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How To Find an Online English Tutor: A Complete Guide

A student uses his computer for a lesson with an online English tutor

If you landed on this page, there's a good chance you're the parent of a student in need of an English tutor. While you could go the traditional route of finding a local tutoring lab or in-person tutoring sessions, these days it's far more convenient to choose an online tutor. For starters, you don't have to worry about commuting or social distancing, and you can set the schedule so it works for your lifestyle.

Whether your child needs to brush up on English class basics like writing, reading, and grammar or you need a full-fledged ESL (English as a Second Language) instructor, a tutor can offer valuable one-on-one time, providing instant feedback and adjusting to the student's learning style and language skills.

This guide will reveal how to find an online English tutor, including where to look, what qualifications and qualities to seek out, and how much it costs. Plus, you'll learn some top study techniques that students can use in between tutoring sessions so they're set up for success.

Where To Find an Online English Tutor

Finding a tutor online can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Google the phrase "online English tutor" and the abundance of options can be overwhelming. The issue isn't the lack of available English tutors— it's knowing how to sift through all of them so you can find the best one to suit your child's needs.

While you could use a number of online platforms like Thumbtack or Craigslist, one of the best ways to find an online English tutor is through a trusted company that focuses solely on tutoring.

For example, TutorMe has instructors who specialize in specific subjects and have attended some of the world's top-rated colleges and universities. You can browse the list of English tutors, view their profiles, and filter your search based on your preferences. If you don't have time for that, you can be instantly matched with a tutor.

What To Look for in an Online English Teacher

An online English tutor interacts with her computer screen

English tutors come from all walks of life with a range of professional experience. Whether they're a college undergrad, professor, or something in between, a good English tutor can be the difference between a student falling behind and thriving. Although there's no one-tutor-fits-all solution, here are some basic qualifications you'll want to consider for your search.

Native English Speaker

While there are plenty of qualified English tutors who aren't native speakers of the language, it stands to reason that someone who grew up immersed in English will have a deeper, richer, and more accurate understanding of its nuances.

Having a tutor who has an inherent ear and eye for the language can make it easier when covering topics like reading, writing, and grammar, and prevent situations where the student becomes confused or frustrated.

Years of Experience

As with many other industries, years of experience is a significant factor when considering who to hire. You also want to know the type of experience the tutor has.

For instance, if you have a student who needs help writing a senior thesis, a tutor with six years of experience teaching English with an emphasis in composition might be a better fit than a tutor who has only taught middle-school students for the past year.

Likewise, if your teen needs help improving basic English language skills or isn't a native English speaker, finding an instructor who has worked with ESL students can help break through language barriers.

Level of Education

Although you can certainly find an effective tutor without a degree, focus your search on those with at least a bachelor's degree. If your high schooler is in ESL classes, it's a good idea to look for an online tutor with specific certifications that can help them with their language learning skills.

Different countries have different names for these certifications. Depending on where the tutor attended school, the certification could be TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), ESL (English as a Second Language), or TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

Teaching Style

When possible, conduct a preliminary interview with potential online tutors to ask questions and get a sense of their teaching style and techniques. Are they slow and methodical, or do they prefer a more fast-paced approach? You want someone who can teach English in a manner that is best suited for your child and meet them where they are in terms of skills.

If you can't conduct an interview (or even if you can), be sure to read the tutor's profile to see if they offer any details about themselves aside from education and experience. Learning about a tutor's interests or hobbies can help you get a feel for their personality. Also, check to see if the tutor has user feedback from previous students. Along with reading the tutor's profile, you can learn a lot about a tutor based on student reviews.

How Much an Online English Tutor Costs

Generally speaking, online tutors cost less than in-person tutors as the talent pool is much larger than if you were limited to one specific area. Online tutoring costs vary greatly depending on the tutor's location, teaching experience, degree of education, and other factors.

For instance, a tutor based in the United States may charge a higher fee than someone in another country. What's more, if the instructor is located in a major city (say, New York or Los Angeles) versus a rural area, the price might be higher to correspond with the higher cost of living.

A quick search on Thumbtack shows prices ranging from $35-$100 an hour for remote tutoring in the Detroit area, while TutorMe offers pay-as-you-go tutoring that starts at $1 per minute to monthly packages that start at just $69 per month no matter where you or the tutor lives.

Costs also vary based on the subject, level of instruction, and frequency of sessions. For example, if you're looking to hire a tutor who is well-versed in business English, that could cost more than a tutor offering help with a conversational English course. Also, tutors who prepare students for standardized tests such as the ACT or SAT often require higher fees because of their specialized skills.

Top Tips for Studying Between Tutoring Sessions

Students in a study group

Now that you know how to find an online English tutor, it's time to pick up a few handy tips that'll help your high schooler make the grade.

Study Your Notes

Just because a student is in a virtual classroom doesn't mean they don't have to take notes. Encourage your child to take notes during their online tutoring sessions and make sure they review their notes regularly between meetings.

Taking notes is crucial because it requires concentration and helps the student recall and retain information. It also helps to jot down questions for the next session and take notes on any areas that need further explanation.

Read, Listen, and Watch

Reading books and magazines, listening to podcasts and music, and watching TV shows and movies can be a fun and effective way to "study" in between tutoring sessions. Just keep in mind that not all content is created equal.

For example, if your kid needs help with proper grammar or sentence structure, it would be better to watch a news program or read a newspaper than a casual blog or Facebook feed. Similarly, if your child is an ESL student, immersing them in English content is key to improving everything from grammar and pronunciation to speech patterns and accents.

Practice With Others

The old axiom that practice makes perfect holds true when it comes to studying between tutoring lessons. If your child doesn't feel confident with their speaking skills, practice having a conversation with them using the words or phrases that they've learned. Students can also practice with friends, family members, or study partners.

To practice writing, your teen can write about a favorite vacation, video game, or any number of topics. A guide like 501 Writing Prompts offers hundreds of ideas as well as details on how to improve. Whether it's reading retention or nailing down the basics of writing an essay, the key is to practice consistently.

Get the Best Tutor in No Time

Finding an online English tutor for your teenager can seem like a daunting task. But once you know what qualifications and qualities to look for in a tutor, the process is a lot easier. Pay attention to the tutor's background, years of experience, level of education, and teaching style to see if they align with your goals.

While hiring a tutor can be pricey, online sessions can be a much more affordable option. TutorMe offers high-quality, convenient, and flexible tutoring at affordable prices. What's more, you can find an online English tutor that is available 24/7 no matter what timezone you're in. So, what are you waiting for? Get started now.