Private online tutoring sessions with students is a growing area in the uber-competitive march to college admissions. The subjects in demand are the core curriculum: world history, physics, science, math and English. Foreign language specialties are also seeing an uptick, and help with preparation for standardized tests such as the SAT, GDE and GRE is always in demand.
An online employer like Tutor.com, which offers one-on-one help to students, is set up so that when a student needs help with homework, he or she enters their grade level and subject into their computer log-on screen. The appropriate tutor (the firm has 2,200 onboard) connects to the student inside the secure online classroom. The student and tutor chat using instant messaging, draw problems on an interactive whiteboard, share a file to review essays and papers and browse resources on the Web together.
With individual accounts, sessions are saved so that students and parents can review them at any time. Coursework ranges from kindergarten to 12th grade, college courses and adults returning to school or searching for a job. Other online tutoring firms include Kaplan and SmarThinking.com.
You might opt to tutor on your own. You probably will forgo the bells and whistles of the interactive whiteboard, but you can easily set up chat sessions and send files back and forth with your students, and you can develop an ongoing relationship that provides steady work.
The hours: Flexible. If possible, firms ask you to plan on at least five hours a week between Sunday and Thursday from 4 to 11PM during the school year. Daytime hours are available. Vacations are easy to schedule. The typical tutoring session is about 25 minutes long.
Median pay range: Hourly rates are between $10 and $14 an hour, based on experience, subject tutored, company and grade level. Some private tutors, however, can make as much as $65 an hour. At Tutor.com, the "most active" chemistry tutors earn anywhere from $800 to $1,600 a month.
Qualifications: A certified teacher is preferred, but not required. Professional experience opens doors. At Tutor.com, high-level math and science expertise is highly sought-after. That means whizzes at chemistry, algebra and physics need apply.
In general, with a tutoring company, you take an online exam in the subject you're interested in tutoring. If you pass, you will be given a mock session with an online tutor. Then you must pass a third-party background check and final exam. More than one subject is encouraged. Your computer must have high-speed Internet access, and be able to run the classroom software provided. Mac users may be out of luck with some companies. And don't expect a shiny apple on your desk, either.