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How much should I charge for physics tutoring?

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I'd be tutoring a highschool graduate in highschool physics. His parents want 6-8 hours a week. What should I charge? I'm a physics major/math minor/chemistry minor in college. This is my 3rd year of physics, though I'm a senior. I would think $15 an hour, but I don't know if that's low or not.
 

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  • #2
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I'd say it's a bit low. Lots of variability here.

When I was in your shoes I charged 25. That was about 10 years ago.
 
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  • #3
lisab
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It is a bit low, but since you don't have the hassle associated with juggling several students, it may not be unreasonable.
 
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I tutor college level students in intro physics and only get 10 dollars an hour.
 
  • #5
Evo
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I tutor college level students in intro physics and only get 10 dollars an hour.
Ten dollars is what I've heard is reasonable, I know someone that tutors privately and that's what they charge. Consider that you aren't claiming this as income and it's tax free.
 
  • #6
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Ten dollars is what I've heard is reasonable, I know someone that tutors privately and that's what they charge. Consider that you aren't claiming this as income and it's tax free.
I can't recommend that you don't claim this income. When I tutored, I was paid $13 an hour by the school, the kids didn't pay for it. I paid all appropriate taxes.
 
  • #7
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Mine is taxed and goes towards income. But there are many tutors for the place where I work for.
 
  • #8
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I messaged the person inquiring with my resume, and I said $20/hr. I am slightly worried he won't take it if another student offers lower, but I don't believe I'd want to tutor for less than $15, since I can get $23 taxable as a physics intern.
 
  • #9
Evo
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I can't recommend that you don't claim this income. When I tutored, I was paid $13 an hour by the school, the kids didn't pay for it. I paid all appropriate taxes.
I don't recommend it either, but unless you're employed as a tutor, most people that do it on the side on their own do not report it. My girls also were employed by the college as tutors, so paid taxes. They did it because they enjoyed it, it sure didn't pay the bills. It was only a few hours a week
 
  • #10
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Well I got it. Six hours a week at $20 an hour. They want three sessions a week. I am unsure if they want trig or calc based physics, but I'm assuming trig. They want it to be intensive, me giving him lots of homework and even tests.

Do you think I should have labs to do with him? I could do some simple ones, hot wheels and a stop watch type things. He's not going to be enrolled in college or HS, they just want him to learn it in preparation for college.
 
  • #11
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I think labs would be pretty important to really seal the deal on a concept and make things interesting. You can do a ton of them with very few tools as well.
hot wheels and such are fine, but if his parents own an air hockey table or a pool table, that'd be top notch for momentum labs and be "cooler".
As long as you can clearly explain the relationship it has to the lesson, I think it's an important part of physics. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a University Physics class that didn't have a lab component, so why would the Tutor not provide one?
 
  • #12
Ben Niehoff
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Well I got it. Six hours a week at $20 an hour. They want three sessions a week. I am unsure if they want trig or calc based physics, but I'm assuming trig. They want it to be intensive, me giving him lots of homework and even tests.
For the amount of work they're expecting you to do, you are horrendously underpaid. Consider the amount of time you will have to spend devising and grading homeworks, coming up with lesson plans, etc. Should have asked for their detailed requirements before you quoted a rate.

More generally, if you are going to be a private tutor, you need to apply some basic business sense. To come up with an hourly rate, you need to consider:

- Transportation time and costs
- Material costs (amortized over time)
- Preparation time
- Taxes (you should report, technically speaking)
- Your relative skill level (both at physics and at teaching)
- Actual time spent tutoring

I'm guessing you're going to spend another six hours a week figuring out lesson plans and homeworks, so that cuts your rate in half already.


Evo, I don't see how anyone can make a living charging $10/hr for private tutoring. Professional private tutors that I've heard of charge $50-$80/hr. Look up people who do private dance lessons, or music lessons, etc.; this should be in the same ballpark.
 
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  • #13
Redbelly98
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I have been a tutor in recent years, and charged $65 an hour. I'd charge less if people wanted more than 1 hour per week. Or if people had a problem with paying the full rate, I was willing to work something out.

I do live in a relatively high cost-of-living area, where tutors seem to charge between $50 and $75 for the most part.
 
