How To Make Money By Helping Students

by Guest Contributor · 20 comments

It’s easy for you to say. More time doesn’t mean more money.

I started talking about making money in some of my articles recently, and some of you are wondering whether you can do the same. Today, I’d like to introduce one of the reader to you who started making a side income tutoring. Just like you, he’s a regular guy who has a regular job but unlike most people, he decided to make more money.

It can be done. Don’t just listen to me, listen to him.

With the holiday gift-giving season here, and the economy continuing to struggle towards a recovery, many people are looking for ways to supplement their income. One of the most rewarding ways I’ve discovered to earn some extra money is by tutoring.

First and foremost, you’ll need to have a strong working knowledge in a subject area. But if you don’t have a PhD in mathematics, don’t worry, because there are many elementary and middle school students out there who need tutoring at a level that won’t require you to dig through your old textbooks from college. I have two friends, both a few years out of college, who live in Chicago and use tutoring as a way to supplement their primary income from their regular job. They both agree that you don’t need a lot of in-depth knowledge, especially if you’ll be helping out a student who is not at an advanced level in your subject area.

Tutoring is Rewarding

Tutoring can also be a very rewarding experience, more so than any other part-time job I’ve ever worked for.  In college, I worked with a 7th grader to help with his reading and writing skills, and I felt just as much a sense of accomplishment as he did when he got an English assignment back with “Great Job!” written across the top from the teacher. You have a strong sense of giving back to the community, no matter how small your contribution may be, and you really feel a sense of pride in that.

My dad has worked as a mentor and tutor to two disadvantaged kids for the past three years, and the relationship and bond he has forged with them has enriched his life. When you tutor, their successes become your successes. There are few better feelings I have experienced in my life than helping someone else achieve a goal that first seemed out of reach.

Your Own Hours

Another benefit to being a tutor is the ability to set your own hours. Only want to work 5 hours a week? You can do that. Don’t want to work on weeknights? You can arrange to meet your pupil only on the weekends. I can’t think of another part-time job that allows for this level of flexibility. You are also free to set your own rates – and with typical hourly rates falling between $30 to $60, you can make a good amount of money each week.

Where to Look for Students

If you are interested in becoming a tutor, I encourage you to do so.  Recently, I have found new tutoring opportunities through WyzAnt Tutoring , an online service that connects students with local tutors. You can also work with local libraries and community centers to find tutoring opportunities in your area. 

Once you have a few satisfied students, and I think you’ll find tutoring to be an enriching experience, both for your wallet and your sense of well-being.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Anton Lebedev says:

    In my opinion, the best thing about tutoring is that the scheduling is very flexible.

  • Cd Phi says:

    Tutoring is definitely a great way to make some money on the side especially for those who enjoy teaching and possibly working with students and children. Once they understand what you’ve taught them, their face simply lights up and I think that is what makes tutoring so rewarding.

  • Accounting Tutor says:

    Hi, I am a full time tutor. I would like to add three points in line with most of the discussions above:

    1) tutoring income, full time or part time is taxable income.
    2) tutoring may or may not be financially rewarding – it depends on your definition of financially rewarding and how and where you practice too.
    3) tutoring is definitely rewarding from an emotional perspective. I provide graduate level accounting tutoring as a professional service and find joy when I help someone make sense of accounting and see the joy and eyes light up when they feel that they have finally got a grasp of something they thought they never would – even grown ups.

    Look forward to more of these discussions.

  • John DeFlumeri Jr says:

    I like the idea of tutoring, it’s usually cash, you get paid immediately, and they might need you for a very long time, also referrals might be easy to get. It could be fun and mentally rewarding too.

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  • Credit Card Chaser says:

    Tutoring is definitely rewarding and can often be a great source of income to boot – win, win.

  • Craig says:

    @moneyning For legality purposes I agree and would say the same. But I am sure that is not the case with the majority.

    • MoneyNing says:

      I agree. It’s virtually impossible for the IRS to find out, so most people don’t report it. However, it’s definitely not recommended.

      • Imani says:

        What makes you so sure it is virtually impossible for the IRS to find out? Just wondering.

