the subject you tutor, depending on the level you teach. Even if you’re a physics undergrad, your A level in maths may be enough to teach students up to GCSE level.

Likewise, if you are teaching maths at A-Level or university-level, for example, it would benefit both you and your student to have a significant academic background in maths. This will usually entail having a degree in the subject, ensuring that you have the ability to teach it properly with a perfect understanding of the subject yourself.

This is important because learning goes far beyond the school syllabus. As a tutor, you should encourage your students to ask questions and gain a wider understanding of the subject they are studying, even if it’s not strictly relevant to the syllabus they’re following. This is made possible when you can offer that wider knowledge that not only helps students to understand their work in a new way, but that motivates them to get to know more about a topic.

Being able to teach beyond the curriculum is also about much more than the subject itself; it’s about helping students to understand their own learning style and teaching them how to exploit it to achieve their academic goals.

However, there are plenty of instances where qualifications and extensive experience can be very useful. Many skills don’t require a strict academic knowledge, such as more vocational and creative subjects, for example.

Tutor Jobs are More Than Pure Academia

Perhaps you tutor a musical instrument. In order to give music lessons, it is not necessary to have any official grades in your instrument – just skill and great teaching strategies. However, if you are preparing your student for instrument grades and exams, it’s important that you understand the grading and assessment systems yourself, so that you can help your student pass.

Thankfully, it’s highly likely that as a music tutor, you’ll hold several ABRSM or Trinity Guildhall certificates yourself, so you’ll be more than familiar with the examination process. However, syllabuses do change from time to time, so you’ll need to keep up with these changes to ensure that your students are fully prepared for their assessments and nothing is missed.

Students look to take up new skills as a release or just for fun all the time. Home-tutoring doesn't have to take place at home. Tutoring can be broader than school subjects. Source: Upsplash

Tutoring doesn’t just revolve around academic subjects or teaching school children. Many adults seek private tutoring to help them develop a particular skill or subject either for professional development or just for fun.

Many tutors specialise in music, art, yoga, marketing, business, and computer skills such as software and coding, which can be incredibly useful in the professional world.

If you offer tuition in one of these more specialist subjects such as IT-based or media-based skills, for example, it is more likely that you will have extensive experience in this area, be it academic or professional. It is not necessary to have any specific qualifications, but students will naturally be drawn to tutors who have the technical experience to teach in that area.

As a tutor of a less common subject, it may be difficult to know where to advertise your services. Luckily, Superprof caters to the needs of all tutors and students, so whatever your subject, whether it’s singing, coding, sewing or personal training, you can join a community of others just like you whilst building your online presence and attracting customers.

For this type of tutoring, it is almost always preferable that you will have industry-specific experience and knowledge. Particularly with adult students, teacher training and qualifications are rarely sought after in a home tutor, as their reasons for finding a tutor are not associated with academic achievement such as improving grades.

Therefore, with many tutoring companies, there are no minimum or maximum qualifications required to start working as a home tutor. There are all sorts of students just as there are all sorts of tutors. All you need to do is create your profile and start advertising, and students will choose a tutor based on what suits their personal way of learning as well as their individual goals.

Personal Qualities Can Make or Break Becoming a Tutor

Being a private tutor requires a certain level of skill and expertise, but it is up to you to advertise your credentials accordingly and decide whether you are competent to tutor in a certain subject.

Above all, it is important to remember that experience and human qualities are what really qualifies you to be a great tutor.

When considering a career in private tutoring, ask yourself if you have the following qualities and skills:

  • Perseverance, patience and a flair for teaching
  • Creativity and enthusiasm with teaching strategies and lesson planning
  • Passion and talent for your subject
  • A love for teaching and helping people learn at various levels

Tutors should be creative and encouraging! There are no necessary qualifications – just an inventive way of teaching! Source: Pixabay

Students learn in all sorts of ways. The true sign of a great tutor is the ability to create individualised methods of learning that are tailored specifically to the student.

In order to successfully achieve this, you’ll have to pay attention to small details during your sessions with the student which give clues as to their preferred learning strategies.

You can also ask them about their learning style during your first meeting, however, while knowing that a student is a visual learner is useful, there may be some undiscovered preferences – it’s all about trying new things and seeing what works best.

