The Real Prize for Spelling Bee Champs? $200-an-Hour Coaching Fees

How do you spell success? S-I-D-E-H-U-S-T-L-E

What do marocain, pococurante, gesellschaft and appoggiatura all have in common?

They’re all words that won young children big money at the Scripps National Spelling Bee, but if you can believe it, Bee money might not even be the biggest money these competitors can make right now.

Click to read about clever ways to make money.

This week, 518 spellers, ages 8 to 15, are competing in National Harbor, Md., for the chance to spell their way to glory, fame and cash prizes. The top speller wins $40,000 in cash, runner-up takes home $30,000, third place wins $20,000, fourth wins $10,000, fifth wins $5,000, and sixth wins $2,500.

The grand prize should be the competitors’ ultimate goal, but unless you’re one of the top winners, the real money might be made in coaching. Similar to any other competitive skill or sport, parents are now paying top dollar for their children to be coached by an expert speller, preferably a recent Bee competitor.

The price to have your 11-year-old tutored by a 14-year-old for one hour? Roughly $200.

Recent top-finishing spellers have monetized their talents and genius into lucrative coaching jobs. Younger coaches appeal to parents because they’re just a few years removed from the Bee; therefore, they’re able to pass along fresh intelligence about words to memorize, word decoding and the Bee’s evolving intricacies.

The fee might be shockingly high to you, but that’s the going service rate. Coached by three-time National Spelling Bee participant Jonathan Horton, Bee Bound — a 12-week intensive online prep course hosted by Hexco — costs $3,200 for 12 one-hour sessions. For parents with the means, eight private one-hour sessions with a Hexco coach cost $2,100 and sixteen private sessions cost $3,450.

GOBankingRates crunched the numbers to understand just how much more profitable it is to coach than to succeed in the National Spelling Bee. Here’s a hypothetical scenario for this year’s crop of Bee contestants: The speller eliminated in the sixth round will take home $2,500. If that speller starts to tutor one client at $250 an hour, they will match their Bee earnings in only 10 tutoring sessions.

Not bad for an after-school job.

Click through to read more about weekend jobs and side gigs that can boost your income.