Science is the third most commonly tutored subject in the UK. Whether you want to become a Science tutor full-time or want to work part-time to earn some extra money, this profession offers a very rewarding experience.
If you have a strong knowledge of the sciences, and are looking for rewarding, flexible work, then becoming a Science tutor could be a good choice for you. Whether you’re looking to tutor full-time, or just work in the evenings and weekends, becoming a science tutor can be a fulfilling decision. Moreover, a study by the Sutton Trust showed that Science is the third most commonly tutored subject, meaning that demand for tutors is always high, especially at GCSE and A-Level. In this post, we share our top tips for becoming a Science tutor.
The Qualifications You Need to Become a Science Tutor
Currently, in the UK, you don’t need any specific qualifications to become a Science tutor. As the majority of tutors are self-employed (even if they work for agencies), it rests with the clients to decide how qualified you should be to teach them.
Nevertheless, the more qualified you are, the more your value will increase in the eyes of your potential tutees. As a Science tutor, having an A-Level qualification in one or more of the sciences, (or even a degree in Science education), will definitely increase your value to potential clients. These qualifications will also mean that you will have the necessary skills to tutor a variety of ages and abilities in Science.
Additionally, even though it isn’t a legal requirement, you should also consider obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate, particularly if you intend on tutoring students under the age of 18.
The Skills You Need to Become a Science Tutor
Science tutors need a variety of skills that will vary depending on the individual science (or sciences) that you decide to tutor. Some of the key competencies you will need are:
- Knowledge of scientific vocabulary, units and symbols
- Analytical and evaluative skills
- Knowledge of scientific methods and theories
- Good Maths skills (mainly applicable to Physics and Chemistry)
These skills are required to competently teach secondary school students. Other than these competencies, you’ll also need the following skills:
Adaptable Teaching Style – As a tutor, you’ll likely be teaching students of all ages and abilities, so you will need to be able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people. Plus, every student will have their own learning style - for example, some are visual learners, whilst others are more auditory – so you’ll need an adaptable teaching style to teach different students.
One-To-One Teaching Skills – In contrast to classroom teaching, being a Science tutor will require you to give your full attention to one, or a small group, of students for an entire lesson. Your teaching style will need to be friendly but fair, and positive but without excessive praise. These skills are applicable to both online and in-person tutoring.
Business Knowledge – As you will be self-employed as a Science tutor, you will automatically become a business owner – whether as a sole trader or limited company. It’s therefore important that you familiarize yourself with business aspects such as tax and marketing. There are many resources, such as accountants and local council business advisors, who can help you with these areas.
Decide Which Level of Science to Tutor
As a Science tutor, the majority of your students are likely to be those taking their GCSE and A-Levels. These students will mostly need help improving their skills in order to pass exams.
If you have a degree-level education in Science, however, you may also decide to tutor university students too, whose study will be more in depth and demanding. You can therefore decide whether to focus on secondary school students, or to tutor beyond school years.
Moreover, if you’ve studied more than one science, you can also decide whether you’d like to focus on one in particular, or tutor all sciences of which you have knowledge.
Set Your Science Tutoring Rates
Deciding how much to charge for your tuition services isn’t always easy. A quick Google search shows that science tutors can charge anywhere from £25 an hour, over £100 an hour. Whilst there is no industry standard, the average Science tutor in the UK will tend to charge between £25 and £50 per hour, depending on their level of experience.
Once you’ve decided upon your tutoring rates, you may also decide to provide discounts for block bookings or group lessons. You can also consider whether you will charge travel costs for students who live a certain distance from you, or reduced rates for tutees that live nearby.
Although it can be tempting to charge low rates when you start tutoring, it’s worth remembering that you’re likely to be limited to evening and weekend work, unless you wish to offer workshops during the day, or obtain a contract to work in schools.
How to Find Science Tutoring Jobs
Marketing your services as a Science tutor can be one of the most challenging aspects of tutoring. If you’re looking to tutor in your local area, then you can check out our posts, Marketing for Tutors: How to Promote Your Services, and How Can I Market Myself as a Private Tutor in my Local Area for our top tips. Likewise, if you intend to tutor online, then have a read of our post 7 Steps to Effectively Market Your Tutoring Business Online.
Ideally, once you’ve established for Science tutoring business, students will find you, but until then, you may want to keep an eye on tutoring jobs boards like the one we have at The Tutor Website. Finally, in order to maximise your chances of being found in your local area through online searches, you should think about signing up to our private tutor directory.
If you’d like to learn more about how to become a Maths tutor, you can buy our eBook ‘How to Start Your Own Tutoring Business’ for £21.99 – it’s packed full of useful advice.