How to Become a MCAT Tutor

9 minutes • 13 July 2021

The Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, is one metric universities use to decide who gets accepted into med school. Students applying for admission in almost all cases have already completed at least a four-year bachelor’s degree in coursework specifically intended to prepare them for med school. So the stakes are high.

MCAT tutor helping a student prepare in a conference room

Because physicians are held to exacting standards of skill, knowledge and professionalism, training to become a doctor is no casual task. Admission requirements are grueling at top schools. Not everyone is destined to become a doctor. But for those who have put in the undergraduate work, who have prepared themselves for the next leap, the next step is posting an excellent score on the MCAT. This test is not the only factor schools evaluate when deciding who gets admitted to a medical program, but it remains extremely important as a gauge of a student’s readiness for the rigors of med school.

This is where an MCAT tutor comes into the picture. MCAT tutors work with students in groups or one-on-one in private sessions to prepare for these examinations. They use training materials specifically designed for MCAT preparation. Above all, while MCAT tutors do not need to be doctors or even in med school themselves, they must still be able to show they have taken the MCAT and passed with excellent scores.

As an MCAT tutor you can make good money while enjoying the professional satisfaction of helping students move one step closer to their dream of getting into med school to become practicing physicians.

Read on to discover what’s involved in becoming a MCAT tutor.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • How much money you can make as a MCAT tutor
  • The required training and certifications
  • Professional groups to join
  • Employment opportunities for MCAT tutors
  • Finding clients
  • Plus helpful tips

How much money can you make?

MCAT tutors make about $25 per hour, according to a recent survey conducted by Glassdoor.

MCAT tutors are in high demand. Medical school is expensive. Admittance to a good school can lead to an excellent education and financial rewards. As a result, would-be med students are willing to pay for a good MCAT tutor. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a top MCAT tutor can make $50,000 per year or more.

Training and Certification

While there are no licensing requirements for tutors, to get a job or build a clientele you’ll need a piece of paper that shows you are qualified to be a tutor for the MCAT. This means training and certification.

MCAT tutor standing in front of a whiteboard

Deep knowledge of math, chemistry, biology, physics, psychology, critical analysis and reasoning skills are essential to your success as an MCAT tutor. You’ll also need above-average to perfect scores on standardized MCAT tests.

To secure a job with a tutoring company, you may be expected to be enrolled in med school or a candidate for a medical or doctoral degree. This won’t be an issue if you decide to be self-employed, although you’ll need a good response to the obvious question prospective students will ask: “If you did so well on the MCAT, why aren’t you in med school?”

Potential answers can range from “financial issues,” “I’m saving money for school” and “I needed to take a break after earning my bachelor’s degree.” Then show them a certified copy of your actual MCAT scores.

The National Tutoring Association, Association for the Coaching and Tutoring Profession, the American Tutoring Association and the College Reading and Learning Association all endorse formal certifications that establish a tutor’s credibility. Along with experience, certification can also lead to a greater salary.

Here’s a listing of MCAT tutor training programs to help you get started in identifying the best training option for you.

Professional Groups to Join

When you become affiliated with a professional group, you show students and potential employers that you are dedicated to your work as an MCAT tutor. You’re telling people that this is not just a job but a calling. These memberships look great on a resume when you’re job hunting. Benefits range from networking with other pros in your field to ongoing education and training, news about the profession and the sense of comradery that comes with belonging to a group whose members share your passion.

MCAT tutor working with a student on preparations

This list of professional organizations for MCAT tutors can help you discover what types of memberships are available and which ones might be right for you.

Many informal online groups are also available for you to join. These groups provide another forum for professionals to share ideas and insights. Many of these MCAT Tutor groups exist on Facebook. You can join as many groups as you like until you find the ones that best serve your interests.

Here’s an extensive listing of groups for MCAT tutors to help you get started.


There are many companies that offer MCAT tutoring services throughout the United States. Some have a national presence, such as Princeton Review and Kaplan, while others may be independent and locally owned.

MCAT tutor discussing questions with a student

You’ll want to prepare your resume, both printed copies and a digital version for online distribution. Sending job application materials via email or through the recruitment page of a company’s website is a fast and efficient way to reach many potential employers, compared to hitting the Post Office with a huge stack of thick, manila envelopes stuffed with your printed information. When sending resumes by email, the best way to attach this document and supporting materials is by creating .pdf files of the documents with Adobe Acrobat. These types of files are considered safe to send and are less likely to trigger a spam alert in the recipient’s mailbox. Follow this tip and you’ll have a much better chance that your online correspondence lands in front of a real person, not a spam folder.

Also make photocopies of your professional certifications and memberships in tutoring organizations. These extra materials can pull your application to the top of the pile and set you apart from competitors for the same job.

Finding Clients

Business cards and a basic website should be the core of your marketing toolkit as a professional MCAT tutor. The website should be attractively designed, with photos of your workspace, and a few images of you in action, teaching students. Your business location and contact information should be clearly visible at the top of every page on your website. Search engines scan this information to match your website geographically with people searching for an MCAT tutor.

MCAT tutor reading through a textbook in a classroom

In addition to your business website, the next thing to do is create an Instagram account to showcase your services. Instagram is the top online venue for professionals to promote their work. It’s a free marketing tool that’s always working on your behalf.

Now set up a Facebook page for your MCAT tutoring services. This is a great way to build a following, offer a few free test-prep tips and keep people up-to-date on your offerings.

Be sure to create a Google My Business page, where you can add hours of operation, photos and an interactive map of your location. This helps people in your geographic area find you.

All of these services are free. Setting up a page on each site takes less than an hour.

Other strategies for attracting tutoring students:

  • Create a referral program with discounts for people who send new students to you.
  • Ask students to review your tutoring services online. According to a recent survey, 90% of people say their buying decisions are influenced by positive online reviews.

Good to know

In addition to the marketing ideas above, you’ll need a focused sales pitch before some students will say “yes” to MCAT tutoring, which can be expensive. Students are already contemplating the astronomically high cost of med school and may need to be convinced that MCAT tutoring is worth it. Here are some approaches you can take in your response:

First, in case they haven’t yet realized this, students who want to become doctors need to understand that the MCAT is the most important test they will ever take. Competition is fierce and seats in med-school classrooms are limited. A low MCAT score can put an immediate end to all those hopes and dreams of becoming a physician.

MCAT tutor working with a student to prepare for the test

Another benefit is tutoring offers one-on-one attention focused to the individual needs of each student. Each session can be customized to concentrate on turning a student’s weaknesses into strengths.

Finally, students may be wondering, is tutoring worth the investment? Let’s start with some current numbers: in-state tuition at a US med school in a public university averages nearly $38,000 per year. That’s just tuition. That’s just the average. Now multiply that by four years of medical school and the student is looking at an investment averaging more than $150,000. And if the goal is to become a doctor, can you really put a price on the cost of a dream? If MCAT tutoring averages about 2 months to prep for the exam and, for example, costs $2,000 a month, then the student’s investment in tutoring is $4,000. That’s less than 3 percent of the cost of medical school – and the cost of med school won’t matter if the student isn’t accepted due to an unacceptably low MCAT score.

When presented with this information, students will usually reach the conclusion that MCAT tutoring is not only worth it – it’s a bargain.

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