Private teachers/tutors teach a specific skill or subject to individuals or small groups of children or adults.
Private teachers/tutors who work for a company usually earn
$28-$39 per hour
Qualified self-employed private teachers/tutors usually earn
$60-$80 per hour
Source: NZ Tutoring Association, 2020.
Pay for private teachers/tutors varies depending on skills, experience and location.
- University students who work as private teachers/tutors can earn around $23 an hour.
- Private teachers/tutors working for a company who have a degree and/or a teaching qualification usually earn between $28 and $39 an hour.
- Self-employed private teachers/tutors with a degree and/or a teaching qualification can earn between $60 and $80 an hour.
Source: NZ Tutoring Association, 2020.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Private teachers/tutors may do some or all of the following:
- plan lessons according to students' ability
- teach students the subject knowledge and skills they need
- assess and mark student work
- keep up to date with education curriculum changes and assessment methods
- keep up to date with technology, such as apps that enhance teaching
- prepare students for exams or assessments
- organise student performances or exhibitions
- keep records and write reports on students
- meet with parents, whānau/family or caregivers to discuss students' progress.
Skills and knowledge
Private teachers/tutors need to have:
- teaching skills, and some knowledge of different teaching methods and learning styles
- knowledge of the subject they teach
- knowledge of the New Zealand curriculum if teaching subjects such as maths to school students
- curriculum assessment and planning skills
- skill in evaluating students' progress.
- often work part-time in the afternoons, evenings and weekends
- work in a variety of places, including schools, commercial premises, community centres and their own or students' homes
- may travel locally, to teach individual or small group lessons.
What's the job really like?
Inspiring creativity and new ways of learning
Encouraging her students to create original music is the highlight of Shan Jordan’s work as a private music teacher.
“I get students to make catchy tunes from five notes, which gets them thinking creatively and builds their confidence,” says Shan.
“There’s always scales to teach for exams, but teaching’s about finding novel ways to keep learning fresh and discovering what works for each student.
“That could mean using humour or technology to add variety to lessons − apps for note reading, theory and music games.”
Getting experience before going solo
“I’ve always been interested in music and people,” says Shan, who after completing her music degree taught music in primary schools.
“I started off working for another teacher for several years before branching out on my own.
“I’d be playing in my band at gigs, and at songwriter nights, and people would come up and ask if I also taught music.”
More time for other interests
Shan enjoys variety, "so I also take group songwriting sessions at a local high school and direct their choir.
“Working for yourself gives you a more balanced life too. I get spare time for gardening and to follow my musical interests.
“One of my goals is to make learning more exciting for younger students by writing piano books with my own original songs.”
There are no specific requirements to become a private teacher/tutor. However, many employers prefer to hire private teachers/tutors who have or are studying towards a degree in their subject area, or who have a teaching qualification or proof of completed specialist examinations.
- TeachNZ website - information on teaching, teacher training and scholarships
- Institute of Registered Music Teachers of NZ website - information about training courses and registration
The Vulnerable Children Act 2014 means that if you have certain serious convictions, you can’t be employed in a role where you are responsible for, or work alone with, children.
NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include English, languages, maths, music and visual arts.
Private teachers/tutors need:
- good communication skills and the ability to relate well to students from a range of backgrounds
- good organisational and time management skills
- to be understanding, patient and tolerant
- to be supportive and positive
- to be enthusiastic and open-minded
- to be good at networking with other teachers.
You need to be available to talk to parents about their child’s progress, and be adaptable – I now offer lessons online over Zoom, which gives me and my students more flexibility.
Useful experience for private teachers/tutors includes:
- teaching or coaching adults or school students
- work with children, such as youth leader work.
Useful experience for private teachers/tutors in the arts also includes:
- playing, performing and composing – for music tutors
- working in theatre, film and radio – for drama tutors
- working as an artist – for art tutors
- performing on stage – for dance tutors.
Find out more about training
- Institute of Registered Music Teachers of NZ (IRMTNZ)
- (04) 479 2722 - www.irmt.org.nz
- 0800 165 225 - TeachNZ.email@example.com - www.teachnz.govt.nz/
What are the chances of getting a job?
Good opportunities for private teachers/tutors who teach academic subjects
The private teaching industry has grown, especially in the area of after-school tuition.
Vacancies arise fairly frequently for private teachers/tutors who teach academic subjects such as maths and English, because:
- more parents are paying for private teachers/tutors to help their children with these subjects
- private teachers/tutors often combine this work with university study, and move into other jobs once they get their degree.
If you have good subject knowledge and teaching or tutoring experience, and can communicate well with children, you have a good chance of getting a job.
Fewer opportunities for private teachers/tutors who teach the arts
Private teachers/tutors who teach the arts make up about three-quarters of the workforce. Although there are opportunities for teaching art, music, dance and drama, many people combine this work with another source of income.
Opportunities for qualified music teachers, especially those teaching piano, are better.
Private teachers/tutors who teach the arts can increase their chances of getting students by:
- specialising in a particular area of their subject
- marketing themselves well, which may include being involved in community events.
According to the Census, 5,169 private teachers/tutors worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Types of employers varied
Private teachers/tutors can be:
- employed by tutoring franchises or private tutoring businesses
- self-employed itinerant teachers, such as part-time music tutors who teach a particular instrument to small groups or individuals
- self-employed tutors working from home or private studios.
- Stats NZ, ‘2018 Census Data', 2019.
- Wesseling, R, public officer, New Zealand Tutoring Association, careers.govt.nz interview, October 2020.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Private teachers/tutors may progress to a management position, or run their own business.
Private teachers/tutors may specialise in a particular subject including:
- the arts, such as art, dance, drama or music
- academic subjects, such as maths or English
- a language, such as te reo Māori or French.
Last updated 16 May 2023