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 a member or an affiliate for Tutor.com. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not to apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
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 (although this may have changed) 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 (shown below), but there’s a big difference between a customer service issue and calling them a scam.
The problem with complaints like these, even if valid (and they may be), is the takeaway for anyone skimming quickly through reviews is that Tutor.com is a flat-out scam. But they're not.
I don't have enough information to dispute the content of those complaints. They are real issues. But I do think their use of the word "scam" is misleading.
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 inboxdollars.com will pay for your opinon. Inbox Dollars will even pay you for doing things you do online anyway, like watching videos, visiting websites, and playing games.
To be clear, these sites don't pay a lot of money but they are a simple way to get started if you've never made money online before.
... with an online business.
The disadvantage of an online business is that it won't generate income right away.
The advantage however, is that the income it does generate, is passive. Not "hands off" passive like some gurus would claim (at least not in my experience) but over time your income exceeds the amount of work you put in and you have more freedom than you would trading hours for dollars.
If more freedom and independence are what you're looking for, then knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
- 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 may be optimistic, but entirely possible.
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 (although recent comments suggest this has changed and that you do get paid your state's minimum wage during downtime whether your status is probationary or not).
In the comments section below, Kevin (one of Tutor.com's tutors) says in his state he is paid at least $12/hr for waiting. He also mentions his rate with a student is $18.50/hr (which is consistent with the $15/hr average stated above).
It's rare for a tutoring company (or any work from home company) to offer pay for downtime, and it's a unique opportunity.
What do you do during those downtimes?
You're sitting at the computer so you could watch Netflix and Youtube. But you could also be learning, developing a new skillset or making money in other ways.
As a work-from-home junkie, I've driven quite a bit for Uber in the past, and there were often significant wait times. Especially at the airport. It would blow my mind when other drivers would just watch videos or play games while they waited.
At least some would use that time to get some exercise.
In my case, I worked on my business during those down times (which is now full-time) 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 inboxdollars.com.
There's always something you can do online, and your downtime with Tutor.com provides a great opportunity. Especially if you're earning $12/hr for waiting as some tutors do.
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.
- Timed sessions which lead to a feeling of being rushed.
- Abusive, rude, or sometimes lazy students.
- Difficulty Scheduling
Keep in mind, these complaints are subjective and most likely refer to a specific situation (or situations). Are all students abusive, rude and lazy? No, of course not. But you will probably get one or two. You will probably also feel rushed at times, or disagree with a mentor.
I don't mean to minimize the above complaints, they are absolutely legitimate concerns. With all the positive experiences though (and the fact that Tutor.com has been around since 1998), I don't think they are systemic issues. In my opinion, they shouldn't discourage you from applying.
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 (according to some tutors).
- Your first few months can be frustrating with long hours and little compensation.
- Tutoring is not the best option for those looking for a fully flexible schedule.
- You’re still trading hours for dollars with no passive income potential.
Where Do You Go From Here?
For the right person, Tutor.com can supplement your income, but it may not be a full-time gig unless your financial requirements are relatively low. At least, not when you're starting out.
It is legit though. There are thousands of people who make money online tutoring. Those with more experience can do it full-time.
When you're starting out (if the at-home lifestyle is what you're after), the trick is to combine online jobs like Tutor.com with other income opportunities.
As I mentioned earlier... I used to drive Uber and work on my laptop between rides. Some people do wedding photography on the weekends or deliver pizza during the week.
Working from home is entirely possible, but requires a little creativity.
Inbox Dollars 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.
As mentioned earlier, an online business (like any business) has the potential to give you more time and freedom. There are times when you work hard but being the boss, you choose when and where. NOT someone else.
If more and freedom and independence are what you're looking for, then knowing how (and where) to get started is what you need in order to get what you want.
I hope my Tutor.com review has been helpful, and if you have any comments or questions about Tutor.com, please share in the comments section below.