Watching your child struggle with their schoolwork is an incredibly frustrating experience, especially when you're not sure how to help. And if it’s been a minute since you’ve done sixth grade math (and gah, geometry), you might have to consider hiring a tutor. But can you fit educational assistance in your budget? Exactly how much should you pay a tutor?
What you’ll actually end up paying depends greatly on a multitude of factors, Christian Nwigwe, founder of Platinum Edge Tutoring LLC in Brooklyn, NY, tells Romper in an interview, including your specific requirements. “Parents can expect a wide range of services from tutors depending on their needs, budget, and the source of tutoring,” he says.
Tutors typically teach for 60-90 minute blocks once or twice a week depending on a child’s age, the grade they’re in, and the subject being taught. You can receive anything from homework help to study prep in subjects that are challenging to your child, and will have the opportunity to dictate the course of study with the tutor (whether that's to help your child understand critical concepts or ace that upcoming English exam).
While you'll want to choose a tutor with experience relevant to your child's academic goals, how much they charge is another factor in finding the right educator. A peer tutor (i.e. someone close to your child’s age, which works best for middle and high school students) might work for as little as $20, says Nwigwe, while most tutors on average earn between $60-$75 an hour, and as much as $300 (and up) for larger services.
In fact, you can expect to pay “as much as $350 an hour for experienced, high level, former teachers or tutors with graduate degrees,” Cynthia Muchnick, co-author of The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen's Wellness and Academic Journey in Today's Competitive World tells Romper in an email.
“Tutors that are found through tutoring centers usually have a higher hourly fee since part of their fee is given to their company and they earn only a percentage of that.” For example, Sylvan Learning Center charges between $40-$100 per hour in each subject specified by the student, and Kumon can cost upwards of $90-$180 monthly per subject, Tutors.com reported.
And don’t expect to get a cheaper rate if your tutoring session is done virtually. Many tutors charge the same amount of money for a Zoom session as they would for in-person instruction. “I charge the same because it is still an hour of my time and the kids are still getting all the teaching/help,” Cindy McKinley Alder, a classroom teacher turned private tutor and author of 365 Teacher Secrets for Parents – Fun Ways To Help Your Child Succeed in Elementary School, tells Romper in an interview. In some cases, though, you might be able to get a discounted rate if you recommend another child, or even get a half-price rate for a sibling, so find out ahead of time if your tutor is willing to negotiate.
And if you’re thinking of hiring a tutor and forming a pandemic pod (read: a homeschooling pod comprised of a few children within your social bubble who meet for a few hours daily several times a week), know ahead of time that this avenue isn’t cheap. Learning pods can run anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars a day to several thousand a month, according to an article in The New York Times.
Keep in mind that you might not need a tutor — at least, not right away. “Middle school and high school seem to be the biggest years for hiring tutors,” Muchnick says. That’s not to say that your 2nd grader might not need additional help in reading, for example.
“Tutoring should be a last resort,” advises Muchnick. “Before investing in a tutor, ask your child/teen and yourself, has your child exhausted all of their other options for help before hiring a tutor?” You can find out if your child’s school has any support services — such as the teacher, peer tutors, or even tutoring sessions — before turning to a tutor for help.
There aren’t any formal requirements for tutors to teach, but more often than not adult tutors have some educational background — many are former or current teachers who are looking to supplement their income. Once you find a tutor familiar with the subject matter, ask them what teaching degrees they hold, what schools they graduated from — even their own test scores, if they’ll tell you.
Hiring a tutor isn’t always an overnight process, especially when you have to consider your budget as well as finding someone whom both you and your child both feel comfortable with. But with the right tutor, your child will go to the head of the class.