As a tutor, you should also appreciate that you will have to employ many methods that don’t suit your own learning style. The most talented tutors will not only know how to identify the best teaching methods for each student, but they will also be able to find creative ways of implementing them so that the student can learn as efficiently as possible.

If you feel as though you have these qualities, and that you can boost students’ grades and cultivate skills in an easy, positive environment, then you are qualified to be a home tutor!

Do you Need Teaching Experience to Become a Tutor?

Many tutors provide a private tutoring service alongside a full-time teaching job. It is common for current and retired qualified teachers to offer these services, and they are often the preferred choice among school students over tutors who do not have experience as a certified teacher.

Many students do find that their way of learning is better supported by someone with different experience and skills to offer, so teaching qualifications are not only unnecessary but sometimes undesired too. In fact, where some parents feel that only qualified teachers will have the knowledge and skills to be able to boost their child’s grades, sometimes, viewing subjects and tasks from a non-teaching perspective can help students things in a different light which ultimately benefits them.

This is because the reason that so many students are struggling to keep up with their peers in the classroom is the one-size-fits-all teaching approach used in schools which doesn’t cater to the needs of each individual. Of course, it would be incredibly difficult for schools to start employing a different, individualised approach, and doing so may even require a restructuring of the curriculum or the education system itself, so this is where tutors come in.

As a tutor it’s your job to help students to understand what they’ve been taught at school – but this doesn’t mean that you have to regurgitate what they have just been told at school. Instead, your task is to identify any problem areas and use your initiative to further the student’s understanding.

Students and parents sometimes find that tutors who are not qualified teachers can offer a different approach to teaching. It is often preferred to have an instructor with industry-specific experience and work-based knowledge that is more practical in its nature, rather than theoretical. For example, students looking to find a tutor to provide one on one math tutoring may be drawn to those who have had experience in accounting or economics.

It is also common for students currently studying a degree to tutor alongside their studies. It is not necessary to have finished your degree to start tutoring, and many students – particularly of secondary school age – tend to find this level of tutoring well suited to their way of learning and understanding.

In addition, undergraduate tutors can offer expertise in exam technique and test prep, as they will be more than familiar with the education system when it comes to sitting GCSE and A Level exams.

Many students have difficulty with applying their knowledge to be able to answer test and assignment questions. Someone who is constantly writing, such as an undergraduate, can act as a writing tutor to help students communicate their knowledge to the exam boards as effectively as possible – even if they’re not tutoring a humanities subject. Many science subjects such as chemistry, physics and biology require students to provide long, detailed written answers, so improved written skills can make all the difference.

Sometimes learning from someone who is also in the education system can make it easier to establish a good tutor-tutee relationship as both teacher and student can identify with one another and share ideas on study skills.

Such relationships also promote mentoring in areas other than learning, which makes for more productive sessions. For example, undergrad tutors will be able to advise students on A Level subject choices and submitting university applications based on their personal experiences.

So, although concrete teaching experience can be helpful for many students, there are also many advantages to hiring a tutor who has never taught in a classroom.

Tutoring for Specific exams

When tutoring exam-specific course subjects, such as GCSE, A-Level or International Baccalaureate courses, it is important to have a good knowledge of how they work. Familiarising yourself with the course structure, content and assessment will help you prepare your student to get great results and achieve academic success.

It might be a good idea to have the main course texts or textbooks for your subject, particularly if you tend to tutor a specific academic level such as GCSE or A-Level. Having these resources means that you can learn the syllabus and assessment structure and plan your lessons with these in mind. By doing this, you increase your student’s chances of improvement in your subject, which means tangible results and positive tutor reviews for you!

You should also familiarise yourself with the different courses available to certain age groups. For example, the difference between A-Level and International Baccalaureate courses can be huge, and the syllabus and exams can focus on completely different aspects of the same subjects. Knowing how to target your lessons to suit the assessment criteria of various curriculums will minimise the risk of teaching anything your student doesn’t need to know and therefore prevent confusion for the student.

As a science tutor, you might teach students who are taking a BTEC course or similar, which can also be completely different to standard sixth-form studies. Although you don’t need to know these courses inside out, you should be able to learn quickly and adjust your teaching to suit certain courses.

