Salary of an ESL Tutor


English as a second language (ESL) tutors charge and are paid a wide range of salaries. Depending on where they work and their employers, their salaries can vary significantly. The more education and experience a tutor has, the more she is likely to earn. ESL tutors work for various types of employers, including online ESL tutoring companies, themselves, private clients, adult education centers and school districts.

Teacher vs. Tutor

ESL teachers typically work a full-time or regular part-time schedule for a school with an ESL program. They often work in brick and mortar schools around the world. Part of their job is to prepare lesson plans. Tutors, on the other hand, may not have to prepare their lesson plans, but instead work from a teacher’s pre-made plan. They typically work part-time and may have more erratic schedules than ESL teachers. Their incomes may also be less stable as many ESL tutors find their own work. They might work for online companies that may or may not have regularly scheduled classes, as well.


Many ESL tutor employers pay by the hour. For example, an online tutor can expect to make in the range of $8 to $20 per hour. The more responsibility a tutor has to create lessons and grade work, the more money she can expect to earn. Likewise, with more education and experience, a tutor can earn more. A look at the website ESL Teachers’ Board under the “Find a Private Tutor” tab reveals the going rates of both online and in-person ESL tutors for locations around the world.


Anyone who is a native speaker of English or fluent in it can be an ESL tutor. However, having a Teaching English as a Foreign or Other Language certificate will help a tutor earn more money. A Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) from the University of Cambridge ESOL examinations is one of the most respected certifications for ESL tutors around the world.


An ESL tutor can typically charge about the same, or perhaps a little less, per hour than an actual ESL teacher earns. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, as of May 2010, the average hourly wage of an ESL teacher in the United States was $24.56. The 10th percentile earned up to $13.02 per hour, and the 25th percentile earned up to $17.04 per hour. The median hourly wage was $22.37, and the 75th percentile earned up to $30.47 per hour. The 90th percentile made at least $40.18 per hour. Consider charging for travel time and gas if you travel to a client located more than 10 or 15 minutes away, if you are self-employed.

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