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How much does a tutor cost?

When it comes to hiring a tutor for your child, here are the tutoring rates you can expect to pay.

When hiring a tutor, you’ll find that you have a wide range of options, so it should come as no surprise that pricing will vary greatly depending on your child’s specific academic needs. So, just how much does a tutor cost?

Private tutoring rates are calculated based on professional experience and qualifications, where you live and the complexity of the subject matter. Some of the most commonly requested tutoring subjects are SAT prep, math, English, chemistry, biology and physics. A tutoring agency or center, on the other hand, generally charges a set fee for its services, plus a registration fee. There are also several options for reduced-cost or free tutoring services.

Here’s what you need to know when it comes to hiring a tutor and tutoring rates.

What are the rates for a private tutor?

A private tutor is an individual who has experience in a specific subject and offers their services to students who need academic help. Typically, there are no contracts, sign-up or registration fees associated with private tutors, who can be teachers and professors, graduate students, industry professionals and other individuals with robust experience in a certain subject area. 

Rates vary based on tutor’s experience level

Private tutoring rates will vary quite a bit depending on experience, location, subject and frequency of the sessions. Individual tutors generally charge according to their level of education and experience. 

Here’s what you can expect to pay:

  • $10-$40 per hour for high school students. 
  • Up to $100 (or more) per hour for certified, experienced teachers.

Rates vary based on where you live

Tutors tend to charge more in large cities, where the cost of living is higher. For example, if you’re looking for Los Angeles tutors, the average rate is about $20 per hour, while tutors in or near Peoria, Illinois are $15 per hour on average. 

Regardless of where you live, it’s smart to get an idea of tutoring rates in nearby towns and cities. For instance, if you reside outside of Chicago, check what other Chicago tutors are charging so you can compare rates. In the same way, if you live in Texas, check what Austin tutors, Dallas tutors and San Antonio tutors are charging so you can determine the appropriate pay rate in your area.

Other factors that can impact the cost of private tutoring

  • Materials: Find out if you are expected to purchase any special supplies, like language tapes or workbooks that could add to the price of lessons.
  • Cancelled or missed lessons: Because tutoring sessions are provided through a private individual, ask about their expectations when it comes to a cancelled or missed lesson. Will you still be expected to pay even if your child did not attend the session? If you’re running late, your tutor may count that as part of the lesson, resulting in money lost. Clarify these details before you begin.
  • Frequency of payments: If your child needs multiple lessons, ask if you are expected to pay per lesson or inquire about the possibility of a reduced price if you purchase a month’s (or other hefty amount) worth of lessons.

If you’re simply looking to match a student with the perfect individual tutor, you can use the Care.com platform to search for tutors by rate, which varies by tutor. 

How much does a tutoring center cost?

A tutoring center, also referred to as a corporate tutor, will typically cost more than a private or online tutor. On average, tutoring rates at centers run between $49 and $80 per hour, with some charging a monthly, not hourly, rate, depending on what you’re looking for. 

Rates vary even among national tutoring centers

Here’s a breakdown of tutoring rates for two of the most popular national centers:

  • Sylvan Learning Center. In addition to offering an hourly option of $49 for K-12 students who need help with a specific subject or high school students looking for SAT prep, Sylvan offers flat monthly rates starting at $199 for kids who need help with homework, test scores or intensive workloads. The one-time registration and materials fee is $35.
  • Kumon. Tutoring rates and options at Kumon vary depending on location, but one Kumon Center in Franklin, Tennessee has monthly options of either $90 for math, $100 for reading or $190 for both. The registration fee is $40.

Other factors that can impact the cost of a tutoring center

  • City you live in. Center rates may be more in cities with a higher cost of living and may also depend on the number of competitors in the area. 
  • Instructor’s level of expertise and the subject area. Rates can also fluctuate depending on the instructor experience level and the type of tutoring needed. 
  • Financing options: Before you make a decision, set up an appointment to visit the center, take a tour and speak with a representative about different financing options and payment plans. This is an opportune time to inquire about any additional fees that aren’t included in the tutoring cost. Also, you may want to check and see if there are any money-back guarantee policies or if your student can take a trial session at a reduced cost to see if it’s a match.
  • Binding agreements: Find out if you are expected to sign a long-term contract with the center.
  • Cancellation policy: Ask about the refund policy, in case your child wants to drop a class.
  • Group setting: At a tutoring center, there will be one instructor for every two or three students, so your child won’t get the same one-on-one experience they would with a private tutor.

How much does a tutoring agency charge?