  • #14
Evo
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Evo, I don't see how anyone can make a living charging $10/hr for private tutoring. Professional private tutors that I've heard of charge $50-$80/hr. Look up people who do private dance lessons, or music lessons, etc.; this should be in the same ballpark.
Seriously, tutors employed by colleges here make $9 an hour. In New Jersey, jimmy made $13 an hour. I know because both of my daughters are employed as tutors, but they do it for fun, not for the money, obviously.

It depends where you are I guess. But here, for a tutor for a high school kid, you can find many college kids doing it for $10 an hour.

Here's what you'd pay a tutor in Austin, TX. $15-$20 an hour is average to tutor a high school student.

http://www.care.com/austin-tutors

Obviously if you are catering to a richer clientele you can charge more. If you teach advanced courses and have teaching credentials, you can charge more. It all depends.
 
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  • #15
Ben Niehoff
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It is my opinion that tutors employed by colleges are being taken advantage of. Unless, of course, they have the luxury of not having to make a living.

At least at my college, the student is charged about $45/hr for the service, and the tutor is paid $12/hr. It is better to be an independent tutor.
 
  • #16
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People who don't have a college degree probably shouldn't be charging more than $20/hour. However, you have a college degree and you won't be working with a firm. I'd say quote something on the order of $40-50/hour. The fact that you charge a high amount should make the parents want to hire you more. This means you have confidence in your skills and are willing to deliver. Consider how much more they would be paying, plus how much less attention the student would get, if he went to a community college.
 
  • #17
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I was paid 10 an hour employed by the university but had the opportunity to charge 20 an hour (offered by a student) for additional tutoring outside my normal hours. I turned it down because I was fairly busy that semester, but I think it's fair to say that the rate paid by the university is lower than the rate that people charge for private tutoring.
 
  • #18
jk
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Consider how much more they would be paying, plus how much less attention the student would get, if he went to a community college.
Don't underestimate community colleges. They are a great bargain. San Francisco Community College charges $46 per semester unit while Houston Community College charges 208 for 3 semester hour class, to use two examples
 
  • #19
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$10-$20 is reasonable if you are tutoring someone who is in a class. Adding explanation to points they do not understand, helping figure out where they are stuck on problems assigned for homework, and assisting in study for exams.

If you are doing the full instruction, developing lesson plans and homework and even giving tests or running labs... then your workload is considerably enhanced, as well as the expected level of your ability.

I would say what they are having you do absolutely deserves a $40+ rate.

Tutor sadly has been co-opted to mean a large variety of things. You are being employed not as a learning assistant, but as a private instructor.
 
  • #20
Evo
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Consider how much more they would be paying, plus how much less attention the student would get, if he went to a community college.
Are you suggesting that a community college is a substitute for tutoring?
 
  • #21
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I have done private tutoring at about 25 dollars an hour and that felt very overpaid. Thats triple minimum wage in California.

If you can get people to pay 40-80 dollars an hour, all the power to you, but I don't see how one can try and justify that their work deserves that.
 
  • #22
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I've never had a set price, but the parents have always paid me $20-$30/hr when I told them to give whatever they wanted.
 
  • #23
Redbelly98
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I ... and charged $65 an hour.
... I don't see how anyone can make a living charging $10/hr for private tutoring. Professional private tutors that I've heard of charge $50-$80/hr. Look up people who do private dance lessons, or music lessons, etc.; this should be in the same ballpark.
I think the big disparity between what others are reporting in this thread, and your & my experience, may be that we are comparing people who tutor for a living to college students who just want a little extra spending money and/or the experience of tutoring.
 
  • #24
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This summer I took on a high school student for chemistry. Since he didn't have any science under his belt, it was more a teaching position rather than tutoring. Needless to say, he got more than his money's worth out of me. I charged $15 per hour (Austin) with 1-2 hours of outside lesson planning per hour of lecture. Next time I will charge $20/hour. Tutors in my area charge $60 per hour for middle/high school students. Yep, tutoring algebra for $60 an hour :bugeye:

Since I was charging a rather discounted price due to the fact he was my 1st student, I had lots of room to play with my style and ideas of teaching. It was a very rewarding experience that taught me more about myself and how to conduct information to others. I'm working on trying to create an introduction to science type lecture series. This would allow a gentle introduction to students who have yet to experience and explore science.
 
  • #25
The upper division physics students in my department charge $12/hour for intro physics students. It's typically mostly for the experience, and most of us just spend a few hours a week helping students with homework questions.
 

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