        Also, wouldn’t it be safer for you to outwardly say that it would be illegal to not declare tutoring or any other income on one’s income tax declaration?

        I don’t know. I’m not a blogger, but I would be seriously concerned if my blog could be cited as endorsing, indirectly (It is virtually impossible for the IRS to find out) even if you said it is not recommended.

        Bottom line, it is illegal and subjects one not only to the additional taxes, but also for penalties and interest and depending on the percentage of undeclared income, fraud, which can go back 7 years in review of tax declarations. Beware of that.

        • MoneyNing says:

          I appreciate the concern, and it is definitely illegal to knowing not report tutoring income.

          I’m purely stating my opinion that it’s virtually impossible for the IRS to track someone down. If it’s a whole tutoring organization, then it’s easier, but the IRS would need to literally follow you around and see that you are actually teaching someone and getting compensated for it.

          If payment is in cash, it makes the proof even harder since investigators cannot possibly go inside the house and see the actual exchange of money. Even if he/she did see money exchanging hands, they’d have to prove that it’s directly related to the lesson being taught.

          But you are right, not reporting income is illegal, whether it’s tutoring or selling on ebay or anything else.

          • Jane Vedell says:

            Tutoring fees are tax deductible for college students. So, if someone gets audited and the IRS checks out all of their deductions – this would be one way.

            Another way would be someone reporting it. I am a private one-on-one math tutor and was talking with a customer at Starbucks who was a teacher. The first question she asked me was if I had a business license (I was in the process). She asked it in such an antagonistic way that led me to believe she would be the type to report someone.

            In the 1990’s my brother spoke with a contractor who had done $7500 of work under-the-table for someone. Fifteen/twenty years later the caught him and the tax ended up being $75,000 with penalties and interest. That is a steep price to pay.

  • KateMTP says:

    I have often thought about tutoring to make some extra money. Not only does it help the child/children involved, but I think it would be very rewarding and not only from the extra cash. I did look into this at one time and the company I found required a degree in the subject with grade reports to back it up. Glad to know there is somewhere else I can check out with WyzAnt.

    Thanks for the post.

  • Imani says:

    Tax free??? Doesn’t the money earned need to be reported as income???

    • MoneyNing says:

      Craig must have made a typo. You are supposed to report your income from tutoring and pay taxes on them. They are also considered ordinary income and will be taxed as such (meaning that the tutor income will be taxed at your top tax rate).

      • Imani says:

        Thank you for clarifying/validating the point that money earned as a tutor is taxable income. I would hate for people reading these comments to walk away thinking that it is tax free.

        Under reported or unreported income qualifying for taxes means higher taxes for those of us who pay our fair share.

        Thank you.

        • Jane says:

          Also, you may have to pay social security on it as both employer and employee depending on how much you’ve paid through your regular employer. Where I live you also must have a business license to tutor and an office address. Yes. This is for one-on-one private tutoring.

          • Imani says:

            Good point, Jane. Not to mention state income taxes, where applicable.

            I’ve tutored for a good number of years on a strictly volunteer basis and vouch for how gratifying it is.

            However, charging for tutoring and treating the income as “tax free” is stepping into dangerous waters.

            Just sayin’.

  • Robert says:

    Never heard of WyzAnt Tutoring. I’ll give it a look.

  • Craig says:

    I don’t tutor but know some people who do and they love it. It’s a great way like you say to help others, set your own schedule and make some tax free extra cash.

  • MoneyNing says:

    My wife tutored for a while before we decided to pause everything until baby Sara is born.

    She always told me how it wasn’t the money and she is always so happy when she comes back from those sessions. No doubt teaching cute twins helped, but she said that she gets a sense of accomplishment when either of them show progress.

    I would highly recommend giving it a try.

  • Samson says:

    I do that as well. The great thing is that you can charge your own amount and if you are good, there will always be students who are willing to pay.

    Comparing it to a part time job, I can work less since my hourly pay is higher, the hours are better since I generally set them myself and I essentially won’t be fired because it’s much harder for ALL my students to stop and there are always more out there.

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