If you’re having trouble finding a tutor, a tutoring agency can help match you with the instructor to help your student. Most agencies charge a registration fee, plus a fee for individual tutors. Agencies also charge tutors a commission fee, which is built into the overall hourly cost — so remember that your tutor is not making the rate you are paying. 

Rates vary by agency

As the case is with tutoring centers, prices for tutoring agencies vary. For instance, Varsity Tutors, which offers both at-home and online tutoring, can cost anywhere from $70-$90 an hour, while Wyzant costs between $50-$75 an hour. Your best bet for the best rate? Check out locally owned tutoring agencies that may charge lower fees than a nationwide company.

Other factors that can impact the cost of a tutoring agency

  • Additional fees: Ask about other costs that may be associated with using a tutoring agency, including fees for extra testing, contracting out tutors for multiple subjects and more.
  • Contracts: When you use a tutoring agency to find a tutor, check to see if you are expected to sign a long-term contract with the company. If so, make sure to inquire about any hidden costs or what the cancellation fee is if you decide it’s no longer a good fit.
  • Agency policies: Make sure you understand the agency’s policies about sessions you cancel. Do you have to pay even when your child is sick, or can you reschedule a session for no additional fee? Also, ask whether the agency will assign a new tutor if the first one isn’t the correct fit.

How much does an online tutor cost?

An online tutor works with your student in a virtual environment and is available for homework help on an as-needed basis or provides regular tutoring sessions depending on your child’s academic needs. 

Rates vary based on services and packages offered 

On average, the low-end of individual online tutors starts out between $20-$30 per hour. An online tutoring subscription package, however, costs between $30 to $120 per month on average but can cost even more depending on the number of hours requested. 

Online tutoring sites like Chegg.com offer a number of tutoring programs, including unlimited “chat lessons” (which don’t include video) for $14.95 a month, as well as video tutoring for $30 a month, which limits tutoring to 60 minutes per month. Another online platform, Tutor.com, which is a service of the Princeton Review, offers packages that range from $40 to $115 a month. 

Bundled packages will differ between companies, but many sites offer a free or reduced-cost trial period so that you can test their services before deciding what you need. For example, the online tutoring site Growing Stars charges $80 a month (or $20 per hour) for four hours of basic writing and grammar tutoring. If you buy eight hours of the same course, the hourly price decreases by $4 for a total of $16 per hour, or $128 a month for eight hours.

It’s a good idea to shop around before committing to an online tutoring company. 

Other factors that can impact the cost of online tutoring

  • Instructor’s level of expertise and the subject area. You should be prepared to pay more for highly qualified instructors — and the more advanced or specialized the subject, the higher the rate. 
  • Long-distance learning: Similar to taking an online course, this is a distance-learning setup, and your child should be comfortable studying from afar to make it worth your money. This option is best for high school and college students, but it may also work for some younger kids.
  • Bulk discounts: Check to see how much money you will save if you purchase a weekly or monthly package instead of paying by the hour.
  • Trial period: Take advantage of any free trial periods or other incentives that allow you to try the tutoring service before you buy it. This will help you make the best use of your money.

Where can you find free tutoring services?

There are several ways for school-age children to take advantage of free tutoring services. Thanks to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), students who are enrolled in public school systems can take advantage of free tutoring services. There are a couple of caveats to this:

  • The school must be identified by the state or local district (using a federal framework) as “consistently struggling.” 
  • Tutors must be approved by the state or local district.

To learn more, contact your school directly, as the rules and regulations will differ from state to state.

Additionally, some schools provide free on-site tutoring or homework help centers for their students. These are typically staffed by older students who are in advanced courses. After-school programs, community centers, as well as academic resource centers at local colleges also sometimes provide free academic help for community members to take advantage of. Some centers, schools and agencies offer scholarships. Ask if your child might qualify.

If your student is struggling in one particular subject area, ask the teacher if they would be willing to help your child out after school for a short period of time or if they have recommendations for free resources on campus.

Are there hidden costs when hiring a tutor?

Now that you have a better understanding of what a tutor might cost, it’s time to consider what you can afford. These factors will look different for every family, but they are important considerations to keep in mind when determining your tutor budget.

A few final items to consider include:

  • Travel-related expenses: Factor in gas, tolls, train or bus fare and other commute costs that may drive up the cost of a tutor.
  • Time is money: If you find yourself leaving work early to take your child to tutoring or you are missing important meetings, take a second look. Find a consistent time that works for your child and the tutor, but also you.
  • Extra materials: As mentioned above, workbooks, assessments, tests and other materials associated with tutoring may cost extra on top of what you’re already paying. Before committing, ask the tutor or company what extras, if any, might be involved in the process. It’s always better to be prepared instead of finding out later on.