Difference Between Teacher & Tutor

Teachers and tutors can both play an important role in the educational success of their students. This article explores the class focus of a teacher compared to the individual student focus tutors have.

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Comparing Teachers to Tutors

When people think of the professionals who educate children and adults, they typically think of teachers. These educational professionals typically work in schools and follow an approved curriculum plan to ensure that children acquire age-appropriate skills and knowledge in a variety of subjects. Tutors are also educational professionals, and they may work with students who have difficulty with specific subjects to help them improve their performance in those subjects.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Teacher Bachelor's Degree $58,030 (for all high school teachers) 6% (for all elementary, middle and high school teachers)
Tutor Postsecondary Education or Bachelor's Degree $39,570 5-8%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Teachers vs. Tutors

Teachers and tutors can both play an important role in preparing students for academic success. Teachers typically work in a classroom with a number of students of the same age. Tutors may work with students in their homes, online, or at an office. They focus on customizing an educational plan designed to meet a student's specific academic goals. For example, a student learning English as a secondary language may need extra help with his or her reading and writing skills, while another student may need help learning how to write essays. Teachers follow predetermined guidelines for the expectations for their class and evaluate students on that basis, while tutors focus on students' individual academic needs and how to help them improve their skills in a specific subject.


Teachers need to have a bachelor's degree, and those that work in public schools must also have a teaching license. Some teachers may opt to work in private or religious schools. They use an approved curriculum guideline to develop lesson plans for their classes. Their goal is to ensure that all students in their classes acquire the appropriate skills to pass the class. While elementary school teachers may teach a number of different subjects, middle and high school teachers typically focus on teaching in an area of specialization. Some teachers may decide to pursue a graduate degree and become instructional coordinators or school administrators.

Job responsibilities of a teacher include:

  • answering students' questions
  • grading assignments
  • updating students' records with their grades
  • meeting with parents or other educational professionals
  • supervising students


Although tutors may be required to have a degree, many tutors enter the field after completing some postsecondary studies. Tutors may focus on a specific subject they excel in or a number of subjects. They're hired to work with students who may have challenges with a certain subject or who may need extra help outside of school to achieve their academic goals. As part of their duties, they may review their students' work to determine skills or concepts they are struggling with, and then develop a strategy to help the student enhance those skills or improve their understanding of the concept. Tutors may also work with students to help them improve their studying skills.

Job responsibilities of a tutor include:

  • meeting with students and parents to discuss students' goals and needs
  • talking to students about their study habits
  • assigning and evaluating student work
  • tracking and sharing students' progress with teachers and parents

Related Careers

Those thinking about a tutoring career may be interested in becoming a teacher assistant, working alongside a teacher in a classroom environment. Aspiring teachers may want to consider becoming a school principal, as principals oversee the work of the educational professionals in their school.

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