Private tutoring is estimated to have grown from a standing start to a £6bn per year industry in just a few years.
A quarter of British children outside of London having received private tuition according to a 2016 Sutton Trust report. This is the result of an increasingly difficult job market, in which parents are willing to invest more time and money into their children’s education.
For teachers, students, and professionals alike, private tuition is becoming an increasingly popular vocation.
A study by the OECD found that around three quarters of British teachers are dissatisfied with their wages and around a third feel that they are not valued by society. As a result teachers are offering after school homework help to supplement their income and even to replace their day jobs. Professionals, such as musicians and actors, are also attracted to an occupation which accords them a flexible schedule and enables them to decide on their own workload and rates. Mentoring jobs also provide a convenient way for undergraduates to earn some extra money and gain relevant experience in their field.
Image ¦ Professional performers benefit from the flexible schedule offered by tutoring ¦ source: Pixabay
By offering tutors a commission-free space to advertise their services, platforms such as SuperProf helps students to find mentors of anything from chess to kung fu, from academic support to extreme sports.
All of these variables must be considered when a tutor is setting their hourly rate.
So many variables! Why is choosing the right price so important?
Your hourly rate is probably the first thing that potential tutees look at when they click on your profile. It needs to be low enough to make them read on, but not so low that you undervalue your experience and appear unprofessional. You rate must also be substantial enough to cover your tutoring costs and provide you with an income – it’s one significant number!
Okay, good to know… But where do I start?
We recommend that you begin by taking a look at other prices on the market in your subject. With a number in mind, you can then make adjustments to your rate depending on more individual variables such as experience and location. For instance, tutoring jobs London are often associated with higher prices than other cities. Tutoring jobs for ex teachers can be attractive due to their higher experience levels and an ability to charge higher rates because of it.
To save you a whole lot of internet researching and time, we’ve decided to gather together the relevant information for you to give you an overview what tutors are charging in your field.
The following data has been compiled by the busy bees at SuperProf. These figures can be used as guidelines for you to set your rates and provide a convenient starting point which you can adjust later.
These rates are national averages. Rates for supplemental instruction also vary greatly from one region to another in the UK. As a result it’s vital that you also check out your local rates and competition when establishing a price.
The average hourly tuition rate charged by mathematics and science teachers is £22.24.
Images ¦ Educate the scientists of the future for an hourly rate of £19.44 ¦ source: Visualhunt
Economics tutoring comes at the highest rate within this area of study at £21.54 per hour, whereas biology teachers charge the least, asking for £17.85 per hour.
On average, humanities tutors charge an hourly rate of £19.75. History tuition is biggest hourly earner, at £21.20,whereas geography tutors charge only £18.78.
Modern Languages tutors charge a low hourly rate compared to other areas of study with an average rate of £19.87. However within this field there is a wide range of prices. The average price charged by Spanish stands at only £18.04 per hour, whereas Mandarin teachers can expect to earn around £22.90. Such wide variation within one area of study is usually a result of supply and demand and varies from one location to another. This means that a Spanish teacher in Cambridge may charge a higher rate than a Spanish teacher in Liverpool.
Similarly to humanities subjects, professional subject tutoring requires a high level of specialist knowledge, hands-on experience, and more advanced qualifications in the field. As a result, professional subject tuition often comes with a higher price tag than other subjects. As such, the average hourly rate for these subjects is £28.80, with Tax Law being the highest earner hour-for-hour.
Image ¦ Set budding criminal lawyers on the right path for £21.67 per hour ¦ source: Visualhunt
Law tuition rates
Social science tutors charge an average hourly rate of £18.67. Social Sciences subjects aren’t usually taught in schools before GCSE level. As a result, tutors in this area of study should not expect to tutor primary-aged children.
The average rate for music tuition in the UK is £24.88 per hour, however there is a large variation from one instrument to another. Brass tuition comes at the highest hourly rate, whereas rock instruments such as the drums are on the lower end of the price scale.
Tutors must decide what levels they will teach within their subject. The difficulty levels of the subject they teach will help to determine the rate that they should set.
Ordinarily, the more advanced the student’s level in the subject, the higher the rate. This is because the difficulty affects the aims and expectations for the tuition session:
Academic tutoring rates do not necessarily follow this pattern. Similarly to subject rates themselves, it’s all about supply and demand. If there is a particular demand for primary tuition in your area, you may find that you can charge more as a primary level tutor.
Image ¦ Primary tuition rates depend on local demand ¦ source: Visualhunt / CC BY-NC
Demand often depends on your local schools. For example, if a local school requires primary school pupils to sit entry exams, there is likely to be a higher demand for primary level test prep tuition. According to a study by the Sutton Trust, private school students are more likely to receive private tuition, so it is likely that you will have access to a more prosperous academic tutoring market if you live near a private school.
SuperProf has calculated the following average rates for private tuition according to level in April 2017:
|Level of tuition||Average hourly rate|
|Primary level tuition||£19.27|
|Secondary level tuition||£19.61|
|A Level tuition||£19.89|
When considering the average rates for a subject, take into account the level that you are able to teach. Never try to teach what you don’t know.
It seems a little unfair that certain subjects are worth more than others, but there are multiple reasons for the disparate tuition rates.
Often the market value of a subject depends on its availability. The more tutors available in a subject, the less they can charge for tuition.
Consider vegetables in the supermarket. When harvests provide a bounty of courgettes, courgette prices plummet as supermarkets are keen to sell as many courgettes as possible. A poor harvest means that courgettes are not readily available, and supermarkets can charge higher prices as courgettes have become hot property.
Similarly, an abundance of tutors in one subject means that they must set more competitive prices in order to stand out from the crowd.
Demand also determines how much you can charge. You may be the only mathematician offering tutoring services in your town, but if maths tuition isn’t very popular you will need to set enticing prices or offer online tuition.
Certain areas of study require more expensive resources and equipment than others, which accounts for their higher prices.
Images ¦ Horse riding instructors tend to charge higher rates to cover the expenses associated with the lessons ¦ source: Pixabay
For example, horse riding lessons usually involve horses. Not only are horses expensive to buy, but they are living creatures and are expensive to look after too. Consequently the hourly rate for a horse riding teacher is likely to exceed that of a chess teacher, who may only require a chess board and pieces.
Whilst most governing bodies do not dictate the hourly rates that their tutors should charge, they often give recommendations. For example, in 2016 The Musicians Union advised musical instrument teachers to charge £32 per hour, to be negotiated if session conditions change. The ATL advises qualified teachers to charge £30 per hour.
Due to the tendency among freelancers to undercut the competition, these rates aren’t realistic for all tutors. However they do offer a good starting point for experienced tutors and teachers who are deciding how much to charge for tuition.
With all of this in mind, you can use this figure as a starting point and adapt your price according to your location and experience as a tutor and in your field.