What does a Tutor (Online Tutor) do?

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A tutor helps students learn in a non-classroom setting either online via a virtual meeting space or in-person. They tutor students individually or in small groups and provide a variety of services from study skills, note-taking strategies, test preparation, homework assistance, and to grasp new concepts. Tutor often help students review material and complete assignments from class. Their ultimate goal is to improve a student’s academic performance.

Watch the video and learn what a tutor does:

How to Become a Tutor or Online Tutor

Step 1: Consider what you know.

To become a tutor, consider what subjects you can teach others well. Be honest with yourself and consider when a subject may become out of scope for you to teach. For example, perhaps you can teach calculous I but may not be prepared to help someone study for calculous II. Some tutors even teach students from other countries to learn their native language.

Step 2: Choose your clients.

Consider the type of clients you would help the most and the type of learner you can easily explain a specific subject matter to. Are they a certain age, like elementary school or middle school students? Are they peers of yours that struggle to learn a concept you know well? Some tutors are even certified teachers that earn additional income and tutor students after hours.

Step 3: Consider where to tutor.

There are many places you can tutor. You can be a self-employed tutor and advertise your tutoring services. You can then tutor from places like public libraries, coffee shops, or even a client’s home. There are also online tutors that teach from their home and tutor learners from virtual meeting rooms. Colleges even hire their own students to tutor other college students who may need more support to pass a class. There are also businesses that provide tutoring services that you can apply to work for.

Job Description of a Tutor


A tutor reviews class assignments, discusses the content, and assists students with homework problems. If a student has particular difficulty in a subject, the tutor works with them until they succeed in understanding the subject. They also encourage students and build up their academic confidence by giving the student positive feedback and helpful suggestions. Tutors may also develop training or teaching materials to help the student as well.

Tutors can also be considered role models as well that help motivate students to try their best in school and in life. Though tutors can be the same age as the learners they teach, they are often older than their client’s and this can provide them the opportunity to be a mentor as well.

Tutor Career Video Transcript

If you enjoy explaining algebra problems or helping others improve their essay writing, you may want to consider working as a tutor. These professionals enjoy using their knowledge to help others, providing learning support outside of the classroom. Though tutors often specialize in one subject area such as math, English, science, or a foreign language, they may need to brush up on the specific material covered by their students’ classes. They don’t just teach subject matter, they also teach how to learn through study skills and test-taking strategies for college entrance exams and other major tests.

In small groups or more commonly one-on-one, tutors use communication skills, encouragement, and creativity to help students understand and work through their questions. Tutors may work independently and advertise their own services, meeting at homes or the library; or work for tutoring companies, schools and colleges meeting students in academic support centers. They have very flexible hours and work primarily during the academic school year. A bachelor’s degree in their area of expertise is a major plus, but it’s also possible to find tutoring jobs while still in high school or college. For tutors, helping students excel and prepping them for college entrance exams brings its own reward.

Article Citations

National Center for O*NET Development. 25-3099.02. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

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