You might also find past papers and mark schemes for exams that your student is preparing for. Not only will this help you get familiar with the structure of your students’ assessments, but it will also enable you to give exam-focused help and guidance to your student which is specific to their syllabus and exam assessment board.

Having the extra knowledge and resources that are available to school teachers means that you can understand how your students learn in the classroom and what is required of them, and in turn you can learn what is required of you as a home tutor to help them succeed.

As a tutor, you can use this knowledge alongside any work or industry experience you might have, so your student can get the best from your skill set and expertise – something they do not necessarily have access to with school teaching alone.

You might also create your own resources to help your student learn in a different way to how they might at school, with a less rigid structure. You don’t need any qualifications to show some initiative and creativity with your tutoring sessions, and often having no standard teacher training can help you approach teaching differently and better suit how your students learn.

Can a Lack of Qualifications Hinder Becoming a Tutor?

There are no legal requirements for one to one tutors to hold any professional qualifications – but having them does help.

No requirements for qualifications means that tutoring can be simple and easy to get started with. But it can, of course, present certain problems too.

With no official qualifications or training it can be more difficult to deliver a particular standard of teaching that some students and parents will expect. With no teacher training, it’s up to you to decide if you’re right for the job and if you can deliver an outstanding supplemental instruction service.

Of course, deciding whether you’re fit to teach a certain subject comes down to common sense. You wouldn’t attempt to teach A-level students if you’re not educated to college level yourself, but if your personal experience has gone far beyond the level you’d like to teach, your ability to provide help with a certain subject may be more than enough.

Ask yourself questions that clients may ask you:

  • What makes you suitable to be a private educator?
  • What experience do you have in the area?
  • What is the highest level you feel comfortable teaching?

Understanding your own level of expertise and being able to explain your suitability for tutoring roles will help you to market your skills. Whether you’re creating leaflets to distribute in your community, creating an online tutor profile on Superprof or discussing your tutoring services in person, being aware of the concerns that prospective clients may have and preparing answers for them will help you persuade people to give your services a try.

Unfortunately, however, with fewer qualifications, it’s likely that you’ll be under the microscope for longer than others, even after you’ve been hired.

Because of this, it’s important to consider buying insurance for you and your business – particularly professional indemnity insurance – which is a form of protection against any legal liability as a result of professional malpractice or misconduct.

In the event that a client might want to sue you for misleading or incorrect teaching, you will be covered for any legal fees or compensation.

For this reason, it is crucial that all the information you give, and skills or qualifications that you advertise, are accurate and honest. You must be able to verify and provide proof of any qualifications that you claim to have.

If you do have any qualifications, you can upload them to Superprof to be verified by our team. Once they have been checked, you can advertise your qualifications on your tutor advert to help attract prospective students.

There’s a huge array of teaching resources and ideas available to help you start teaching at home. From books to downloadable worksheets, online blogs and videos, you can find inspiration to provide attentive and informative home tutoring sessions.

Subject-specific expertise and strong teaching techniques are important to making your tutoring business thrive, and will make your service stand out – regardless of which qualifications you have! The ultimate qualification is your ability to help your students learn and enjoy the subject you love.

The best tutors are the ones that are not only passionate about their subject, but are also passionate about learning.

To be passionate about learning means to be driven in your role as an educator as well as being open to constant learning yourself. You should always be aiming to better your tutoring skills by learning new teaching techniques, understanding various learning styles and exploring ways to overcome any obstacles that your students may be facing.

There are many reasons students opt to take private lessons outside of school. Maybe they’re falling behind their peers at school, perhaps they understand the course content but struggle with applying their knowledge, or maybe they feel that they’re not realising their full academic potential.

Regardless of the motivation behind seeking the help of a tutor, it’s your job to put yourself in the shoes of a struggling or unsatisfied student and ask yourself what the best course of action is. Speak with your students and their parents, find out about what motivates them, and once you’re familiar with their strengths and weaknesses, be sure to provide feedback on their progress.

Helping students to improve isn’t just a victory for them, it’s also a great feeling for their tutor, too.

Now you have been inspired to start tutoring and sharing your knowledge with others, why not look into getting started as a tutor? Read up on the legalities of giving 1 to 1 tuition, how to report your income as a home-tutor and whether you should obtain a DBS check for your tutoring business


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