Are you motivated to start giving private English tutoring sessions? You’re already halfway there! But you also need to have a high level of English.

Having the necessary skills to teach English will not only boost your CV but will also help you attract potential customers.

You might be wondering how you can prove your proficiency and show potential customers that you have an excellent knowledge of the English language.

There are many English tests, diplomas, and certificates you can use to stand out from other English speakers. But there are some that are the more popular as they are internationally recognised.

Of course, the qualifications you need depend on what type of learner you would like to teach.

Teaching English to adults is completely different to teaching primary school children for example.

At-home private tutoring, like every other business, is prone to fierce competition. Customers will compare tutors in terms of their rates and abilities. So it’s important that you differentiate yourself!

Discover ESL courses in Melbourne here.

These days students are more familiar with the different international English qualifications.

The TOEFL, TOEIC, and GMAT are especially well known worldwide.

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Which English Test Should You Take?

It’s important to note that national qualifications don’t tend to be as well known or respected as the international ones.

Even Europe-wide exams aren’t frequently used or known and several of these are typically only used nationwide and are actually thought to be more trouble than they're worth for candidates.

Certificates from English universities and international organisations are often considered more prestigious.

No matter what exam you choose, it will certainly test your abilities.

Where can I take the TOEFL exam?
You can get free practice exams online. (Source: Visual Hunt)

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is only for those who aren’t native English speakers. This exam primarily focuses on academic English.

The test is run by ETS (Educational Testing Service) out of Princeton University and it is a multiple-choice exam.

Candidates are tested on four core language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking.

You can take the test in two ways: at a test centre or at home with the TOEFL Essentials (about one and a half hours, scored out of 12 points) or at home with the TOEFL iBT (about three hours, scored out of 120 points).

In Australia, the Essentials test costs US$120, while the iBT test costs US$273.

There are no passing or failing scores set by the TOEFL Program or ETS. Each institution or agency sets its own score requirements. 

The Essentials exam also measures Foundational skills, which are reported as percentiles (5th–95th percentile). The percentile value on a foundational skill means that you performed better than that percentage of all those who took the test.

The TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is another test run by ETS. This exam focuses more on business English.

It is composed of two tests: Listening and Reading (two and a half hours) and Speaking and Writing (one hour and 20 minutes).

The first is scored out of 990 while the second is scored out of 400.

Like the TOEFL, the TOEIC is not a pass-or-fail test. The test measures different levels of ability. You will receive a scaled score, which enables you to set attainable goals and measure progress as your skills improve.

The GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) is for management or business school students who would like to undertake an MBA or post-graduate studies in business.

For this exam, there are four sections: Quantitative, Verbal, Integrated Reasoning and Analytical Writing Assessment. Candidates are graded on a scale between 200 and 800.

Find out where you can learn English online.

English-Speaking Experience

As you can see, the GMAT exam isn’t required for those who would like to teach English privately.

Conversely, the TOEIC is a good indicator of a person’s language ability, especially for those who want to give private tutorials to professionals and teach business English.

The TOEFL is likely the best option for anyone who would like to teach private English lessons to children, teenagers, university students and adults looking to improve their academic or general English.

Where can I study in the UK?
Are you dreaming of spending a semester in one of the UK's most prestigious universities? (Source: Unsplash)

We should also mention the IELTS exam. This test is also helpful for those looking to obtain visas in English-speaking countries as it's widely accepted by almost all immigration authorities as proof of someone's English level.

Additionally, there are different Cambridge exams for all ages and abilities.

Children can take the Pre A1 Starters to the A2 Flyers while they're at school, which will familiarise them with the Cambridge exam format and prepare them for future exams as adults.

For adults, there are a variety of exams ranging from A2 through to C2 CEFR levels.

You should definitely take a placement test before signing up for a specific level as you have to pay to sit the exam and it would be a shame if the exam was far too easy or far too difficult.

Again, you should think carefully about why you want a certificate to prove your English level and consequently choose the one that best fits your needs.

But remember that all of these qualifications are internationally recognised and also looks great on your CV!

