Guide to hiring freelance educators

Elena Prokopets
Written by Elena Prokopets
on July 13, 2023 10 minute read

Education systems are based on centuries-old traditions. But the new wave of EdTech startups has put a new spin on how we approach learning. On-demand tutoring classes, self-paced e-courses, digital quizzes, augmented reality training experiences — there’s no shortage of tech-led innovation in the education industry. 

Still, talented educators stand behind all of the novel learning experiences and successful student outcomes. Many of them also choose to work outside of the classrooms, on a freelance basis. 

This guide explains how to find, hire, and onboard high-caliber freelance educators for your company to power its growth. 

Full-time employees vs freelance tutors vs staffing agencies: Which option to select?

Many educators have a tenured academic career. Others dab into teaching part-time as a way to “give back” their knowledge. Many also choose to freelance full-time as this gives them more control over their schedule and income. This leaves you with plenty of hiring strategies. Each one has its set of pros and cons. 

Pros of hiring full-time tutors 

Full-time educators make up the core of your operations. Apart from teaching the students, they also cover a lot of important “back office” work — from curriculum development and test preparation to grading, coaching, and mentoring. 

  • Consistent quality of work: Full-time tutors understand your teachers’ standards, preferred methodologies, and commitment to specific student outcomes.  Also, they provide reliable support to students, building a long-term rapport with them.
  • Easier shift scheduling. Having educators on the payroll means that you know how many classes (and students) you can accommodate at any time. Plus, map out the class schedule for months ahead, which makes things operationally easier for you. 
  • Personalized learning: Full-time staff is better suited for providing “after-hours” support to students — mentorship sessions, office hours, guidance, etc. With such personalized attention and continuous feedback, students progress quicker in their journey and are more satisfied with your services. 

Cons of hiring full-time tutors 

Having talented educators and professional trainers among your bench of staff is great. But educators are in short supply. Globally, over 69 million teachers are needed to reach universal basic education by 2030. Few experienced educators are available for immediate hiring. 

  • Cost: Hiring full-time tutors can be more expensive than using part-time or contract labor. Overhead costs can be too steep if your company is still in its early stages and doesn't have many students.
  • Competition for talent: A lot of educators are happily employed in the public sector. Few EdTech startups or training agencies can offer the same levels of job security and benefits. Likewise, many experienced pros only teach on the side, meaning they’re unlikely to accept a full-time job offer in the first place. 
  • Lack of diversity: With full-time tutors, you’re confined to selecting people from a local background. So there may be less opportunity to bring in a variety of voices and perspectives to the classroom, which could limit the learning experience for students (whose unique needs your staff may not understand). 

Pros of hiring freelance educators 

The freelance economy has no shortage of diverse talent, educators included. Over 53% of school teachers in the US take on side work. At the same time, many workforce development coaches, offering professional educational services, choose to operate independently. 

  • Flexibility: You can meet fluctuating demand for classes or training by getting more freelance tutors on board without getting cash-flow strapped during the slower months. 
  • Availability: Freelance tutors are generally more available on short notice, meaning you can expand some classes when the demand ramps up. You also don’t have to wait till the end of a semester for a new tutor to join your bench of staff. 
  • Extra competence: Pluck specific skill sets you need on an occasional basis to help your full-time team members power through the work pipeline. Launch creative courses none of your competitors is offering (a master class in NFT trading, perhaps?). 

Cons of hiring freelance educators 

Though hiring cycles are shorter with freelancers, you still need to factor in the time (and cost) of candidate research and background verification. Plus, all the efforts that go towards onboarding, managing, and retention freelance educators

  • Qualification checks. You need to ensure that each tutor has the right competencies (and sometimes certifications and licenses) to deliver a great level of service.
  • Limited availability. Freelance educators work with multiple companies and individuals at a time, meaning they have a limited number of hours (if any) to offer extra support to students. 
  • High turnover. Online tutors eventually amassed a student waitlist. Once they are at full capacity, many choose to offer their services directly, instead of relying on the platform as an intermediary. 

