Many tutoring centers and tutoring organizations offer some training for their tutors, if only to ensure a good experience for clients. But what about private tutors and coaches? Many private tutors have “learned by doing,” perhaps supplementing their experience by reading books and articles on tutoring. Many no doubt have also been fortunate enough to get some mentoring from more experienced colleagues.

In addition to these traditional, ad hoc approaches, new online training methods have evolved that enable private tutors to learn new skills anytime, anywhere they can access the Internet.

While new technologies support a range of delivery styles and modes of interaction with teachers/evaluators, many online tutor training programs remain basic in structure and are available at low or no cost. This is especially helpful to the growing army of peer tutors and volunteer tutors worldwide.

Is online tutor training or an online tutor certification program right for you? According to professional development organizations like the National Tutoring Association (in the US) and the International Tutoring Association: yes – whether you’re experienced or just getting started.

Here are four reasons why you might consider taking an online tutor training course:

Reason One: It’s part of being a professional.

Training is an integral part of professional development in many fields. Therefore, as a professional, every active tutor should stay current with the latest tutoring methods and approaches. Tutors can also readily familiarize themselves online with basic techniques that help lay the foundation for effective tutoring, like “active listening” and the Socratic method. By educating yourself on best practices you elevate your own professional standard and support the tutoring industry as a whole at the same time.

Reason Two: You want to differentiate yourself from your competition.

A certification or similar credential can help with marketing your business, and with selling yourself and your services to prospective clients. Certifications add credibility and underscore a tutor’s professional reputation. Credentials also validate your skills, and help form a good “first impression” that can make all the difference, both in getting new clients and in establishing a rapport with your learners.

Reason Three: You want to improve your confidence and skill level.

Effective training and skill-building produces a more confident and effective tutor. And a more effective tutor improves student outcomes and garners approval from parents! Certification can also motivate a tutor to improve his or her business and be more successful.

But perhaps most importantly, training and certification helps prevent problems that can occur in tutoring situations, like helping too much or inadvertently enabling plagarism.

Where can you get online tutor training? Here are a few examples of programs around the world:

  • Crossroads of Learning offers “Tutoring Foundations,” a comprehensive online tutor training program developed in collaboration with the National Tutoring Association and Fielding Graduate University. The program is convenient and practical for tutors at all experience levels in the US and elsewhere. The course has three modules, each of which currently costs US$159 and encompasses 15-20 learner hours. A “comprehensive program” with all three modules is US$349.
  • The International Tutoring Association, an affiliate of that calls itself “North America’s premiere international professional tutoring association…” offers a certification program for its members. The affordable and self-paced program is free, notwithstanding a US$30 annual membership fee.
  • American River College has developed an “online tutor training project” that other colleges and learning centers have adapted for their own use.   and are two institutions that have adapted this course and made it accessible for tutors to read through on their own at no cost. This doesn’t lead to a credential, but it sure looks like great guidance.

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