When it comes to offering English tutorials, you should really highlight your English certifications in order to get your first customers.

Once you've provided a few quality tutorials, your clients will keep coming back and spread the word. In no time your English course will become the most popular in the area and you’ll have a group of loyal customers.

When Is An English Degree Sufficient?

Did you know that in Australia, you do not legally have to have any specific qualifications to become a private tutor?

If you decide to join an agency, then you will need to give them proof that you have at least a university degree. But otherwise, you can get started!

Clearly, tutors of a specific academic subject usually have a background or qualification in that area, typically to degree-level or equivalent.

While you can tutor anyone who is at a level below you, you should still have the knowledge to teach them things beyond their current level.

Additionally, some of your students may not be children. For example, you can teach ATAR subjects if you have a degree in the area, but what if a student approaches you wanting degree-level tutoring?

You would want to be sure that your knowledge exceeds theirs on the subject that you are supposed to be an expert on!

Being capable of teaching beyond the curriculum is important for other reasons: it allows you to help students develop critical thinking skills, understand their own learning style, and accomplish their academic goals.

When it comes down to it, yes, a degree is sufficient to promote yourself as a tutor. But this depends on whether you want to be regarded as a credible tutor.

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Jaye
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Andrea
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Linda
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Jacqueline
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Jackson
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Jackson
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Richard
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Richard
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/h
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Jaye
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Jaye
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Andrea
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Andrea
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Viral
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Maany
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Linda
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Being a Tutor as a Native English Speaker

Being bilingual is definitely impressive. Particularly if you were born in an English-speaking country.

Those who were born in English-speaking countries certainly have an advantage when it comes to teaching private English lessons, whether to children, teenagers, or adults.

If this is you, perhaps you should think about getting qualifications in another language.

However, you can’t simply depend upon where you were born. You should also mention what other countries you’ve been to.

Thanks to globalisation, it’s becoming more and more likely that you will encounter people who’ve studied or lived abroad in English-speaking countries.

Check out English classes Brisbane here.

Are English Teaching Certifications Required?

You don’t legally need a degree in order to teach English privately, however you do have to have an excellent level of English.

A degree is often useful for those who want to work as a private tutor because to study English at a university means you need to have a certain level of fluency.

To prove your language skills it would be helpful that you have completed your university studies or at least have similar academic experience. 

If you didn't attend university, you will be expected to have at least taken an English course at a language school.

No matter what subject, if you want to teach it ideally you should have a degree in it.

If you want to work in schools however, you’ll need post-graduate education, normally in teaching. But you don’t need this for teaching private classes.

How About A Degree in Teaching?

Is a teaching qualification more important than a degree in the subject you are specialising in? When parents are looking for a tutor for their child, are they looking for a qualified teacher?

The question here is whether you have more credibility as a qualified music teacher (for example), with experience breaking down a curriculum and having studied ATAR English than if you are an English Literature graduate who has spent three years focusing on the subject.

Does simply being trained as an educator make you more attractive as a tutor than someone who has an in-depth knowledge of the content being taught?

As we’ve discovered, your qualification doesn’t matter in terms of the legality of your new career, but your experiences can play a vital role in how you promote yourself.

You could take a TEFL course Melbourne.

Professional Experience is Important

“Native” speakers are those who were either born or grew up in an English-speaking country or have English-speaking parents.

If you’re not a native English speaker, you can get ahead of the rest by gaining professional experience.

Is the tutoring job market competitive?

Perhaps you should consider travelling to the UK or the US to get some valuable experience. 

Professional experience in an English-speaking country is greatly advantageous. Particularly if you undertake English-language immersion and intense study.

It also looks great on your CV and could be a way of avoiding sitting one of the exams we were talking about earlier.

Which are the best professional English exams?
Learning professional English could really advance your career (Source: StockSnap)

This might not be the case for everyone though.

The first thing you have to do is think about what you want. If you want to be a teacher in a school, you will have to take exams and obtain a degree.