Pros of contracting with a staffing agency  

Staffing agencies trim the time you spend researching prospective hires. You get an a-la-carte selection of candidates, ready to join your organization immediately. 

  • Access to a larger talent pool. The biggest boon is the agency’s “black book” of   qualified educators, across subjects, experience levels, and locations. Finding the right fit for your company will take less time. 
  • Faster staffing. Compared to in-house hiring, you can get a roster of resumes real quick without doing your own outreach or extensive background checks. That’s factored into the agency pricing. 
  • Scalability: You can easily get more teachers on board when matters get busy (e.g., during exam times or college applications season). Oftentimes, you can choose to hire temporary workers part-time or full-time, which also helps balance the costs. 

Cons of contracting with a staffing agency  

Although all staffing agencies promise to supply you with great teaching talent, sometimes that doesn’t happen. You may end up getting candidates that don’t quite match your expectations and fail to connect with the mission of your company.  

  • Coordination and onboarding: Coordinating multiple temp hires and getting them up-to-speed on your teaching practices, methodologies, and styles can be pretty hectic. 
  • Low engagement. Temporary teachers realize they are in it only on the interim basis and therefore may not do their best work or care as much about student outcomes as your freelance or full-time staff. 
  • Costs. Staffing agencies charge a premium on top of the candidate’s salary, plus some other “add-on” costs. These can run steep when you hire multiple people at a time or prefer to have longer contracts with select educators. 

Freelance educators your business needs

Online tutors, professional trainers, growth mentors, workshop hosts, as well as people working on educational content creation — there are many roles freelancers can take on within an educational company: 

  • Online language tutors help others master a foreign language. Conversational classes, accent coaching, language exam prep — language tutors help students meet their proficiency goals faster during individual or group lessons.
  • Educational material developer is the “mastermind” behind all the learning materials your company supplies. They produce a wide range of text, audio, video, and digital materials to provide students with an effective and engaging learning experience. 
  • Online course creators specialize in developing online learning programs — be it one-time workshops or semester-long online educational programs. Most have prolific experiences in creating video content and gamified eLearning experiences for app-based products or MOOC platforms. 
  • Test scorers are responsible for evaluating and scoring standardized tests or student assessments. They follow established scoring rubrics and guidelines to ensure consistent and fair grading. 
  • Educational consultants can take on various roles — from advising on curriculum design to offering hands-on support with mentoring junior educators. They help fill the knowledge lacunas you have in people, processes, or educational technologies. 
  • Professional coaches and mentors specialize in workforce development programs. They offer pro-level support to people looking to up-skill/reskill or acquire extra knowledge for professional development. 

Where to hire the best freelance educators?

Educational professionals can be hard to find, as many are happily employed full-time. With freelancers, you can cast a wider hiring net and take-on people from around the world. Or partner up with people who’re only freelancing on the side

Xolo makes hiring freelance educators a delight, by ensuring that each project you have receives the perfect talent. Contacting the Xolo crew and informing them of your project goals and needs, means you’re just a few business days (or less) from hiring amazing freelancers. .

We’ll review three useful alternatives to Xolo today, and give you a chance to decide which fit works best for you. Let’s dive into some popular online platforms, niche job boards and explore direct messaging too. 

Freelance marketplaces 

Online freelance marketplaces now count in dozens, with each having a sizable selection of freelance educators. Although not an apparent one. Many current and former educators often advertise themselves using other keywords like “freelance education writer”, “interpreter/translator”, or “coach”. Therefore, you’ll need to do some scouting first to discover truly qualified candidates. 

You can find freelance tutors at the following platforms: 

Job boards

Remote job boards are a somewhat more “passive” option for sourcing candidates. The advantage, here, however, is that your job post will land in front of your ideal targets — trained educators of different types — rather than just all sorts of candidates. 

