France has always been one of the world's top destinations for tourists with its variety of cities, wine regions, and its famous stretch of Mediterranean coastline. Teaching English in France will allow you to immerse yourself in the country’s history and culture while gaining invaluable teaching experience and earning a livable income. Sound good? Read on to learn how to teach English in France, and what you can expect from English teaching jobs there.
There are numerous job opportunities for people who want to teach English in France. You could find yourself teaching English at a French school, becoming a teaching assistant, working at a language school, tutoring privately, or even being a counselor at an English camp.
If you can speak English fluently, have a B1 level in French, and possess European Union citizenship, you can apply to most teaching positions in the many public, private, or even international schools in France. Some schools won't even require you to know French, although previous teaching experience is welcomed.
A full-time teaching job in France can earn you a monthly salary ranging from €1,000 up to €2,000 ($1050-$2100 or £860-£1700). The rate will depend on your location, the extent of teaching experience, and other qualifications.
One of the best ways to get a job teaching English in France is via the TAPIF (Teaching Assistant Program in France).
This is a program targeted at US citizens between the ages of 20 to 35. Participants in the program are hired as teaching assistants to be deployed to the various public elementary and secondary schools in France.
The job is much easier than that of the classroom teacher because it only requires 12 hours of service a week. The assistants receive a monthly stipend of €785 ($820 or £670).
Non-European Union citizens won't be able to find employment teaching English here unless they hold a green card. However, there are still some options you can explore.
The majority of individuals teaching English abroad in France find employment at the various private language schools all over the country. Language schools offer weekend and evening classes to work in conjunction with regular school classes. The classes are usually targeted at professionals who work during the day.
If you already have another job, working at a language school in France can be your side job and provide you with extra pocket money.
Private language schools are more flexible in their qualification requirements. If you hold a bachelor's degree and a CELTA qualification you'll be well placed to find work. Other TEFL certifications are also accepted depending on where you want to work.
You can also check out openings at international schools if you have the right qualifications. If not, you can offer private tutoring services.
Another way to teach English in France is to offer private tutoring lessons. Private tutors are often sought out by working professionals for teaching business English. English is an important skill for people working for international companies in France. Some French companies even hire private tutors to give their employees ESL lessons.
If you are on a student visa and want to earn some pocket money you can work up to twenty hours every week tutoring privately. A private tutor’s pay ranges from €15 to €25 ($16-$26 or £12-£20) per hour.
For those looking for short-term job opportunities, being a counselor at an English summer camp is a great option. There are dozens of summer camps that hire part-time counselors like the IBS of Provence or the American Village Camps. Besides facilitating ESL classes, counselors are put in charge of organizing fun camp activities.
Most of the camps only operate during summer, but there are a few that offer year-round employment. Besides the monthly salary of about €1,170 ($1200 or £980), counselors are also provided with food and housing benefits.
To qualify as an English summer camp counselor, you must be eligible for work authorization. You can gain this if you have a long-stay visa (VLS-TS).
If you want to become an English teacher in France, you will need to hold certain qualifications. Below are some of the requirements and documents that you must have if you wish to teach English in France.
Holding a Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certificate is necessary for any teacher to be able to teach English in France. It is your proof that you’ve gone through the required training and have the necessary qualifications to work for a reputable school in France.
There are numerous TEFL courses that you can take online. It is not difficult to find a good TEFL course that offers flexible schedules to allow you to study part-time.
Employers are increasingly hiring foreign workers who do not speak the French language fluently. However, being able to communicate in French will be an advantage. B1 level and above is preferred.
Being a native English speaker is also required by most schools and other learning institutions. It is well known that employers favor hiring people coming from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa to teach English.
To qualify to be part of the TAPIF (Teaching Assistance Program in France), you must be a US citizen or a permanent resident at the very least. You also should be a native speaker.
If you haven't earned a bachelor’s degree yet, you must at least have completed the majority of your university studies in the US. Three years of college is the time period they ask for.
As for your language proficiency, you have to present proof that you are proficient in French to apply to this teaching assistant program. That means you must have a B1 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or better.
French majors are highly encouraged to apply while those who didn't major in the language must have taken an equivalent of three semesters of French in college. A period of living in a Francophone country will also be considered in lieu of French language college units.
A bachelor’s degree in any field or major is a requirement to teach English in France. You must prepare a copy of your diploma from a four-year (or three-year if you studied in Australia, New Zealand, or the UK) course from a duly accredited institution.
Besides having a valid passport, you will need a visa in order to work in France. The kind of visa will depend on how long you plan on staying there and your country of origin.
The majority of language schools in France are not willing to sponsor work visas for their teachers because the process is long and expensive. That is why these institutions do not hire any individuals who cannot legally work in the country.
For those who are determined to work as a teacher in France, the only other avenue is to obtain a student visa. You can secure a short-stay visa that is good for 3 months and that should be enough for many institutions hiring teachers, especially if you are just working for the summer.
For citizens coming from Australia or New Zealand, a working holiday visa will be required for teaching English abroad in France. You will also need a residency permit.
There are a range of locations where English teachers can find jobs teaching English in France, we cover some of the main ones below:
The teaching experience, salary, and leisure activities that you have at your disposal will largely depend on where you choose to teach English in France. So choose carefully!
Paris remains the most popular city for tourists and teachers alike. It is the home of numerous attractions and landmarks. If you want to immerse yourself in French culture and history, Paris should be at the top of your list of places to teach English.
However, it is also the city that has the highest cost of living. Plus, it can be challenging to get a job here since it is the preferred city of most applicants therefore competition can be tough.
