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How to become an Online Tutor

online tutor careers

What does a Online Tutor do?

Online tutors or e-tutors guide students through an internet learning experience. They support and enable learners to achieve their goals by identifying and facilitating their individual learning styles. Their primary role is to develop a rapport with a tutorial group and add a human touch to the process of learning. They may encourage discussions, explore ideas and review other's contributions in light of their subject knowledge.

Online tutors interact with their tutorial group through:

  • email
  • ’virtual classrooms’ (ie a class conducted through web technology)
  • discussion forums and chat rooms
  • text and web pages
  • audio and video conferencing.
They sometimes arrange and host discussions in real time (synchronous) or on other occasions deal with enquires in a regular but asynchronous (not in real time) way. Online tutors need to manage and prioritise their workload effectively, as they are likely to have an ever-full email inbox.

Tutors enter into individual dialogues with their students and try to build their confidence and develop their understanding of the material. They may also set assignments and assess learner's performance. Their key aim is to facilitate learning, and encourage learners to be well-motivated and independent in their learning.

Tutors potentially work in a wide variety of contexts. They can work in government organisations, corporate training, adult community education or in higher education. They could offer administrative and technical support, advice and guidance, knowledge of a subject specialism, learner assessments and some may even design their own course materials.

What's the working environment like working as a Online Tutor?

Online tutors may work on flexible, part-time assignments. An assignment would involve working with a group of learners for the duration of the course. This typically involves some hours of daily commitment. Tutors are usually independent and manage their workload to suit their own schedule. They may have to be available for some pre-arranged times each day for synchronous events.

Online tutors may work evenings and weekends often at their own convenience.

Online tutors can work in any environment they choose to as long as they have access to an internet connection, preferably broadband. Many will work at a desk from home. Some online tutors are directly employed by organisations to tutor online alongside other work.

What does it take to become a Online Tutor?

To be an online tutor you should:

  • be enthusiastic, inspiring and able to motivate others
  • have a keen interest and wide experience in a relevant subject matter
  • be able to communicate clearly and tactfully using internet technologies
  • be patient and supportive of learners
  • be persistent in focusing learners
  • be assertive and take the initiative
  • be fully IT literate and a proficient user of internet technologies
  • have good organisational skills
  • have an interest in new technological developments
  • have a professional manner.

Online Tutor Career Opportunities

Online tutors can develop into e-learning professionals running their own e-learning projects. They may also become self-employed.

Online tutors may move into other areas of online educational delivery, for example course development, management or consultancy.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Online Tutor that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Training Foundation
Foundation House
University of Warwick Science Park
Millburn Hill Road
Tel: 024 7641 1288

Online Learning
The Sheffield College
Castle Centre Northside
Granville Road
S2 2RL
Tel: 0114 260 3637

Tel: 0114 260 3637

Joint Examining Board (JEB)
30A Dyer Street
Tel: 01285 641747

Institute of IT Trainers

Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) (formerly FENTO)
5th Floor
St Andrew’s House
18-20 St Andrew Street
Helpline: 020 7936 5798

Courses to help you become a Online Tutor