Here are several popular job boards, where you can publish your “I’m hiring” call: 

Direct outreach

Your best way to secure a qualified hire is to outreach directly. LinkedIn, social media, and some Google research can quickly surface some names of people with glowing teaching credentials and excellent testimonials. Inquire if they’re looking for an extra gig (most do!) and explain what type of collaboration you’re offering — the gist of the role, expected commitment, approx. pay range, etc. 

Don’t just throw a link to your job description within the first message. Few people will bother to apply. Instead, make a more casual company introduction: Advertise the benefits of working with you, and talk briefly about your mission and values. Pique their interest to draw them into researching your business.

Such genuine conversations are the touchstone of successful professional relationships. Even if this freelancer passes on the opportunity, they might help indirectly: Refer you towards better-suited candidates in their network, share your job ad within their community (it’s no secret that freelancers have a digital “support network”), or get back to you one day with an offer to collaborate. 

Next, you can go one level deeper and dive into all sorts of teaching communities. If you’re looking for language tutors, browse ESL teaching groups, where your prospects hang out. 

Or browse professional organizations, which provide certificates to professional coaches and tutors. Many keep a public list of members like IACC or UCL does. Or can share some referrals privately.

Finally, if your candidate pipeline still looks empty-ish, change your search criteria. The freelance workforce is not only diverse in geography but also in terms of background. When Lido Learning had struggled to hire enough tutors to meet the demand for their services, they successfully engaged senior and retired educators, who made a great addition to their platform.  So keep your options open! 

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How much do you pay freelance educators? Rates by location & expertise 

Because education is such a diverse field — tutoring, academia, professional development — the rates freelancers charge vary a lot. 

Therefore, your best option is to use market ballparks to determine the median pay rates. Then negotiate directly with various professionals. A beginner ESL teacher will usually settle for a lower hourly rate than a tenured English Literature professor. Likewise, school-level teachers typically charge less than coaches, specializing in professional training. Exercise discretion and consider various compensation models. 

With that said, let’s look at how much freelance educators bill across geographies and professions. 

US Freelance Tutors Rates 

According to TutorCruncher data, tutoring rates vary a lot by state and by subject, but the average hourly rate sits at $45/hour. Private Math teachers request $30 to $60 per hour, while Chemistry tutors command $75 on average, and Physics educators — $40/hour. 

UK Freelance Educators Rates 

A public database, curated by The National Union of Journalists, suggests the following rates for freelance educators:

  • £35-£55/hour for classroom engagement 
  • £330 per day for teaching at private colleges or doing private courses 
  • £650 per day for engagement in prestigious private colleges 


If you’re looking to hire music teachers in the UK, the local union recommends paying the following rates:  £38.50 per hour for private/small-group lessons and £222 per day for any workshop (up to 5 hours). 

Rates for Executive/Business Coaches

Business coaches can bill anywhere between $85-$170 per hour, on average. The pricing will depend on the level of experience of the coach, as well as their niche. Statistically, executive coaches request $325/hour, whereas life coaches can settle for $160/hour.

Some professionals also choose to go with per-engagement or day rates, which include all the work (and preliminary prep) they deliver during the booked day. Well-established educational consultants can go for up to $3,500 per day.  

Instructional designer rates

Instructional design can include all sorts of tasks – from curriculum development to quiz creation. Some professionals charge per deliverable. Others choose to go with hourly rates. 

Dr. Ray Pastore, a tenured professor, specializing in instructional system design, recommends paying the following hourly rates to professionals in this field: 

  • Business strategy, proposals, needs analysis tasks: $100-$250 an hour
  • Simple design tasks (articulate, captivate, PPT): $60-$100 an hour
  • Advanced Design (video course or games): $75-$150 an hour
  • Any type of development work that includes programming: $60-$125 an hour


Again, the freelance instructional designer rates will vary a lot based on the project scope (as they should!) and reflect the complexity of the task. 

