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Private Teacher/​Tutor

Kaiako Whaiaro

Private teachers/tutors teach a specific skill or subject to individuals or small groups of children or adults.


Company private teachers/tutors usually earn

$25-$35 per hour

Qualified self-employed private teachers/tutors usually earn

$60-$80 per hour

Source: NumberWorks'nWords, 2016

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a private teacher/tutor are average for those teaching arts subjects, but good for those teaching maths and English.


Pay for private teachers/tutors varies depending on qualifications and experience:

  • University students who work as private teachers/tutors can earn up to $20 an hour.
  • Private teachers/tutors with a relevant degree and/or a teaching qualification working for a company can earn between $25 and $35 an hour.
  • Private teachers/tutors with a relevant degree and/or a teaching qualification who are self-employed can earn between $60 and $80 an hour, depending on the location.

Sources: NumberWorks'nWords and Goodtime Music Academy, 2016.

(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 their 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
  • prepare students for exams or assessments
  • organise student performances or exhibitions of their work
  • keep records and write reports on students
  • meet with parents, whānau/family or caregivers to discuss students' progress
  • keep accounts and collect payments.

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.

Working conditions

Private teachers/tutors:

  • often work part-time hours in the afternoons, evenings and weekends as most of their students are at school or work during the day
  • 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 privately in a number of schools or premises.

What's the job really like?

Shan Jordan

Shan Jordan

Private Teacher/Tutor

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.”

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a private teacher/tutor.

However, a degree in the subject area they are teaching is usually required and most private teachers/tutors have one of the following:

  • a primary or secondary teacher qualification
  • a degree in the subject they teach (they may study towards their degree while working)
  • proof of completed specialist examinations, such as those from a music examinations board.

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. 

Secondary education

NCEA Level 3 is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include English, languages, maths, music and visual arts.

Personal requirements

Private teachers/tutors need:

  • good communication skills and the ability to relate well to students and adults 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.

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.

Photo: Shan Jordan

Shan Jordan

Private Teacher/Tutor

Useful experience

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 - irmt@paradise.net.nz - www.irmt.org.nz
0800 165 225 - TeachNZ.admin@minedu.govt.nz - www.teachnz.govt.nz/
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

The private teaching industry has grown, especially in the area of after-school tuition.

Good opportunities for private teachers/tutors who teach academic subjects

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 private tuition with university study, and will move into other jobs once they get their degree.

If you have good subject knowledge, teaching or tutoring experience, and skills to communicate well with children, you have a good chance of getting a job.

Fewer opportunities for private teachers/tutors who teach arts subjects

Private teachers/tutors who teach arts subjects make up about three quarters of the private teacher/tutor workforce. Although there are opportunities for teaching jobs in 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. However, it can be competitive and you can increase your chances by being passionate about teaching and marketing yourself well.

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 a private tutoring business
  • self-employed itinerant teachers, such as part-time music tutors, who teach a particular instrument to small groups or individuals at a school
  • self-employed tutors working from home or private studios, such as a dance studio.


  • Simons, S, chief executive officer, NumberWorks’nWords, Careers New Zealand interview, December 2016.
  • Stats NZ, ‘2018 Census Data', 2019.
  • Wesseling, R, public officer, New Zealand Tutoring Association, Careers New Zealand interview, December 2016.

(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:

  • arts subjects, such as art, dance, drama or music
  • academic subjects, such as maths or English
  • a language, such as te reo Māori or French.
Susan Case and a student holding a violin look at a piece of music on a music stand

Private teachers/tutors teach a specific skill or subject to a person or a group

Last updated 14 October 2020