Parents can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to over $75 per hour for tutoring services. And in some cases, you may have to commit to pay up front for the first few months of tutoring.
With such a wide range in pricing, how do you differentiate between tutoring services to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth? This month’s blog helps answer that question. We look at 2 key questions to ask prospective tutoring services that will cut through the marketing hype, help you nail down the quality of tutoring service being offered, and how much you should pay for it.
1. What are the teaching credentials of the person tutoring my child ?
The capability of the tutor working with your student will have more impact on their progress, than anything else a tutoring service has to offer. Tutoring services may point to other features such as a “skill assessments”, “teaching methodologies” or even the shape of their desks but in the end, the capability of the tutor assigned to your student is what really matters.
Ask the above question and be prepared for some interesting answers. Here’s a guide on what to listen for and how it should affect how much you should be willing to pay.
Experienced certified teachers are the best qualified tutors available. That’s because in addition to having the subject knowledge, they are professionally trained and practiced on how to teach - and have the university/college degree to back it up (Bachelor in Education). If they are experienced teachers, it also means they are intimate with the curriculum requirements, and so better able to help your student with their schoolwork.
Often tutoring service providers will describe their tutors as “Highly Qualified tutors” or “Certified tutors” – but you really need to check for underlying professional teaching credentials to find out what those titles mean. You shouldn’t expect the same results, or pay the same hourly rate for a tutor that has been trained by a private tutoring center versus one that has earned a university degree in education and is teaching on a daily basis.
Some tutoring services will also point to the fact that their tutors have a “Masters” or “Ph.d” in a particular subject area. As impressive as this sounds, it’s not necessarily a credential that should demand a higher hourly rate. That’s because having those degrees shows a depth of subject knowledge in a particular subject at the university level – but it’s probably not of any value to your student at the secondary or grade school level.
In general, subject knowledge is rarely a differentiator between tutoring services. You should expect any tutor offered by a respectable tutoring service to have the subject knowledge required.
2. What’s the student to tutor ratio?
Tutoring service providers provide tutoring in two formats, private and “low ratio” tutoring sessions. There’s a big difference between the two formats and you should expect to pay different hourly rates between them.
In a one to one format, your student receives the full attention and focus of their tutor. This means their tutor can tailor tutoring sessions to their upcoming tests or assignments– and use the same teaching methods that are used by their school teacher. It also changes the “learning environment” in that there is no distraction from other classmates.
In a low ratio format, your student shares their tutor with two to eight or more other students. Because others are present, sessions are much less focused on their schoolwork as in one to one sessions and more focused on the tutoring center curriculum and exercise sheets.
A low ratio format is enticing for tutoring centers because frankly, they can take their largest cost, which is tutor remuneration, and divide it across several students. To make up for that, other features such as “skill assessments” and “individually tailored plans” are used but in the end, it’s the ratio of student to tutor that really determines the quality of tutoring service and the hourly rate you should pay.