Online Tutor: Job Description, Salary and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an online tutor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties, and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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It may be possible to pursue a career as an online tutor with a high school diploma; however, employers typically hire those who can establish they are experts in the subject matter they will be tutoring. Many employers require a bachelor's degree, or specialized postsecondary training related to the field the tutor will assist in.

Essential Information

Online tutors provide instruction to students on a variety of subjects using a distance-learning format. Because training programs specifically for online tutoring are rare, online tutors typically train as in-person tutors or classroom instructors. Online tutors need a minimum of a high school diploma, though a college degree, experience, or a teaching license might be required, depending on the job or employer.

Required Education Minimum of high school diploma
Other Requirements Professional and field-oriented certification and licensing, depending on field of study
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 9% (teachers and instructors, all other)
Median Salary (2018)* $39,540 (teachers and instructors, all other)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Tutor Job Description

Online tutors provide individual or group instruction in a virtual learning environment (VLE). VLEs typically provide the tutor with the ability to communicate with students verbally and visually, use a whiteboard, administer tests, post homework assignments, and share resources, such as course material or lecture notes, in a secure and controlled fashion.

There are many VLE applications available, some of which are free of charge. Online tutors may complete duties similar to the following:

  • Answer student questions related to the course content
  • Resolve technical or connectivity issues
  • Reply to student messages
  • Respond to messages from peers and school administrators
  • Grade student assignments and tests
  • Assess student progress
  • Suggest program or curriculum improvements to school administrators
  • Maintain required records

Salary Information

Employment statistics are not collected for online tutors in particular; however, BLS statistics for teachers and instructors, all other, includes online tutors. In 2018, the agency reported that these teachers and instructors, including online tutors, earned a median of $39,540 annually.


Generally, online tutors must be experts on the subjects they teach. They commonly obtain this expertise through formal education and college degree programs. Additionally, some employers prefer tutors with qualifications that are specific to their subject. For example, a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate may be necessary for tutors teaching English to non-native students. Some positions also require a state-issued teaching credential as well as classroom teaching experience.

Tutor training programs are also available, some of which are taught online. These programs generally cover such subjects as listening strategies, group dynamics, and cultural awareness. Some programs also teach business-building concepts for self-employed tutors. Online tutors may choose to be professionally certified or accredited, for example, through the National Tutoring Association.

Stable job growth is expected for online tutors through 2028. Those interested in pursuing a career as an online tutor should complete postsecondary studies to demonstrate expert knowledge in the subject area they will assist students in. Tutor training programs are available, as is professional certification.

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