Tutor and teacher – What’s the difference between them? Well, this question often confuses many students and parents. While both tutor and teacher share some of the common duties, for example, both of them help students gain knowledge and achieve academic success, there are some notable differences that separate the two. These differences are based on certain factors, such as their responsibilities, knowledge, qualifications, working hours, experience, flexibility and more. This post tries to put some light on all those differences.


While both teachers and tutors aim to inculcate academic knowledge in students, teachers typically work in a traditional classroom setting where all the students are of the same age. All the students study a common syllabus while sitting in a formal setting, which is typically a school or a college. Teachers follow predetermined guidelines to teach the class and all the students are evaluated on a particular benchmark. Teachers, typically, follow the idea of grading system to evaluate students. They give regular assignments and exams to assess students’ academic abilities.

Some of the job responsibilities of a teacher include:

  • Supervising students’ activities in the class
  • Answering questions of students and clarifying their doubts
  • Developing educational content including notes, assignments, and tests
  • Allocating assignments and homework
  • Grading tests and updating them in students’ records
  • Attending parent-teacher meeting
  • Preparing periodic progress reports and semester report cards
  • Participating in school events and activities

On the other hand, tutors may teach students in multiple settings, such as their homes, at a physical institute or online. In this case, the educational plan is customized to meet the specific academic needs of a student. For example, if a student learning science needs extra help with physics, tutors can help improve them so they can achieve better grades in school or college. Tutors give students potential support to succeed in subjects that they find tough, as in the above example. They use a comprehensive approach to teach students a wide variety of skills and strategies to strengthen their knowledge and increase their academic success.

Some of the job responsibilities of a tutor include:

  • Developing better study strategies for students
  • Helping students to improve their learning methodologies
  • Helping students improve their grades in particular subjects
  • Improving students’ ability to learn and retain complex concepts
  • Meeting with parents to discuss students’ progress
  • Assigning and evaluating assignments
  • Preparing students for an upcoming exam


Educational institutions like schools and colleges, where formal education is delivered, require teachers to have a bachelor’s degree or certification in their subject of expertise. Public school teachers are required to have a teaching license as well, apart from a bachelor’s degree. Some institutions require teachers to have a master’s degree as well. Formal educational institutions expect them to use an approved curriculum guideline to develop study plans for their students.

In order to qualify as a tutor, there are no set standards you need to achieve. However, in general, most tutors are post-secondary graduates and have expertise in a particular subject field. They are typically hired to help students better understand course material, meet challenges with a certain subject, develop effective study skills and earn a better grade. Study sessions with a tutor are not a substitute for attending class. These are just designed to help students with their overall approach to the learning process and keep pace with mainstream schooling.

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Teachers are well-versed in their subjects of expertise. They are so much knowledgeable and skilled in their field that they can prepare their own study materials and lessons in formal education settings. This means they know ins and outs of examinations and design appropriate study materials to ensure that all students pass the class.

Tutors are also masters in their subjects, but their way of teaching differs in many aspects. They give individualized attention to each student to help them understand how to apply what they have learned in the classroom. They use existing study materials to help students study and prepare for exams. Their goal is to increase students’ grades by focusing on the areas of improvement.

Working Hours

Most teachers work in public or private schools that typically follow a 10-month academic year. They work for a minimum 40 hours per week, but may also utilize their evenings and weekends to prepare or grade exams. Moreover, they also need to participate in school events and activities.

There is no fixed number of working hours for tutors. They may work part-time or fulltime, since they do not teach in mainstream educational institutions. They usually work in their own pace, with different settings and schedules. Many tutors work with tutoring centers to impart their knowledge to students.  Others work independently and provide home or online tutoring.

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Teachers win the deal here in terms of flexibility because they’ve worked with several students and excelled in learning abilities over the years. They know how to deal with each of them. Students can connect with their teachers online, through email or video chat, if they come up with any issues with the assignment. This is usually the only way to reach them after classroom. Excluding the technical problems that may occur anytime, teachers really know how to solve students’ problems quickly just when they need them.

A tutor, on the other hand, may not always be able to solve your particular problem as they work with different students from different classes. If they are not quite familiar with your course material, it’s difficult for them to remotely connect with you and help you understand everything. If the tutors have never run across those study materials before, they may not be of immediate help to you.

While teachers have the right qualifications and experience, tutors often have the right strategies. If you often find yourself struggling in the classes even after the teacher’s guidance or if you are dissatisfied with your grades, a tutor can be of great help to you.

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