Looking for a tutor to help your child catch up? Or looking for help with your own education? Then during your research, you might be confused about why some tutors cost more than others. After all, the cost of working with a tutor can vary a lot depending on their skill levels, expertise, experience, and other factors.
For example, an English tutor who is helping elementary school students with basic grammar lessons will obviously cost much less than a specialist tutor who works with college students on astrophysics. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “how much should you pay a tutor per hour?”
Apart from factors like how difficult the subject matter is and the tutor’s expertise, how and where you hire a tutor can also affect the cost. For example, private tutors may charge additional fees for travel costs, making online tutors typically more affordable.
With that being said, here we will discuss all you need to know about the cost of tutoring services, as well as other important considerations you may have in regard to finding the best tutors.
Let us begin right away.
Tutoring services can come in many different forms and business models; each also varies in price. Here are the main types of tutoring, and a basic overview of how much each type costs:
Physical tutoring centers (like Huntington Learning Center) offer tutoring for academic needs by employing qualified tutors within their premises. For example, a student may come to a tutoring center for last-minute questions and get homework help from a certain tutor right away. These tutoring centers can be found as a standalone private service but also through partnerships with college campuses, libraries, and community centers, and are typically the most expensive option compared to online tutoring services and comparable private tutors, and there are also those who charge admission fees and book/material fees. Still, many of them offer a money-back guarantee if you (or your child) don’t get the results you wanted.
However, many of these tutoring centers offer non-private lessons, typically in small groups of two to four students per tutor. So, if you or your child are looking for a one-on-one learning experience, this might not be the best option for you. Expect to pay between $45-50/hour for a tutoring session in respectable tutoring centers (i.e., Huntington, Sylvan, etc.)
A private tutor (typically a freelancer) can provide tutoring services both online or in-person on a one-on-one basis to students. The cost of a private tutor may vary greatly depending on the expertise/experience level. A certified teacher or a professor in a specific subject area will be more expensive than a high school student providing freelance tutoring services for junior high students, for example.
For freelancing private tutors from high-school students to teaching assistant levels, you can expect to pay around $25/hour on average. On the other hand, you should expect to pay professional teachers or professors up to $60/hour on average. Of course, this cost would also vary depending on your location or if you or your child have special learning needs.
Since private tutors are basically freelancers, there may also be more variables involved, both in terms of extra fees and discounts. A private tutor may offer bulk discounts if you purchase a specific number of lessons/hours upfront. On the other hand, they may also charge extra fees if your location is relatively far and requires them to commute.
Make sure you lay out the ground rules clearly and establish whether there’ll be any extra fees involved before making a commitment with your private tutor.
Another option in this digital age is online tutoring platforms like 24houranswers, among others. The main benefit of these platforms is convenience: you can choose the exact tutor you need, and you’ll get transparent pricing for each tutoring session. You’ll know exactly what you need to pay and what you’ll get from the session.
Tutors on these online platforms can charge anywhere from $10/hour to above $100/hour, and some platforms may charge sign-up fees on top of the hourly rates of each tutor.
Still not sure whether the prices charged by your (prospective) tutor are fair? Here are some important factors that may affect how your tutor charges their prices:
There are two basic pricing models in tutoring services:
If you’re planning to hire a private tutor or come to a tutoring center, then the location can significantly affect how much a tutor charges for their services. For private tutors, if they are located relatively far from where you’re planning to get the tutoring sessions, they may also charge extra fees to compensate for their commuting costs and time.
Pretty self-explanatory; high-demand tutors will obviously charge more than those just starting out. However, some subjects or topics (i.e., SAT preparations) may also have higher demands at certain times of the year, which may affect costs.
A higher level of subject difficulty and complexity would warrant higher prices. The grade of students taking the tutoring session would also affect the price (i.e., tutors for elementary school students would typically be more affordable than tutors for SAT preparations.)
An experienced, established tutor can charge a higher price than a freelancing high-school student. Tutors who are certified for certain topics or subjects may also charge more for their services, especially if this subject is also in-demand.
Again, supply and demand affect costs. If there are a lot of tutoring services in your area, prices will be more competitive. More tutoring services in your area would also allow you more choice and make it easier to compare prices between the available options.
One-on-one private sessions will obviously be more expensive than a small group session (assuming the tutor is of similar expertise.) Small group sessions for between 2 and 4 students would typically cost around $20/hour per student, but a private session with the same tutor may cost up to $70/hour.
Now that you’ve understood the basics of how much a tutor should cost you, here we will share some actionable tips on how to choose the right tutor for you or for your child according to your budget:
Before committing to a tutor, it’s important to assess your monthly income and expenses and know exactly how much you can spare on tutoring services. If you are on a tight budget, then you don’t need to contemplate a high-quality private tutoring service, as you may be able to get lessons of similar effectiveness by joining small group sessions. Even if you are really limited on budget, there are very affordable and even some totally free tutoring services available if you look hard enough. As a parent located in the US, you may qualify for free tutoring under the No Child Left Behind Act.
Nevertheless, decide on your budget as early as possible, which will really help in narrowing down your options.
While obviously, you’d want the best tutor for yourself or your child, it’s also important to be realistic with your budget. If, for example, you only can spare $500 a month on tutoring while you think you need 5 hours of help per week (i.e. 20 hours per month,) then you have an average of $25/hour to spend on tutoring.
On the other hand, most licensed private tutors would charge between $45 and $65 an hour for their services, so they are out of your league at the moment and are not a realistic option.
Again, your main options are freelance private tutors, online tutoring platforms, and physical tutoring centers. Consider your or your child’s specific needs and unique situations while figuring out the best possible option for you.
For example, some children are more willing to study or read in one-on-one private tutoring sessions, while other children might do better in groups. On the other hand, if there’s a reputable tutoring center located near your house or your child’s school, it may be a viable option.
Particularly if you are looking for help for your child, you should always start by talking to your child’s teacher at school for their suggestions. They may be able to suggest tutoring services they trust, and if you need it, they may also be able to point you to free tutoring options (i.e., for very low-income families.) Do also, check if your school (or your child’s school) offers tutoring programs or other forms of support.
Another useful option is to ask other parents (if you are looking on behalf of your child) or your friends and colleagues for recommendations.
Tutoring services can vary dramatically when it comes to price, depending on a variety of factors, including the tutor’s education level and experience, how complex the subject matter is, your child’s grade, and others.
On average, however, a private tutor costs between $25 and $75+ an hour, while in-person tutoring centers generally cost around $100 to $200 per month. Online tutors on various online tutoring platforms may offer slightly more competitive prices, between $25 and $50 an hour, but prices on these platforms can be more varied.