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How to Get Math Tutor Jobs

Jayme Kennedy
April 11, 2018

Take these steps to become a math tutor, develop your curriculum, find students to tutor, and start attracting paying clients.

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So what does it take to become a math tutor? Well, it certainly helps to be really good at math. But beyond your math skills, there are other steps you should take — honing your skills, finding your target audience, developing your methods, perhaps even getting certified — that will establish you as a private math tutor and help to start building a clientele of happy students and parents. In this guide, we’ll walk through all of these steps.


Why Should I Become a Math Tutor?

Becoming a private tutor is a great way to earn extra money, and it can even become your main income source. Tutors are in high demand for students from elementary school all the way through college. Parents are finding their children are more receptive to one-on-one instruction, and turn to tutors to help their kids become more proficient in a specific subject. Becoming a private tutor isn’t necessarily difficult, and once you’ve established yourself as an effective and successful tutor, finding jobs on places like Care.com can help you grow your business.

Math tutors are one of the most in-demand subject tutors, and for good reason! Many students struggle with math and math concepts as they progress through school. Having someone who can explain it to them and help them understand what they’re doing can prove to be invaluable as they continue their education.


How to Hone Your Math Skills

To be a math tutor, it’s a good idea to have either majored in math or a math-heavy subject in college, or to be able to show high marks from your own math classes. One way to refresh your skills is by taking online courses. Websites like edX offer free online classes and tutorials in all math subjects, from basic algebra to calculus. If you’ve been out of school for some time and find that you need to polish up your math game, online classes and tutorials are a great resource. You can also check out online tutoring sites like Care.com to find out how your skills match up with math tutors near you.


Figure Out Your Target Student Group and Develop Skills to Meet Their Needs

Once you’ve decided that math is the subject you’re most knowledgeable in, you’ll want to narrow down your target student group. Each grade level requires a different set of skills. For example, if you’re really good at algebra, you’re not going to tutor students in statistics or probability. Students in different age groups and grade levels also require different teaching techniques that address their own skill levels and what they’re learning in school.

For elementary and high school students, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the kinds of curricula that students will be studying in school. And that may mean getting familiar with Common Core math standards, as many public schools use Common Core curricula. Studying these standards and techniques will help you understand what students are learning and help you teach more effectively. Teachers and parents will appreciate the continuation between what students are learning in school and what they’re working on with their tutor. You can also read up by checking out the sites where students go for free math homework help or online tutoring help.


Develop Your Tutoring Methods

Understanding the age group and development needs of the students you’re tutoring is key to being a successful tutor. For elementary school-aged kids, it helps to make math fun through the use of interactive learning games, visual aids, and props. You can even use more unorthodox methods, like incorporating cooking (measurement) and art (linear algebra) into your lesson plans. Reach out to teachers you know — or who refer students to you — for ideas on lesson plans and methods that have proved successful in the classroom. You can also ask for old lesson plans to use as a guide for creating your own.

For older students, in high school and college, you may find that a lot of your clients are looking for test prep. Students start taking some pretty important tests in high school, like the SATs and ACTs, for which they need additional help to prepare. Conducting mock tests after you’ve completed a unit or they’ve mastered a math concept can be very helpful. You can find several practice tests online. Focus on the math portion when you administer the test, and then work through each problem with your student.

Regardless of which age group you tutor, one of the most important skills you can have as a math tutor is being able to teach your students how to identify mistakes and walk them through correcting the mistake. One of the areas many students struggle with in a traditional classroom setting when it comes to math is figuring out where they went wrong and learning how to fix it. When you have one teacher and 30 kids, it’s just not feasible to expect the teacher to address each mistake on an individual basis. Kids complete assignments, and get them back with the answers marked right or wrong. Your job as a tutor is to help them figure out where they went wrong and find their way back to that place to correct their errors.


How to Get Certified

While certification isn’t necessary to be a private tutor, it certainly adds a level of professionalism and experience to your business that will set you apart. It’s highly recommended that you hold a mathematics or related degree to tutor in math, just due to the nature of the subject you’re teaching. But even if you don’t have a degree in math and just happen to be really great with numbers, certification can give you that same expertise. When you register with the National Tutoring Association, you can pursue tutor certification. In order to become certified, you’ll be required to complete a certain number of hours of tutoring, as well as complete and pass tutor webinars and assessments. Completing certification through an organization like NTA shows you’ve had consistent training and have developed relevant and effective tutoring skills.  


Take a Job With a Tutoring Company to Gain Valuable Experience

Maybe you’ve decided that you want to be a math tutor, but you’re not 100 percent confident in your math skills. Going to work for a tutoring company or agency means you’ll get a steady stream of clients whose needs have already been assessed, and you’ll be matched with students within your current skill level. You’ll get valuable training in teaching methods and strategies, which even the most skilled math tutor may need help with. Another upside of working with a company or agency, specifically one that does test preparation, is that you’ll be trained on specific test prep approaches and methods. Look for a company that works with students preparing for the SATs, LSATs, GREs, or GMATs. Once you’re confident enough to branch out on your own, that experience is going to look good on your resume!


Advertise That You’re Open for Business

Going into business as a private tutor requires being able to advertise your services and sell yourself to prospective students and their parents. If you’re listing your services or applying to jobs on a site like Care.com, you’ll want to focus on writing a standout profile. Think of it the same way you’d consider a resume or a LinkedIn CV: list all of your many qualifications, certifications, and experience you have in math or as a math tutor. You will also be able to browse for families that are posting math tutoring jobs near you.

Make use of other resources within your own community, as well. Post flyers at your local library or recreational facility, join Facebook groups, and connect with the math department at your local colleges. It’s a good idea to have business cards printed to hand out to parents and teachers you meet, so they have your information handy. Develop working relationships with teachers and counselors at elementary, middle, and high schools in your area. Not only can you pick their brains for tips and tricks on working with students, but once you’ve established a good relationship with them, they’ll be more likely to send students your way.

Ask your former students and parents for letters of recommendation. People like to know that the person they’re hiring to tutor their kids is effective, and nothing says that better than a glowing recommendation from a former student. In addition to asking for letters of recommendation, track your student’s progress during their time with you. If you have a kid who came to you unable to pass a test in math and after two months of sessions they’re getting As in the subject, that’s something you want to advertise! Compile data from tutoring sessions to show how much your students have improved after working with you. Their success is your success.


Set Your Hourly Rate and Offer Easy Payment Options for Parents

Knowing what to charge as a math tutor can be tricky. Rates vary widely in the industry, from $20 to $80 or more per hour. Math tutors are in high demand, so once you’ve established a clientele and can demonstrate your success as a math tutor, don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. If you hold a degree in math or a closely related subject, or if you’re a certified tutor, your rate should reflect that. Find a local tutoring group and ask other private tutors what they charge to get an idea of what’s feasible within your community. You can browse sites like Care.com to find out what rates math tutors near you are charging.

When it comes to collecting payment, convenience is key. Provide invoices to all your clients, either hard copies or bills sent through payment services and apps like PayPal, Venmo, and Cash App. These services allow clients to pay with a credit or debit card, which a lot of parents will appreciate. They also make it much easier to track payments from multiple clients. Expect payment at the end of each session, unless other arrangements have been made. Remember, this is your business, and you need to be comfortable conducting this portion of it.

If you’re a math whiz and enjoy working with students of all ages, you should have no problem becoming a successful private math tutor! It’s a skill not many people possess, and one that is in very high demand.

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