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The concept of remote work is something that became much more mainstream in the last decade. Driven by ever-improving at-home broadband connections, smarter mobile devices and tablets, and a growing acceptance of the practice, there were more American workers working remotely in 2019 than ever before. At 5.3% of the total working population, this is still just a sliver of the total workforce, but there is no doubt that this number will continue to grow in the coming decade.
For businesses, the beauty of having remote workers usually means significant capital savings; while employees bask on the autonomy (or freedom) afforded to them through flexible working hours and work-from-home arrangements (the previous terms have been italicised because they are what one makes of them, given the work situation).
To many, the premise of remote work has not shifted much in terms of its participants — namely people who needn’t be tied to a desk or based out of an office. Customer service reps no longer need to be (together) at physical call centers, but rather can do their work just about anywhere in the world with a good Internet connection. With the pay for these jobs being anywhere between $5 to $15 an hour, it’s no surprise to see this as a very attractive option in countries where the average salary is low, plus the strong benefits of working from home. On the other end of the spectrum, IT developers take home huge salaries, often tasking from their couch or wherever they want to be. The big trade-off, of course, is that it can take years of schooling and work experience to be qualified for such skilled jobs.
Part of the reason why remote jobs continue to account for such a small percentage (of the overall market) is because of the lack of awareness where its overall job diversity is concerned. There is a strong misconception that remote work is hard to come by, and those who have steady non-remote jobs would be risking their livelihoods by pursuing remote work. But new forms of remote work, which are becoming increasingly prominent, have been slowly chipping away at this urban myth.
Freelance platforms, such as Fiverr, Freelancer, UpWork, etc. have given millions of people the opportunity to pick the jobs they want to work on. But, of course, overall success and sustainability depends on the usual suspects, including market supply and demand, and one’s ability to earn given their professional qualifications. There is also the concern of whether a job or skill can be truly be practiced remotely without sacrificing quality.
Online tutoring, however, is a fully remote role that has been proven to allow virtually anyone to work from anywhere and earn a proper income. Best of all, it’s actually quite simple—essentially, individuals share their expertise with keen learners from all corners of the world, and they do so via online tutoring sessions, whether it be by chat or video. No longer do potential students need to rely on help in the real world when a plethora of virtual scholars are ready and waiting around-the-clock.
One huge benefit of online tutoring, for both the student and the tutor, is price. For tutors, the typical earnings for a one-hour online session is around $30 to $40, and is usually dependent on the content. This is considered relatively high compared to other remote jobs, such as customer service. This price point is also very attractive for students (and parents) who are accustomed to the many traditional, in-person tutoring services. Per-session costs for traditional tuition can average around $65 to $100 per hour, with SAT tutoring in New York asking for up to $350 an hour! Given the greater disparity in these numbers, it’s no wonder why many are turning to other viable alternatives.
Furthermore, online tutoring is more convenient. Many parents are turning to online tutoring because it gives them greater flexibility where time management and logistics are concerned. Needing to coordinate around students’ or their families’ schedules may become a thing of the past, as they can get the help they need on-demand. For tutors who may have previously struggled with their clientele, getting online will allow them to cast a much wider net, hitting students all over the world. The online tutoring platforms like Studypool, Skooli, TutorMe, etc. are rapidly growing in the US and abroad with forms of tutoring more suited for a digitally native customer. Studypool, for example, specializes in a form of tutoring they call micro-tutoring. This is the most efficient form of online tutoring whereby students ask very specific questions for tutors, and in turn, tutors earn money for the specific answers they provide. This system makes it possible for tutors to juggle questions from hundreds of students at a time, which would be impossible in a traditional tutoring setting.
Finally, there is a very low barrier-to-entry for online tutoring. Unlike the lucrative IT developer jobs, tutoring doesn’t require much schooling or work experience. To become an online tutor, all one really needs is some solid knowledge on a particular area of expertise. For example: students of science may choose to provide tuition for chemistry; those with computing experience can offer programming help; and help with foreign languages can be a thing too! Therefore, having a high school or college education, being most people, should be good enough to allow one to provide tutelage.
It’s no wonder online tutoring sites are seeing hundreds of tutor applications a day. “Once word got out that online tutors can make hundreds of dollars in a week, our application numbers went through the roof,” says Troy Berkery, a manager at Studypool.
Given the global private tutoring market is worth over $102 Billion, there’s certainly no shortage of demand and it’s only a matter of time that the majority of tutoring happens online and the industry as a whole becomes synonymous with remote work.