Career Choice: Tutor
There are classroom educators and there are non-classroom educators. The first group is known as teachers, the second group is known as tutors. In reality, the names are interchangeable and, giving the increased need for both, there may be some movement between both fields. Tutors may not always be required to have a college education, but those with a strong academic background in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — may have an advantage. Then again, tutors in reading comprehensive, literacy and most any other subject may find numerous opportunities as well.
Tutors provide one-on-one or small group instruction for both remedial and skill enhancement reasons. These individuals will often work with students to help them pass a class or prepare for an examination. Tutors assess each student to develop lesson plans to help them reach their goals, tailoring their guidance personally. Regular sessions are typically held and progress is reported to parents, teachers and school administrators. Tutors keep record of student progress and make recommendations for additional intervention as needed.
Government data about tutors and their educational background is not complete. However, public school tutors must have completed at least two years of college, with some districts requiring a bachelor’s degree and certification. Those tutors who also may work as educational specialists may fill in for classroom teachers or work as assistants. A background in a core subject area such as global languages, mathematics, science or language arts is needed.
For reporting purposes, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics includes tutors under the “Teachers and Instructors, All Other” category. In 2011, the median annual salary was $29,300. Tutors in the 10th percentile earned $17,900 per year and those in the 25th percentile made $21,700 annually. Those in the 75th percentile earned $44,400 per year, while those in the 90th percentile made $66,000 or more annually.
Salaries for other instructors varied widely across the nation with those professionals working in the District of Columbia earning $62,500 per year in 2011 to Mississippi where tutors made $18,100 on average. Salaries in Rhode Island averaged $56,600 and in Delaware such instructors earned $48,000 annually on average. Idaho, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and Oklahoma were among the states with average salaries below $20,000 per year.
Many tutors work part-time, although some are employed by public school districts. Online tutoring has grown as an option for tutors and students alike, bringing professionals from across the world to students wherever they live.
The category “teachers and other instructors” counted 881,000 employees as of 2010. Projected job growth of 10 to 19 percent is slightly above the national average, with nearly a quarter million new opportunities expected to be added from 2010 to 2020.
Private tutors may find the hours and flexibility suitable, making it possible for mothers of school-aged children to work part-time and for retirees to continue to enjoy instruction. Several large companies including Sylvan Learning Center, Mathnasium and Konum provide tutoring assignments, bringing instructors and students together.