One of the recurring questions people ask when it comes to hiring a private tutor is : Why is tutoring so expensive? Is it really worth it in the end?

On top of the dozens of other expenses, from rent, food, electricity, transportation etc., it's only normal that people are hesitant to dole out even more of their hard-earned money. Most people spend ages hesitating over the decision to seek help through private tutoring– either as a student or a parent. Students and parents alike may wonder whether the price they pay for lessons will really translate into better results and excellent grades.

It's true that private tutoring is a highly competitive market, with different skills offered at different tutoring rates. Tutoring is becoming an increasingly appealing job for many people, including students and those looking for part-time work due to the flexibility it allows and the joys of sharing one's passion. However as more and more people seek to offer their services as tutors, there are no mandatory qualifications or a filtering system.

This implies a vetting process is required on both the student and tutor's side, in order to evaluate whether they are a good match, and also whether the tutoring session will be worth both the time and money invested in the sessions.

Define what you want in a tutor
Finding the right tutor requires a lot of research. Source: Visualhunt

Most tutors that work private set their own rates. In Canada, depending on the subject tutors may charge anywhere between $15-$50 per hour. The rates charged will depend on a number of factors including the subject and level taught, as well as the location of the tutoring sessions. As the tutor sets the rate that they charge, this could also be influenced by the average tutoring rates in your local area.

This can make it tough on parents and students to know what rate is appropriate for the services they are seeking. This is why it's important to do a lot of research to find out about the average tutoring prices in your area and for your subject and level. Here are a couple of important points you may want to consider when hiring a tutor:

  • Qualifications and knowledge of your subject
  • Professional experience
  • Teaching experience
  • Past students (testimonials, references)
  • A tutor's personality
  • Availability
  • Personality and motivation
  • Communication skills
  • Location of lessons
  • Preparedness and organisation

Evidently, the more skills and experience a tutor is, the higher their fees are likely to be. The same is true for any line of work, more qualifications and greater experience will allow tutors to set their prices at a higher rate.

It's important to remember that you are paying for the quality of your lessons. Parents and students are willing to pay for lessons if they are confident that it will lead to the results they want, be it better grades, improved confidence or better exam technique.

Students and parents are paying for quality. They want lessons delivered at a high standard, which will guarantee a boost in grades and a rise in confidence in the subject.

In many cases, private tutoring is an excellent investment in one's education and is completely worth the money when it leads to excellent results and helping students to achieve their personal and academic goals.

This is why before hiring a tutor, it's important to establish what your goals are. What do you want to achieve through your tutoring lessons and what difficulties do you want to overcome? This may entail the grades you would like to achieve and how much you can reasonably afford to pay for tutoring. You'll also want to think about the time you can invest in tutoring lessons outside of school, work and other extra-curricular activities.

The issue of spending money is often the biggest concern when it comes to hiring a private tutor. Many people may feel pressured to pay more in order to receive a better quality service.

The best way to overcome this obstacle and ensure that you are getting every dollars worth for your tutoring lessons is to do your research! Get to know the tutoring market in your local area, the different types of services available, and the average prices charged by tutors at different levels. It's also a great idea to talk to former students and ask for references or testimonials to get a better idea of your potential tutor. Discussing with friends, family, and other students may also be a great way to get to know the tutoring market in your area.

You'll often be able to find tutoring ads in your local library, schools, community centres and even grocery stores to get an idea of what's out there. Websites like Kijiji will also often have ads for tutors and teachers offering their services online. You can also check social media platforms such as Facebook groups and Linkedin for tutors advertising their services.

So once you've done your research, established your goals and your budget for tutoring lessons, it's time to start reaching out to tutors. If you're looking for a tutor at the Elementary school level for your child, then you're probably looking for someone with a lower level of experience but who is still able to deliver excellent results and help your child to improve.

The average costs for elementary school tutoring is about $20- $25 an hour in Canada, and for high school tutoring around $25.

Find out more about home tutoring here.

You'll pay more for a higher level of tutoring
Your tutor will set their rates depending on the level of experience, the subject they are teaching, and the level. Source: Visualhunt

Always ensure that the tutor's qualifications are appropriate for your level. For example, for high school students you'll want to find someone that is at least in University. For University students, you may wish to find someone that has completed their degree and is doing their Master's, is pursuing a doctorate degree or a professional career. Before opting for private tutoring, it's important to consider  child safety for your tutorials as a number one priority.

Another important tip is that it's a good idea to give your a trial period before committing to further lessons in the long term. Don't feel pressured to commit to a tutoring arrangement, if you feel that it's no longer beneficial for you or your child. You'll be able to tell after a couple of sessions whether the tutoring lessons will be worth your time and money.

For those looking to improve their language skills, private tutoring is another great option. Rather than sitting in large classrooms practicing grammar exercises for hours without really practicing a language, private tutoring can really help you to accelerate your learning. Although apps and online courses may help you to supplement your learning, if you're really serious about learning a new language then face-to-face tutoring with a fluent speaker is really the best option.

Private language tutoring will give you the one-on-one support to really learn a language. Although you'll still tackle those tedious grammar exercises, you'll also benefit from conversing one on one with your tutor to improve your accent and communications skills.

When it comes down to learning a language, private tutoring is hands down the best option.

For more information, check out our article on the pros and cons of private tutoring.

Why do some tutors charge so much for private tutoring? 

As we've seen the tutoring market is becoming increasingly competitive, which is why prices may seem unreasonably high. It's up to you to decide how much are ready to invest in your education.

In many cases, private tutoring with a qualified tutor with teaching experience, leads to a considerable improvement in any subject that you are seeking lessons for. For example, a private tutor could help you to overcome that fear or maths, and turn those C's into A's. Imagine the confidence and reassurance that you'll feel

Having private, personal tutoring sessions with an expert means that you will usually see a huge improvement in a subject. A private tutor could make the difference between passing an exam rather than failing, or it could boost a grade from a C to an A. This is why more and more Canadians are opting for private tutoring, because it is almost a guarantee of student success.

Beware of tutors that are setting their lessons extremely low. It's important to consider that depending on your level, you  shouldn’t really be paying much less than $10 an hour for your lessons. If you are seeking high quality tutoring with an experienced tutor, then you'll likely be paying closer to $20 to $25 an hour for tutoring lessons. By paying a bit more for your lessons, with a more experienced and qualified tutor, you'll be more likely to see the results that you're hoping for.

Before hiring a tutor, you might want to make a list of the right qualities they have and set a list of measurable objectives that you'd like to achieve through your lessons. This is a great way to ensure accountability and that you're seeing results for what you are paying.

So have a look online and in your local area to see what tutors are offering. You might be surprised to find a great tutor that offers their lessons at a reasonable rate!

Don't settle for second best!
Find a tutor that helps you achieve your learning goals! Source: Visualhunt

Whether you are looking for a tutor to help you ace that math exam or enter the University of your dreams, then it's no doubt that if you do your research and find the perfect tutor to suit your needs, that their services will be worth every penny for your lessons!

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Yvette is a freelance Canadian writer living in Paris. She spends her time between Toronto and Paris and likes to travel and learn. She's the proud mom of two strong minded women and enjoys her free time giving back to her communities.