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Teach Test Prep

Teachers: Consider Picking Up Another Class

Wait! Don’t click away just yet. I’ll give you a moment to wipe up the coffee you just spewed onto your computer screen.

I know, I know. The only reason you’re reading this post is to distract yourself from the stack of ungraded papers on the desk next to your computer. And the thought of adding another class – complete with another lesson plan to write and even more papers to grade – makes you laugh out loud. But hear me out. What if the class came with little to no planning or grading, and a roster of motivated students on top of that? Starting to sound a little better? If so, teaching an SAT/ACT Test Prep class might be just what you are looking for.

Extra Cash and Manageable Time

Test prep companies pay in the ballpark of $20 per hour for teaching SAT/ACT Prep courses. Not too shabby compared to most part-time work that is available. Typically, they are looking for teachers to work part-time in the evenings and on weekends (students have the same hours you do) for as few as five hours per week and up to as many as twenty. For a select few programs, teachers are required to take the test they would be teaching and meet or exceed a cutoff score. For most programs, though, your degree and/or your teaching certificate will get you in the door.

Opportunities Abound

When you think of test prep, there are probably a few names that immediately come to mind – Kaplan, The Princeton Review, and Sylvan to name a few. However, there are many others that may not ring a bell. A quick Google search in my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina turned up more than a dozen companies that offer SAT and ACT prep courses. This includes the well-known national companies, some lesser known nationals, and others with a smaller, regional scope.

One local option, College Edge, uses space in our school to offer an SAT Prep course. They hire our teachers to teach the course in the evening and on weekends, and they pay teachers $18 per hour to teach classes and $14 per hour to proctor exams. Courses run for six weeks with eleven 3-hour classes and four 4-hour long practice tests. Teachers work 7 or 8 hours per week and make more than $900 per course.

No Test Prep in Your Area? Create One!

Just because your school is tucked away in the woods or surrounded by cornfields, that doesn’t mean there may not be an opportunity for you to make test prep available for students and put a little extra cash in your pocket at the same time.

I worked in a district in rural Michigan where it was a 45-minute drive through the countryside to the nearest sizable town. You passed a couple of Tractor Supply Company stores on the way, but you didn’t see any test prep centers. However, that didn’t mean that there wasn’t a demand for a course, and there were plenty of capable teachers to teach one. So, an English teacher and a math teacher pitched the idea to their principal and a Sunday afternoon ACT Prep course was born. Students and their parents, hungry for the same advantages that students in larger towns had access to, eagerly paid to register their students for the class. Students showed remarkable improvement on the ACT, and the registration money helped pay the teachers. It was a win-win for everybody.

Build Your Bank without Breaking Your Back

I’ve seen teachers give up their planning periods and take on another class within the school day to enhance their salary. Every one of them said that the extra pay was great, but it wasn’t worth the demands on their time. No time for planning during the school day, additional papers to grade, and often another lesson to plan, quickly led to burn out. It was too much. I’ve never seen a teacher do it for more than one year.

With a test prep class, for most teachers, the added hours are just right. Teachers find the work to be enough of a departure from their traditional class load that it doesn’t burn them out, and they enjoy working with motivated students and sharing in their successes. Most of them have gone on to teach multiple test prep courses.

Why Not Teach SAT / ACT Prep Classes?

Now that you’ve had a chance to pour yourself another coffee, consider picking up an SAT/ACT Prep class to help pay off some of that holiday debt or to start saving for that spring break cruise. Right after you finishing grading those papers, that is.

Written by Todd Laventure

Todd Laventure is a freelance writer and educator living in Charleston, South Carolina. Over the course of his 20-year career in education, he taught in middle schools and high schools in Michigan and South Carolina, and he was an administrator for another eight years. Todd writes about a wide range of topics, including education, and can be reached at

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