ESL Teachers 

The demand for English language teachers never subsists. But if you’re hiring remotely, you’re often competing for the best talent with in-person teaching abroad programs (which offer the benefit of travel!). 

You can use the average program pay rate to work out a competitive compensation scheme for freelancers. For example, assistant English teachers in France usually earn €15-€35/hour for private lessons. In China, private language tutors bill $22 per hour for conversational classes. In Japan, hourly tutoring rates hover around $28 per hour.

How to pay freelance educators 

Freelance educators bill by the hour or by the project. Some may also request a retainer pre-payment or a partial deposit of their day/project rate. 

In each case, you should discuss the billing model upfront and think about how you’ll accommodate it. Discuss whether you’d want the freelancer to submit weekly timesheets, receive milestone-based payments, or get invoiced by a specific date.

Also, don’t forget to ask about the freelancer’s NET payment terms. Most operate on shorter ones than the industry standard NET 30, so you’ll have to factor this in as well when creating your pay run cycle. 

Xolo Teams can help you keep all payment-related things neat. With our freelancer management platform, you can pay independent contractors in 186 countries without worrying about hidden wire transfer fees or currency conversion issues. All you have to do is connect your bank account and we’ll handle the payment distribution. 

Must-know tips for working with freelance tutors 

For many freelancers, teaching is a passion, not just a profession. They genuinely enjoy sharing their knowledge and empowering others. As a manager, your goal is to maintain and cultivate their “drive”. Because an enthusiastic educator is one of the best investments you can make in student satisfaction and retention. 

Below are several quick tips to further help you improve your hiring and onboarding process for freelance educators. 

  • Invest in employer branding. The best way to have a steady lead of qualified freelance educators is by creating an onsite tutor application page. Talk about the benefits they’d get by signing up with you, average pay rates, and expected workload. Take inspiration from Lingoda — they’re really selling the idea of tutoring with them. 
  • Make yourself available. Education is a collaborative industry. Few things get done by one great mind. To receive the best freelance services, you must play your part too — provide timely access to requested materials, jump onto brainstorming sessions, and connect the freelancer with other people on your team. Don’t force them to work in complete isolation since it would negatively affect the quality of their work (and their motivation for it!). 
  • Experiment with different compensation schemes. Apart from hourly or fixed-price per class/session rates, you can also offer extra financial incentives e.g. bonuses for high class attendance or student retention. For instance, Masterclass gives the speakers a fair share of control over the creative direction, plus has profit-sharing agreements for each class (on top of a one-time payout). Think if you can offer similar incentives (higher rates, lower service fees, bonus payouts) to your most dedicated tutors. 


Finally, never allow inefficient admin processes to taint your relationships with freelance educators. Quickly and compliantly onboard new people without dragging the process over five separate email threads and three weeks. Pay fair rates, on time, every time. Xolo Teams is here to help you with that! 

Conclusion on key steps to hiring freelance educators for your business

  1. Budget for your hiring needs: full-time or gig-based freelance educators.
  2. Identify the role you require: online tutor, educational material developer, etc.
  3. Discover and hire an amazing freelance educator! Let Xolo help
  4. Calculate the average rate for your educator based on location and experience.
  5. Agree on payment terms, such as project-based work, hourly rates, etc.
  6. Pay your freelancer easily and on-time. Let Xolo help
  7. Develop strong communication and collaboration practices.

Hire and manage quality freelance educators with Xolo 

Xolo is changing the way you think about hiring freelancers — less hassle, less time and better results. Send your next project to Xolo, and let a dedicated industry expert curate three freelancers perfect for your exact mission to you in under three business days, leaving you with an easy decision.

And if you’re looking to build a team, Xolo has you covered from discovery to payday.

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About Elena

Elena Prokopets writes content for tech-led companies & software development businesses, marketing to them. Her empathy for the customer, expertise in SEO, and knack for storytelling help create content that ranks well and drives industry conversations.

Elena uses Xolo so she can focus on her solo B2B content writing business without stressing over the compliance and admin overhead.


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