How much to charge for tutoring?
March 19, 2007 1:20 PM   Subscribe

What is the going rate for one-on-one tutoring in chemistry?

I've been in discussion with a family who is interested in hiring me as a tutor for general chemistry (college), and they say they'll pay whatever, but I don't know what to charge.

A friend tells me that when she tutored in NYC, several years ago, she and other teachers charged from $80-125. Private tutoring from Princeton Review: $150. On the other hand, tutoring in Berkeley runs about $50/hr. I'm also seeing search results starting as low as $25/hour.

More info that is probably relevant: I have a PhD in the subject and this whole shebang is taking place in suburban Westchester county. I have taught classes, review sessions, and labs, but I haven't "tutored" since undergrad.

What have you charged/paid for tutoring? What should I ask for?
posted by janell to Work & Money (10 answers total)
I'm a High School student, so this is probably extremely unhelpful.

Tutoring fellow or younger students in French use to get me 10$ an hour. (I also get paid 10$ an hour for an informal, weekly TA gig) I know of people who are paying, or getting paid 15$.

My friend is attending CEGEP (Semi-University system in Quebec), and gets paid 20$ to tutor elementary school kids.

If you go by the increase 5-10$ per every additional degree you have, that lands you somewhere around the 50-60$ range, which sounds reasonable (albeit potentially stressful for a family trying to pay off college fees at the same time).

I'd pull it at 40-50...
posted by Phire at 1:43 PM on March 19, 2007

I don't know if there's a difference depending on your educational background, but as undergraduate students (in various subjects), friends of mine get paid in the range of $15 - $25 per hour (CAD).
posted by gursky at 1:46 PM on March 19, 2007

I typically price myself at $25/hour (less if the family in question is poor - but never so low that they don't value my time enough that effort isn't put forth by the student). I drive to the locale. I have a BS in one of the hard sciences and have tutored for over a decade. I apparently charge a great deal less than my competitors, who insist that the students visit them. Not to toot my own horn, but I often receive a lot of tearful thanks from parents and/or students who swear that their child would not have made it through high school, etc., without me, so I'm probably charging too little. To be fair to the client, there's nothing additional your PhD in chemistry can bring to the table for a high school chemistry student, and probably not for the college student, either, unless they're going for organic chemistry, so I wouldn't factor that in. If you're driving there, I suggest $35/hour.
posted by adipocere at 2:30 PM on March 19, 2007

Westchester County is pretty swank - a lot of CEOs and executives live there. And you are have a PhD in the subject and are being requested to tutor a college level course... I'd say you can charge the NYC rate that your friend quoted you.

And that should be the cost per child.
posted by spec80 at 3:10 PM on March 19, 2007

I think spec80 is right.
posted by danb at 3:24 PM on March 19, 2007

I'm a high school teacher who tutors regularly in NJ, and I charge $50/hr. Most of my friends who tutor also charge at least that much, some as much as $65/hr. I don't have a PhD, and the area where I tutor is not as affluent as Westchester County. So, I would guess you could easily use the NYC rates as your guideline and still have a competitive (yet fair) rate.
posted by katie at 4:52 PM on March 19, 2007

People who say they're "willing to pay whatever" usually mean it. They frequently also tend to believe that cost closely correlates with quality. Charge top dollar. They've already told you that's you're worth to them, and will respect you for charging a fee that communicates that you share their confidence in your ability. So quote your fee as $150, and feel good about it.

But if you're really uncertain about quoting that much, you can always go into it with a backup plan for bringing your 'full' rate down to a level that feels more comfortable to you. e.g. "I offer an generous N% discount for prepayment" or "Because you're such good friends of Joe Schmo, I'd like to offer the first X hours of tutoring at my special 'friends and family' rate of $N"

(Likewise, consider what you want to do if they don't blink an eyelash at $150. Maybe your back plan is "...of course, travel expenses and per diem were not included in that figure...")
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 6:29 PM on March 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Undergrad friend of mine in Queens worked through an agency and got something in the $30/hr range IIRC.

You're not an undergrad, you're not giving a cut to an agency, and you're in the burbs. So I'd say $50-60 at least.
posted by goingonit at 6:42 PM on March 19, 2007

Charge *high* per hour, and then round down the number of hours. I.E., bill a 2.5 hour session as "2 hours".

You get paid acceptably, and the family feels like you're not nickel-and-diming them, because you round in their favor.

(Except do factor in travel time.)
posted by jellicle at 6:59 PM on March 19, 2007

Earlier this year I hired a recent UCLA Chem grad with an MA to tutor my son, a HS Junior, in Los Angeles at $50/hr. Generally private tutors we have used are between 40-60/hr.
posted by Carsey at 11:51 PM on March 19, 2007

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