Marseille is another great option for teachers. It is gaining popularity among international students because of the wonderful learning institutions in this city. Marseille offers a good balance because it is not as busy as Paris but it still has a decent amount of teaching jobs available. If you enjoy the seaside setting but crave some urban excitement occasionally, then this city is a place you should consider.
Lyon has so many things to offer aspiring English teachers. The city boasts numerous excellent bars, cafes, and restaurants that will satisfy the most discerning foodie. There are also many places to visit like the Cite du Design or the Musee des Beaux-Arts.
This wine-producing city is well-known all over the world. If you are passionate about wines and wine-making, you should consider this an ideal place to work. You can spend your weekends at its many vineyards and learn about traditional wine-making practices.
And because it is a popular tourist destination, it is not surprising to find English teaching jobs here since many business owners wish to learn how to converse with their English-speaking clients.
To apply for a job in France, the first place you need to check is online. Check out job listings on reputable job-hunting websites and those of schools, language academies, summer camps, and other institutions.
Join online forums for English teachers. You can even search for French schools and submit inquiries regarding teaching posts.
If you want to work in a company, you can contact the Chamber of Commerce of the French town or city you are considering. Expect the hiring process to take at least six months.
Go directly to the TAPIF website if you wish to apply via that program.
French schools fill up teaching slots during the first quarter of the year, so you can expect to see advertisements for teaching positions around the summer months. Note that the academic year starts in September.
You can apply as an English teacher at language schools or as a private tutor at any time because hiring for these positions tends to run all year round.
You need to start the application process for a French student visa at least four weeks before your projected departure date. Among the required documents is a valid passport (valid until 6 months after your date of departure from France). You will also need to present your documented proof of enrollment on a course that is duly recognized by the government of France.
You must register with Campus France, the French Government program. You will be asked to pay the registration fee of $70 to get an “attestation”.
Once you have this on hand, you can go to the French consulate to submit your application for a student visa in person.
Filled out application form/immigration form
An attestation obtained from Campus France
Valid passport (plus a photocopy of the ID page)
Airline reservation with a date of departure
Documents of enrollment
You will also be asked to show proof of your available finances. This will include your bank statements showing at least $1000 per month to cover your stay. If you do not have this, you can also present a notarized letter from your parent or guardian attesting that they will provide you with the funds required. You have to pay 50 euros as a processing fee for your French visa.
In order to quickly adjust to your new surroundings and classroom environment, it's important to research the country’s etiquette and culture. Below are a few helpful things to know to help you adapt.
French schools have long days, particularly for older students. Classes run from 8 am to 5 pm. However, there are breaks. Schools often take one to two-hour breaks in the middle of the day. There are even schools that give their students a whole day break in the middle of the week. This time allows the students to pursue their extracurricular activities.
Students in France are very courteous, so you can expect to be treated with respect inside the classroom. Families are fully supportive of the children’s success. This means you can expect high engagement from your students’ parents.
You are expected to greet everyone you meet with a hello or “bonjour”. It is polite to start with this greeting before asking for help or making a request. In greeting acquaintances, you can offer a kiss on both cheeks depending on how close you are with the person. However, it's advisable not to do this with your students!
The people in France are very proud of their language. Showing effort and willingness to learn and use it can go a long way. Even before your departure to France, it is best to learn some common phrases.
The French highly value being on time so promptness is expected. During meetings and functions, it is best to arrive ahead of the indicated time.
Dress formally when attending functions and when meeting clients. Women tend to wear modest yet fashionable clothing. Men are often expected to wear a suit and necktie.
The cost of living in France is higher than in any of the neighboring European countries. This is mainly because of Paris. In most of the south of France and in the French countryside, the cost is a little bit lower.
The reason is that the country enjoys one of the highest standards of living. Its citizens, and the country’s guests, enjoy some of the best healthcare, the cleanest surroundings, and the highest quality of public service there is.
According to estimates, a person’s monthly costs, on average, are about €800 ($844 or £690). This amount doesn’t include monthly rent, which is approximately €1,230 ($1,300 or £1,060) for a 1-bedroom place.
You can expect to spend about €280 to €470 ($300-$500 or £240-£400) on food alone. Transportation can set you back €75 to €115 ($80-$120 or £60-£100). And entertainment, like going to the clubs or watching movies, would add another €50 to €130 ($50-$135 or £43-£110) to that.
France is packed with iconic landmarks. For many, visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and Notre Dame is on their bucket lists. For history buffs, walking on the Normandy beaches could be an experience of a lifetime. There are also numerous scenic spots like the lavender fields in Provence or the chateaux at the Loire Valley.
Another reason why people flock to this country is the food. French cuisine is known and revered all over the world. Whether it’s the humble ratatouille, the interesting escargot, or buttery pastries and bread, everybody simply cannot get enough of the mouthwatering dishes. Food and wine form a key part of French culture.
Then there’s the art. People line up for hours just to see the works of Monet, Rousseau, Dumas, or Van Gogh. French museums house the world’s most coveted masterpieces. You can even visit the old stomping grounds of these great masters.
So, if you want to come and sample the French way of life and teach English abroad, getting an English teaching job in France could present a great opportunity.
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding English teaching jobs in France.
The monthly pay for English teaching jobs ranges from $1,000 to a little over $2,500.
Yes, there's a demand for English teachers in the country. English is the main language of business between all EU states. This is why more French citizens wish to improve their English language skills.
At the very least, you will need to have a bachelor's degree and a student visa to teach.
Except for applicants of TAPIF, teachers do not need to speak French to teach English in the country. Classes are done fully in English to completely immerse the students in the language.
Yes, you can move to France to teach English as long as you have the necessary documents and qualifications.