If you want to be a private tutor, you don’t legally need anything. You can teach primary school children with no certifications but if you want to teach teenagers and adults, it might be different. 

Older students and adults are likely to seek someone who has sat the TOEFL or TOEIC exam, thus it is recommended that you take one of these.

Working and living in an English-speaking country for a period of time can be hugely beneficial. Not only will it help you keep learning English, but you can also learn about the country and its culture while simultaneously teaching others…

Advice on How to Become a Great Tutor

There’s being a tutor, and there’s being a good tutor. So how do you differentiate yourself from the rest, other than by getting qualifications?

1. Choose which subjects you’d like to teach

Now that you've decided to assist students with their studies, it's a good idea to specify your client base so that you can be more specialised and provide them with a more targeted and individualised service. For example, will you teach primary school children, teenagers, or adults? What subjects or courses will you focus on?

If you like children or have previous experience working with them, you may feel more at ease tutoring them too. Working with primary school children is very different from teaching secondary school students, as is transferring your knowledge to adults!

Would you mind if your client is older than you? Another question is whether you are qualified and confident in working with people with learning difficulties?

2. Get to know the curriculum

Once you have decided your client type, you must make sure that you are aware of their needs by familiarising yourself with their course structure, when their exam takes place, their strengths and weaknesses in regards to the subject, and more.

In order to be able to assist your student according to their needs, you should get to know the curriculum they are studying so that you can set tasks that are relevant to what they’re working on in the classroom.

3. Develop your own teaching style

There's no right way of being a teacher. Anyone who has been a teacher will tell you that you frequently have to adapt your teaching methods from class to class, and from student to student.

Not everyone teaches the same way, and not every pupil learns the same way either. Some students can easily absorb information, while others may need things more broken down or even taught in a more creative manner, such as with the use of visual imagery.

The more you teach, the easier it will become, however it is always a good idea to figure out your preferred teaching methods before you begin your tutoring journey.

4. Encourage good and clear communication between students and parents 

Feedback is vital to being a good tutor. It's crucial that you encourage your pupil to tell you what is working during your sessions and what isn't, while also checking in with parents and potentially their teacher to make sure that your tutoring is making a positive impact.

In order to provide the most suitable arrangement for all, why not organise a phone call or meeting to talk about your pupil's needs.

This will enable everyone to have input and allow you all to move forward in the same direction and in the most beneficial way for the student.

5. Become a verified tutor

If you want to increase your appeal, then joining a tutoring association to become accredited could enhance your business. In Australia, you can join several bodies committed to the education sector, such as the Australian Tutoring Association (ATA).

6. Start off with a tutoring centre

If business is slow getting off the ground, why not think about joining an agency to be matched with the perfect clients?

Tutoring platforms like Superprof can connect you with hundreds of new clients online.

It’s simple: create a free listing that highlights what you teach and your methodology, personalise your listing with a nice picture of yourself as well as reviews or recommendations and voila!

You'll soon be receiving lesson requests from interested students

If you set the right price and choose whether you will only tutor locally or provide remote teaching to people nationwide (and beyond) then you could really make it - you’ll have a bustling business with no marketing bills or woes in no time!

7. Be adaptable

Decide whether you will tutor face-to-face or if you are willing to provide online tutoring to a wider variety of students. However, even if you decide to stay local, there are still questions to ask yourself: Will you teach from your house?

Will you travel to your student’s home? Will you hire a meeting room? Will you tutor from an unused classroom at a local school? And, if you will travel, will you add extra fees for mileage?

Flexibility isn’t only about 'where' though, it's also about 'how' and ‘when'. For instance, can you be flexible with your timings, providing lessons in the evenings or on weekends? Of course, students are busy during school hours!

Additionally, have you thought about how much more convenient it could be for your clients if you provided more flexible payment solutions?

You could also set yourself apart from the rest by accepting cash, Paypal, or even apps where parents can transfer cash easily and with more visibility of the termly breakdown.

We hope this information helps you as you establish yourself as an English tutor!

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Alison

Ali is an Australian writer, community manager and art curator living in Paris.