What Is an Online Tutor? (+ How to Become One)

The world of education is constantly evolving, and with the rise of technology, online tutoring has emerged as a prominent and accessible career option. If you're passionate about teaching and are looking for a flexible work schedule, online tutoring jobs could be the perfect fit for you.

What Is an Online Tutor?

An online tutor is a professional who provides educational support and instruction to students via digital platforms. Using video conferencing, chat, and specialized educational tools, they help students understand subjects, complete assignments, and prepare for exams. 

Unlike traditional tutors, online tutors can interact with students from any location, provided both parties have a stable internet connection.

Common Subjects and Areas of Expertise

Online tutors can specialize in various subjects depending on their expertise and the demand. Some popular subjects include mathematics, science, languages, humanities, and even specialized courses like coding or artistic disciplines. 

Online tutors may work with students of all ages, from elementary school children to adult learners, and they often have the opportunity to focus on niche areas that may not be readily available in traditional education settings.

The Benefits of Being an Online Tutor

From the flexibility it offers to the personal development opportunities, being an online tutor can be an enriching and fulfilling experience. Below, we explore some of the key benefits that make online tutoring an attractive option for those seeking work-from-home opportunities.

Flexibility and Convenience

One of the most significant advantages of online tutoring is the flexibility it offers. Tutors can choose their working hours and often set their schedules, making it an ideal choice for those juggling other responsibilities like family, studies, or part-time work. The convenience of working from any location further adds to its appeal, eliminating the need for commuting.

Connecting with Students Worldwide

Another one of the most profound benefits of being an online tutor is the ability to reach and connect with students from various parts of the globe, opening doors to a much wider market for your knowledge and expertise. This international connection not only enables enriching interactions and cross-cultural connections but also presents a significant economic advantage. 

Potential Earnings and Growth

Online tutoring can be financially rewarding. Depending on the subject, level of expertise, and platform, tutors can earn competitive wages. There is also room for growth, as tutors can expand their client base, offer specialized courses, or even create and sell educational materials online.

Opportunities for Personal Development

Becoming an online tutor allows for continuous personal and professional growth. Tutors can sharpen their communication and technology skills, engage with diverse cultures and learning styles, and continually enhance their knowledge in their subject area. The satisfaction of helping students succeed and the continuous learning process can be incredibly fulfilling.

How to Become an Online Tutor

Becoming an online tutor is an exciting journey that offers both personal fulfillment and professional growth. But how does one embark on this path? Below, we explore the steps and considerations to become an online tutor.

Educational Requirements

While the educational requirements for online tutors may vary depending on the subject and the platform, a solid understanding of the subject matter is crucial. Some platforms may require a bachelor's degree or specific certifications, while others may only need demonstrable expertise in the chosen subject. 

Researching the requirements for your chosen area will ensure that you meet the necessary qualifications.

Acquiring Necessary Skills and Certifications

Being an effective online tutor requires more than subject knowledge. Skills like communication, empathy, patience, and technology proficiency are vital. 

Pursuing relevant certifications and training, such as TEFL for English tutoring, can enhance your credibility and give you a competitive edge.

Building a Portfolio and Finding Platforms

Creating a portfolio that showcases your experience, teaching style, and subject mastery can make you stand out to potential students. This may include video samples, lesson plans, or student testimonials. 

Finding the right platforms is equally essential; websites like Wahojobs list part-time opportunities for online tutors, or you can explore specialized tutoring platforms directly. Examples of such platforms are Preply, Cambly, Tutor.com, and more.

Tips for Getting Started

  • Choose Your Niche: Focus on subjects you are passionate about and have expertise in.
  • Personalize Your Approach: Tailor your teaching style to each student's needs to provide the best learning experience.
  • Create Engaging Content: Design lesson plans and materials that resonate with various learning styles.
  • Invest in Technology: Ensure you have a reliable internet connection and necessary tools like a quality microphone and webcam.
  • Set Clear Policies: Outline your scheduling, payment, and cancellation policies to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Build Relationships: Foster positive relationships with students and parents to encourage repeat business and referrals.

Challenges of Online Tutoring

While online tutoring offers numerous benefits and opportunities, like any profession, it comes with its unique set of challenges. Recognizing and understanding these challenges is essential for anyone considering this career path.

Common Obstacles and How to Overcome Them

  • Technical Difficulties: From unstable internet connections to software issues, technology can sometimes be a barrier. Solution: Investing in reliable equipment, having backup plans, regularly updating software, familiarizing oneself with common technical issues, participating in training, and having a list of tech support contacts can aid in prompt resolution of problems. 
  • Building Rapport with Students: Creating a connection with students online might feel different compared to in-person interactions. Solution: Utilizing interactive tools, showing genuine interest, and maintaining regular communication can foster a strong connection.
  • Adapting to Different Learning Styles: Online learners have diverse needs and preferences. Solution: Offering varied teaching materials, soliciting feedback, and personalizing the approach can cater to different learning styles.
  • Managing Time and Workload: Balancing multiple students and subjects can become overwhelming. Solution: Effective time management, setting clear expectations, and utilizing organizational tools can help maintain a balanced workload.
  • Maintaining Student Engagement: Keeping students interested and focused online may require extra effort. Solution: Use interactive tools, visual aids, and creative lesson plans to make sessions more engaging.
  • Managing Time Zones: Working with students across different time zones can lead to scheduling conflicts. Solution: Clearly communicate availability, use scheduling tools, and be mindful of cultural differences.
  • Finding Work: Especially for independent tutors, finding and retaining clients can be difficult. Solution: Utilize job boards like Wahojobs, network actively, and consider offering free trial sessions.
  • Balancing Work and Personal Life: The flexibility of online tutoring might blur the lines between work and personal life. Solution: Establishing a dedicated workspace, setting specific work hours, and communicating boundaries to family and friends can create a healthier work-life balance.


The journey towards becoming an online tutor is filled with potential, offering not just a fulfilling career but a chance to make a real impact in the lives of students around the world. Whether you're driven by the flexibility, the ability to connect across cultures, or the joy of sharing knowledge, online tutoring opens doors to a world of possibilities. 

Are you ready to explore this exciting opportunity and make your mark?