Many of the factors affecting what a tutor can charge for tuition are related to their own qualifications and experience, yet, there are other factors that can influence this.
Location has always played a major factor in how companies and various industries dictate how their workforce should be paid.
Although there are multiple factors that can influence an individual's take-home-pay, locational considerations are often overlooked.
Here's why they shouldn't be:
Living/working in a more expensive city or general location
As expected, this is a contributing factor to how tutors and other private freelancers set their rates.
According to Investopedia, the top ten most expensive cities in the country far surpass the average living wages of other cities, towns, and areas within the United States. These are:
- New York City
- San Francisco, Californica
- Honolulu, Hawai
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Washington, D.C.
- Oakland, California
- San Jose, California
- San Diego, California
- Los Angeles, California
- Miami, Florida
The infamous New York City, famed for its bustling skyline and iconic buildings, tops the list of most expensive U.S. cities.
On average, the cost of living in the area of Manhattan is said to be a whopping 154% higher than the national average.
Furthermore, the median cost of homes in the five boroughs is recorded at $652,700, compared with a national median of $245,000: almost 3x the average of people across the states - rather significant indeed.
Those that are relocating to such areas for work will find use in discovering how much it costs to live in the city, and with annual expenditure set to increase , the prices they set as a private tutor should certainly be reviewed.
What happens if you're working as a self-employed tutor in a remote area?
Across the States, there are particular areas in which the demographic is more sparsely set out, making it a less desirable place (for some) to live and work.
Due to this, such industries, schools, and private working opportunities can be hard to fill. To incentivize individuals to move there, the average hourly rate for an individual's services may well be higher than the country's national average.
Now, let's take a look at the standard wages across the country whilst identifying further factors that can contribute to an increase (and decrease) in an educational tutor's wage.
Establishing the Averages: Salaries Across the United States
According to data from the US Census (last conducted in the year 2015), The median household income in the United States was $56,516.
As well as location (as discussed earlier), there are other contributing factors including:
- Vocational experience
- Academic qualifications & additional training experiences
- Age range (although not always applicable)
- Socioeconomic status upon the area of focus.
The list could go on, but it is important to illustrate the fact that location isn't the only influence on how a tutor should set their rates.
In the first quarter of 2020, The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the median wage in the United States in the first quarter of 2020 was $957 per week or $49,764 per year, with wages surpassing the previous annual quarter by 5.7%.
Inflation plays a strong factor in how an individual should judge their earnings, and if you are self-employed, economists strongly advise individuals to review their rates at the turn of each year.
A quick search online can introduce you to a range of nifty tools that help you calculate the average weekly, monthly, and yearly wage in alignment with your profession, location, and experience.
Average Salary in Education
Naturally, a teacher's salary can fluctuate considerably depending on several factors.
According to Business Insider, the average salary for a public school teacher (nationwide) between the year 0f 2018-2019 was recorded at $61,730. Of course, this factors in all teachers from newly qualified to those in SMT (Senior Management Team), but it allows for a greater level of understanding upon expected annual pay for those looking to get into the profession.
However, returning to the focus of location and how it can affect average wage, the census suggested that cities across the United States differ substantially.
As you would expect, the highest on the list is New York City, in which the average wage was $85,889, and at the bottom came Mississippi, with an average salary of $45,574.
So, what does this say about a tutor's wage?
Quite a lot, actually.
It is known across educational institutions that a high percentage of academic tutors in the States have either a background working in education, or they are still working within an educational setting, and are using tutoring sessions as an additional source of income.
Parents, especially, feel more comfortable with tutors that have worked with children of a similar age group before, and those which tend to increase their hourly rates due to their relative experiences and qualifications.
Yet, if you are an academic tutor that has no formal experience in working within a school, collegiate or university setting, there may be no need for concern.
Usually, individuals will get into the teaching/tutoring industry because of two things:
- A passion for working with children/students
- A passion for the subject area in question
If it is the latter, you will find those individuals on average to be more academically inclined, and thus will be offering their services to adults completing an undergraduate, postgraduate or P.h.D. within an academic field.
Furthermore, the rates of teachers over the past two decades have increased incrementally, and with this in mind, tutors can follow the lead and adapt their wages accordingly.
Tutoring in San Francisco
There are various factors for tutors to bear in mind when determining how much they can reasonably charge in their area.
As mentioned earlier, San Francisco had recently been recorded as the second most expensive city in the country to live.
Although the minimum wage in the city is currently set at $12 per hour, the living (survival) wage is said to be $20.82 for an adult without children, this being recorded by LivingWage.
With over 411 salaries reported, a tutor in the city makes on average $25.67 per hour, surpassing the living wage by almost 5 dollars.
There are a wealth of well-established companies that advertise for tutors to join their platforms, and such companies use various marketing ploys to ensure that tutors are receiving a regular intake of students.
Furthermore, if you wish to go at it alone (so to speak), there are a wealth of additional platforms, including Superprof, in which tutors can advertise their services via an online platform.
Each have their benefits and it is certainly worth giving each platform a go to see how they work most effectively for you.
Tutoring in Boston, Massachusetts
Similarly to San Francisco, the average hourly rate for a tutor is at $25.37, however, this was reported via 2,800 active tutors in the area at this current time.
The average rate also fluctuates depending on which area you are in the State.
For example, if you happen to be tutoring in Cambridge, Ma, you would expect to be averaging over $5 extra per hour than those who work in the Springfield, Ma area.
This is common when it comes to 'areas' within a designated city.
Naturally, some places within the city are more expensive to live in, and therefore more affluent people reside there.
If, as a tutor, you are also living within parts of the city that are more expensive, you would have to revise your hourly wage to ensure it reflects the increase in personal expenditure, including one's rent, overall living expenses, and travel/income, etc...
Note to Consider: If you are traveling to and from a student's home, you must also factor in the commuting time and traveling costs.
If you are, per se, traveling to Cambridge to conduct your tutoring sessions, but you live on the other side of town, it could well take an hour there and back, taking time out of your working schedule, which could be used to conduct tutoring sessions with other students.
Being honest with those you tutor is imperative, and if the time and travel costs have an overriding effect on your average earnings, these must be factored in to ensure that you aren't losing out financially.
This must be established from the start so there is no animosity or confusion when future lessons are conducted.
For those that tutor as a full-time vocation, it is advised to set up a regular workspace in which your students will travel to you as opposed to vice versa.
This could be at the tutor's home, or a private workspace that is rented out within a central location so it allows more accessibility for a larger audience, therefore increasing the chance of you attracting a higher volume of students.
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