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How do I Become a Physics Tutor?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 27 December 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Physics tutors help high school and college students improve their understanding of the history, theory, mathematics, and practical applications of physics. Depending on the job setting, a tutor may offer test preparation services for many different clients or focus on providing semester- or year-long help for a small number of students. The requirements to become a physics tutor vary greatly depending on where a professional wants to work. High school and university tutoring centers will often hire graduate-level students who excel in their own physics coursework. A person who wants to become a physics tutor full-time in a private company or independent contracting position may need to obtain special credentials.

Besides having a strong grasp on physics principles, a person who wants to become a physics tutor needs to possess strong communication skills. Knowing how atomic forces influence motion is one thing, but being able to explain them in an easy-to-understand matter is another. A prospective tutor must be willing to listen to others, recognize the technical points that cause them problems, and develop a strategy for making sense of difficult concepts. The best physics tutors are able to relate abstract problems to real-world scenarios and represent complicated math equations in accessible words and pictures.

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Many new tutors offer volunteer services in order to gain experience working with students and perfecting their communication skills. A university student who wants to become a physics tutor can inquire at his or her school's tutoring center to find out about volunteer opportunities. He or she may get to work with undergraduates on campus or travel to local high schools, providing general tutoring and test preparation services. Highly successful tutors may be rewarded with tuition reimbursement or an hourly wage in time.

A person who wants to become a physics tutor at a private company typically needs to hold at least a bachelor's degree in the subject. Teaching credentials, which typically require additional education and success on licensing tests, are required by many employers. An individual can find out about specific requirements by contacting representatives at local tutoring companies. Applicants may need to pass additional tests or prove their skills in a probationary period before they are awarded jobs.

Tutors who gain extensive experience and have a long list of happy references may be able to open their own businesses, offering private sessions on a contract basis. Opportunities may be scarce at certain times of the year or in rural areas, so a tutor might decide to make it a part-time endeavor or expand services to cover other science and math topics. In addition, many tutors offer online help to students worldwide, communicating through e-mail and instant messaging programs.

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