This is the third article in a series about methods of supplementing income with spare-time projects. I typically focus on the big changes people can make that result in earning significantly more money, but this series focuses on incremental income. The first article was about becoming a secret shopper and the second was about selling items on eBay.
While I worked at my previous job, at a company in the financial industry, I wanted to use my extra time to learn more about business. I’m not particularly a fan of “business” as an industry, but I figured I was involved with it, so I might as well improve my skills. I decided to do this by enrolling in the University of Phoenix Online.
I was aware of the potential downsides, primarily the stigma that is attached to online degrees, particularly within human resources. That wasn’t particularly important to me. Another downside, the relatively high cost of tuition, also had negligible relevance because my company paid for almost all tuition costs. What I liked was the flexibility and the technology. Ever since I was exposed to online education via the web in its earliest incarnations, I’ve believed in the strong potential of this type of learning. It hasn’t been perfected for a mass audience yet, but I believe it will continue to improve.
The University of Phoenix and other schools, whether focusing on courses online or not, hire teachers or facilitators to develop materials, engage students, and share their experiences. If you have a master’s degree and you are successful in your field, you could qualify to teach an online course. There is a wide variety in quality among facilitators in online education, not dissimilar to universities focused on traditional education. Good teachers are always in need, and schools would do well to nurture them.
Income potential for online teaching
Using my experience earning a Master’s Degree at the University of Phoenix Online as an example, different facilitators will spend a different amount of time working. Regardless of the hours, salaries are standard. For a six-week graduate-level course, a new facilitator will receive a stipend of $1,400. After staying with the university of ten years, that salary reaches the maximum of $1,910. Those rates are as of 2009, so they might have changed in the past few years. You do need a PhD or JD to teach graduate level courses, though.
Facilitating an online class is, for most people, not a good prospect for a full-time job, but or those who have jobs in the field in which they’d like to teach and have the extra time, it could provide between $10,000 and $20,000 a year to prop up your balances.
Those with just a master’s degree can qualify to teach undergraduate courses, but the pay would be less. If you’re really interested in teaching in some form that doesn’t conflict with the time required for a day job, consider becoming an adjunct faculty member at a local community college. You may not need to work many hours and you may receive a higher salary.
Income potential for tutoring
With the highly competitive nature of college enrollment, an increasing number of parents are willing to spend money for tutors. Anything to give a child an advantage over another seems to be worth the expense. You can take advantage of this attitude by offering private lessons in an academic area, including the arts, with which you are most gifted.
- Get to know the middle school and high school teachers in your academic field in your town and the surrounding towns. Once you do, you may ask teachers to recommend you to students in need of help or enrichment.
- Your best advertisement is having pupils with noticeable achievement. When parents and teachers see improvement, they will recommend you to others.
The amount you can charge is proportional to the difficulty of the material; you may be able to charge $20 an hour for a ninth-grade student struggling with geometry, $30 an hour for a tenth-grade student needing more experience with algebra to score higher on the SATs, or $40 an hour for an eleventh-grade student who’s ready for calculus in advance of the rest of the class. The more advanced the topic, the less there is a chance you’ll be competing with exceptional high school students, who will likely charge less per hour than you would accept for the same work.
It’s not just academic subjects. The demand is so high for test preparation tutoring that you could charge $100 per hour or more. You might do well on your own, but many parents look first at organizations that offer these tutoring services, like The Princeton Review. If you can’t find pupils on your own, you could work for an organization like this as a part-time tutor. The possibilities for income is limited only by your time and desire. It may be difficult to handle twenty hour-long tutoring sessions a week, but there always is a demand for these services.
Published or updated September 12, 2011.