How much do ESL lessons cost?

Average cost in 20149: $25 /hr See National


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The average cost for an ESL tutor is $25/hr. You are likely to spend between $20 and $35 per hour. Exact price may vary depending on your area and project details.

Updated May 1st, 2017

Next Step: Find out exactly how much your project will cost.

Students of all skill levels and ages study English as a Second Language (ESL). Professional instructors help students gain basic reading and writing skills, improve conversational proficiency, obtain full literacy and fluency, and achieve professional or academic-level comprehension. Several factors affect the cost of ESL instruction.

Individual lessons

Most instructors offer one-on-one lessons, either at the student’s location or at their own location. Individual lessons typically cost the most expensive because students receive the teacher’s undivided attention. In addition, teacher cannot work with other students during that time, so their ability to earn income is limited. Lesson pricing varies depending on the length of each class, the teacher’s experience and reputation, as well as the geographic location of the lessons. Here are some examples of lesson rates:

  • Maura’s ESL Lessons in New York, New York

    • One-hour individual lesson: $35
  • Three Hats English in San Francisco, California

    • Introductory less: free

    • One-hour individual lesson: $45

    • 90-minute individual lesson: $65

    • Two-hour individual lesson: $80
  • FISV LLC in Los Angeles, California

    • Two-hour individual lesson: $70

    • This teacher charges $35 for each hour but encourages two-hour lessons for adult students because she finds them more effective.

Couples lessons

Some ESL teachers offer group or partner lessons. Typically these lessons cost more overall but less per student. For group instruction, some teachers charge one flat rate for the class, and others charge a reduced rate from their individual price per student. For example, FISV LLC charges $100 per two-hour couple’s lesson, or $50 per hour per couple. The teacher only offers this lesson to couples who live together because they can practice together more easily.


Most students benefit from ongoing instruction rather than a one-time class. Many teachers offer package deals for lessons, which provides students with per-class savings and secures ongoing business for themselves. In general, students must pre-pay to receive the discount. Here are some examples of package pricing:

  • Maura’s ESL Lessons

    • Three or more hours per week: $30 per hour

    • Four one-on-one classes in one month: $250 per month, which is a $30 savings (or almost one free hour) over purchasing lessons one at a time

    • Four couples classes: $370 per month, which is a $30 savings over purchasing lessons one at a time


If students have a tight deadline, such as last-minute preparation for taking the TOEFL or the GMAT, teacher may need to work at a more vigorous pace with students. Some instructors charge more when the intensity of the lessons is increased or if they need to shift scheduling to accommodate crunch time. FISV LLC sometimes charges up to $45 per hour if there is a deadline of six months or less during which time students must meet a certain proficiency level.

Remote courses

Some instructors offer online classes at their standard rates, and others offer a discounted rate. Maura’s ESL Lessons charges $25 per hour for an individual Skype session and $20 per hour when purchased as a package of 3 or more hours in one week.

Travel fee

Some ESL instructors charge travel fee in addition to their less cost in high-traffic areas such as Los Angeles or for locations outside of their standard service regions. This fee covers the teacher’s extra time and transportation expenses. FISV LLC charges a $35 travel fee for the rare occasions that lessons don’t take place at its headquarters.

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Recent reviews

Krista Bangham @ Strive Tutoring

I loved to take lessons with Krista because I wanted to have not only formal classes such as ESL or TOEFL, but also to know more about local cultural features which are different from russian ones. Krista was flexible to provide me lessons of the format exactly that I wanted. I hope we will continue to meet together and discuss various topic about american life. And I am sure these lessons will help me to build relationships with people in the USA.

Blossom N Grow Tutoring Services

Ms. Erika Lugo taught 2 children of mine (11 and 7 years old) for 3 weeks, as they were here for a short vacation from Brazil. My husband and I are professors at a Brazilian university and I came here for a sabbatic period of 6 months. Meanwhile, my husband and children came to visit me and so we decide to arrange English classes for the kids only for this short period. Our bet on Ms. Erika resume at Thumbtack was a real success! She is a very kind person, very thoughtful and helpful about students. As they used to have classes 3 times a week, she always prepared some homework to be done in between classes day. And those homework were amazing! Dynamic and funny as children are: musics, tongue twisters, games. They loved it! Every class, she used to please them with something, a sticker, a pencil, and so. Her methods are really efficiency. When my children came back home, after just 3 weeks learning from her, they could tell the difference. It was funny when my older daughter told me her school teaches English to her as she was a baby ('How old are you' and things like that). Not as Ms. Erika used to at all! Ms. Erika's secret, I guess, is to work hard with mouth movements and sounds, not only with words. This makes all difference. In a nutshell, Ms. Erika class is an experience I really recommend.


Evgeniya has an individual approach to teach English. She is developing a program for each lesson. Lessons cover grammar, video material and conversation. I learned a lot from her about all the aspects of American English. Thank you!