If you have ever considered teaching but do not have the ability to commit to a full-time career as an educator, the solution might be to get certified as a tutor. Tutoring certification is not required to tutor, especially if you are going to be hired independently, but it has many benefits and advantages.

What Is Tutoring?

In the most basic sense, tutoring is working as an academic instructor providing support and assistance to students or groups of students outside the classroom. A tutor may be hired for one-on-one sessions where they go over the materials covered in the students' class and help them to master challenging concepts. A tutor can also be hired to go over work or material that is independent of academic instruction.

Some examples could be tutoring to prepare students for a standardized test or general tutoring to prepare a student for an entrance exam or for a class with prerequisites. Some schools and institutions have relationships with tutoring organizations or companies, while other tutors are independent and have clients based on word of mouth and recommendations. These tutors may be affiliated with an organization, an academic institution or a tutoring company, or they may simply seek out clients on their own.

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It is not required by law for anyone to be certified to tutor students. However many tutoring companies or organizations that place tutors with students in need of extra assistance have a requirement for certification. The certification is designed to show that the tutor has demonstrated a good working understanding of their topic area and has a broad base of knowledge. Tutor certification can range from a test you take to be certified to work with a particular company to enrolling and completing a teacher training program.

What Is a National Tutor Certification?

There does not exist one single standard tutoring certification that all tutors need to earn. Instead, there are instead several different certifying bodies that offer tutor certification for a variety of different subject areas and disciplines. This makes it simpler for tutors to earn certification in one particular subject area or become certified to teach particular groups like children.

All programs differ in their content and their assessments, although most programs combine both classroom and pedagogical instruction with practical fieldwork. Many programs have classes in person, while others simply require students to read documents and complete coursework and assessments online. It is a good idea to check on the program requirements and structure before signing up for any tutoring certification course. Depending on your own schedule and desires you will find that certain programs suit your needs better than others.

Which Organizations Certify Tutors?

Depending on your desires and your goals for tutoring, certain tutoring certification programs may be more or less appropriate for you. Organizations like the National Tutoring Association or the American Tutoring Association allow students as young as 16 to become Peer tutors. They require that certification must be applied for within two years of completing the requisite coursework. These two organizations certify tutors who have at the most basic level a high-school diploma, completed 10 hours of tutoring and completed a training webinar to the satisfaction of the organization. In almost every case, these organizations require background checks.

Organizations like the College Reading & Learning Association offer similar varieties of certification beginning with the basic level tutor assessment. The advantages to getting certification from any of these bodies are numerous. Prospective employers know that you have demonstrated specific skills in order to earn the certification, and it offers credibility to any further programs you may want to attend. In addition, certification signals that you have a high standard of skill, and that you are able to handle the job.

The Association for the Coaching and Tutoring Profession is another organization providing certification to would-be tutors. Beginning with the most basic certification as an "Associate Tutor," tutors will receive 10 hours of training and must complete about 25 hours of documented tutoring. From there, tutors can increase their skill sets and their experience levels to earn higher levels of certification.

About the Author

Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience writing about education for a variety of organizations and educational institutions as well as online media sites. She has written for Pearson Education, The University of Miami, The New York City Teaching Fellows, New Visions for Public Schools, and a number of independent secondary schools. She lives in Los Angeles.