Welcome to my Tutor.com Review.
Before I start, I should clarify… this is for teachers and tutors searching reviews about working at Tutor.com, not for parents and students looking to purchase tutoring sessions... but you’re welcome to stick around if you want to read our tutor's perspective.
I’ll be going over the good, the not-so-good, how to get started and of course, one of the most common questions when it comes to making money online, in this case, is Tutor.com a scam?
Please note, I am not an affiliate for Tutor.com. This review has been researched with information and testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.
What Is Tutor.com?
Tutor.com is an online tutoring platform where students and home-based teachers come together inside a virtual classroom.
Founded in 1998, Tutor.com is one of the oldest online educational platforms… and was way ahead of its time. This was an era when we debated whether online banking would become a thing. There were even "experts" debating whether the entire internet was just a fad.
Today, Tutor.com has grown to employ over 3000 work-at-home tutors and work directly with colleges, universities, employee benefit programs and the US Military.
Is Tutor.com a Scam?
As a decades old company with several academic rewards and a contract with the US Department of Defense, you can be confident that Tutor.com is legit.
But… when you read reviews for working at Tutor.com, questions remain.
To be clear, we’re not talking about an absolute scam here, like the ones that set-up in a foreign country, take your money and then vanish into the abyss.
The issue has to do with deceptively low pay. When you start out with Tutor.com, you are considered a Probationary Tutor and are required to tutor a minimum of 5 hours per week.
The problem is that your access to time slots are limited to non-peak times (because experienced tutors claim the peak hours) and most of your time is simply waiting for a tutoring session. In a 4-hour time-block you might get paid for 1-hour of tutoring.
As a Probationary Tutor you don’t get paid for waiting… so what is advertised as an average $10 per hour job becomes a $2 or $3 per hour job. At least in the beginning… and that doesn’t include your time prepping and taking exams.
That doesn’t make Tutor.com a scam, but it’s important to be aware of. Most tutors who get through this probationary period have written positive reviews.
You may also run into scam accusations like these, but there’s a big difference between a customer service issue and calling them a scam.
How Does It Work?
The application process can take anywhere from 1 – 3 weeks and includes,
- Completing your application.
- Exams for the subjects you’re interested in (up to 2-3 hours in length and you are provided time, even days if required, to prepare).
- Mock tutoring sessions.
- Background check (paid for by Tutor.com).
Having completed the steps above, you’re still not guaranteed a spot. If the subjects that you’ve chosen have an abundance of tutors already, you will be placed on a wait list.
If for some reason you can't get started right away you can also make some money by doing simple surveys. Market research sites like surveyjunkie.com and swagbucks.com will pay for your opinon. Swagbucks will even pay you for doing things you do online anyway, like watching videos, visiting websites, and playing games.
- Working at Tutor.com requires that you reside in the US or Canada and are allowed to work in your country of residence.
- You must have a social security number (US) or a social insurance number (Canada).
- Enrolled in, or have graduated from an accredited US or Canadian college or university.
- Have a strong educational background in the foundation subjects such as English, Math, and Science.
- Be available to Tutor for a minimum of 5 hours per week (does not include wait times between sessions).
One of the reasons we choose work-at-home jobs and online businesses is because of the flexibility they provide.
Tutoring is flexible in that you can choose to work any of your 24 hours, 7 days a week… however, if you hope to make a decent income from it, you need to be available during the peak hours of 4pm – 8pm.
If those times don't work for you, you might be interested in ESL tutoring online for students in different time zones.
You can work as many as 29 hours a week, or as few as 5.
As mentioned earlier… you start out as a Probationary Tutor, then you advance to Tutor 1, Tutor 2 and so on…
The challenge you will have in the beginning as a Probationary Tutor (which can last for the first couple months) is that the peak hour time slots usually go to the Tutors with more experience.
There are varying reports that range from as little as a few bucks an hour (when you factor in your wait times, prep time, exams, etc.) to as high as $15 per hour counting bonuses and incentives.
The $15/hr is unlikely to ever be an average… maybe in rare circumstances when the stars align.
In the beginning, if you count your wait times, exams etc… the $2 or $3 per hour claim is probably accurate, but temporary.
After your probationary period is over, Tutor.com pays up to $5.50 per hour for your downtime between teaching sessions (during pre-scheduled times).
So what do you do during those downtimes? I'm sure a lot of people will watch Netflix and Youtube. As a work-from-home nut I've driven quite a bit for Uber and it blows my mind when I see other drivers watching videos and playing games while they wait.
During those downtimes I worked on my business, and I had multiple income streams on the go whether it was passively collecting affiliate commissions, or grabbing a few extra bucks with simple surveys on sites like surveyjunkie.com and swagbucks.com.
There's always something you can do online to make money, and your downtime with Tutor.com provides a great opportunity.
When it comes to getting paid, Tutor.com transfers via direct deposit.
For more about becoming a tutor, and what you can expect… this orientation video will give you peak inside.
Reviews and Complaints
Most reviews from tutors working at Tutor.com are positive, but there are few complaints.
Aside from the low pay, a few of the issues mentioned are,
- Frustrating feedback from mentors. While some get along great with their mentors, others have compared them to the privileged rulers of the Hunger Games. Obviously, your experience here will be personal and depend on your ability to get along with others and follow instruction.
- Times sessions which lead to a feeling of being rushed.
- Abusive, rude, or sometimes lazy students.
- Difficulty Scheduling
General and Technical Requirements
Obviously, you’re going to need a computer and an online connection, but there are some specifics, as well as general requirements.
- Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7 with a minimum of 4.0 GB of RAM.
- Processor speed should be 1.8 GHz or higher
- Highspeed internet connection (min 256 kbit per second, both directions). Satellite or public Wi-Fi connections are not accepted.
- Internet Explorer 11
- Microsoft Word 2007 or newer.
- Comfortable headset with microphone.
- Screen with a minimum of 720px vertical resolution
- Mac users must be running a Windows emulated environment and required Microsoft software.
- A distraction free environment… and coffee.
What I Like About Tutor.com
- Virtual classroom has all the necessary tools such as live chat, whiteboard, text and code editor, graphing calculator, the ability to share files, etc.
- They’ve been around since 1998. That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, but you’re also not dealing with their growing pains.
- You can log in and out whenever you want and are not limited to pre-scheduled time-blocks.
What I Don’t Like
- Low pay.
- Your first few months can be frustrating with long hours and little compensation.
- Tutoring is not the best option for those looking for fully flexible schedule.
- You’re still trading hours for dollars with no residual income potential.
Where Do You Go From Here?
For the right person, Tutor.com can provide a minor supplement to your income, but it’s not going to be a full-time gig unless your financial requirements are extremely low.
A full-time strategy (if the at-home lifestyle is what you're after) is to combine Tutor.com with other online jobs and income opportunities.
And as mentioned earlier, when you have some downtime you can make money doing online surveys with sites like surveyjunkie.com and swagbucks.com. Swagbucks will even pay you for doing things like surfing the web and watching videos.
You can also do some freelance writing or transcription work during your Tutor.com wait times.
I hope my review has been helpful, and if you have any comments or questions about Tutor.com, please share in the comments section below.