Job descriptions and industry overviews

Private tutor

28 Feb 2023, 16:37

If you have a detailed and advanced knowledge of a particular area or subject, have the necessary qualifications and very good patience and communications skills, working as a private tutor can be a flexible and well rewarded career choice.

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Private tutors work with students to enhance their learning across different subjects and prepare them for educational qualifications and tests. You'll provide tailored tuition and may offer specialist skills, methods or approaches to support individual learning needs.

Private tutors don't have to be a qualified teacher, but should provide a service that helps students make significant progress in their study and learning, apply effective methods of understanding and problem solving, and prepare effectively for exams or tests. In addition to working for yourself, there are a growing number of agencies and colleges offering specialist tutoring skills with which you could work on a contract or freelance basis. The majority of successful and highly paid tutors conduct their teaching in person but there are a good number of tutors who have developed successful online tutoring careers.

What the job involves

Private Tutors normally provide specialist one-to-one teaching in areas such as the following:

  • Primary school core curricular subjects
  • Foundation literacy skills
  • Special educational needs
  • Secondary school core subjects (to Junior and Leaving Cert Level in ROI and GCSE and A-Level in NI).
  • Preparation for admission tests into specialist schools
  • International curriculum qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate
  • Language tuition
  • Specialist industry training

Flexible working is one of the main advantages of private tutor work. You can schedule private tuition sessions around a main job and other commitments such as study, parenting, travelling, healthcare or volunteering. Teaching online is more common for older students and professionals but now takes up a massive percentage of the tutoring market. In terms of scheduling, popular days and times of sessions for school-age children are typically after school, evenings and weekends. Individual sessions usually last an hour, but you may be asked to tutor for longer per student, as exam and entrance test dates get closer.


  • Advanced understanding of the subject(s) and tests in which you tutor
  • Easy to understand revision and exam techniques
  • Good planning and organisational skills to keep track of class progress, dates and times
  • Excellent communication skills to explain subjects and test information effectively both in person and online
  • Feedback skills to provide comments and constructive input on students' work
  • IT skills to help students access other relevant materials, resources and supports
  • Patience and understanding and a friendly manner to help students feel at ease
  • Confidence to provide encouragement and stimulate success in student'
  • Promotional and marketing skills to generate new clients and grow your business

Typical employers

Any person, organisation or company can require the services of a private tutor It could be for as little as a day or a week or it could be a relationship that is provided over many years. Rates can vary from client to client, depending on their means, the time involved and the results that are desired. Some typical employers for private tutors include:

  • Children at all school levels, some of whom require specialist help and others who may wish to gain access to various prestigious educational institutions
  • Students in secondary and third level education
  • International students provide a considerable amount of work for private tutors, particularly in relation to entrance tests and job interview preparation
  • Career development professionals seeking further specialisms in their chosen career area.

Typical qualifications

There are no statutory or formal qualifications needed to become a professional tutor, but most would have a degree and often further qualifications. These may be particularly necessary if you wish to register with an agency or college, for example. A degree in core educational subjects such as English, languages, science, maths or geography can be particularly useful. You will need to be able to promote your qualifications and expertise and provide examples of effective tutoring, so good references are vital.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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