Bag a position teaching English in France and you’ll be the envy of all your TEFL friends. With good weather, world-famous food and wine, sophisticated culture and fashion, reliable transport systems, historic attractions, beautiful natural scenery and bustling cities, it won’t take you long to realise why this is one of the most visited countries in the world.
Whether you want to teach English abroad and live out your own ‘Emily in Paris’ fantasy in the world’s most romantic city, take it easy on the Mediterranean beaches of Marseille or soak up the sun on the glamorous streets of Nice, there’s a destination in France for every kind of TEFL teacher.
The French TEFL market has grown considerably over the last two decades. Whereas once English teaching jobs were more focused on summer camps and au-pair opportunities, the country now offers a wide selection of teaching gigs. From teaching jobs at private language schools to working with toddlers at kindergarten, joining a teaching assistant programme to finding corporate work teaching business English, read this guide to teaching English for everything you need to know about finding your dream TEFL job in France.
Teaching English in France: An overview
The French (and Parisians in particular) are very patriotic and extremely proud of both their country and their language. In the past, this meant that the French were reluctant to learn English and other foreign languages, resulting in a low number of teaching jobs for English teachers. However, things have changed in recent decades and the English language has been embraced as a stepping stone that connects France to the world of business.
As such, there has been a steady rise in the popularity of teaching English in France, which is particularly good news for British expats who make up a large percentage of those choosing to relocate there. While Business English has been a major source of employment for TEFL teachers in France, there has also been an increase in community classes put on through town councils. English language lessons for young children have risen in popularity too, with further surges in toddler and child classes projected for the coming years.
Take a look at some of the key facts you need to know before landing a job teaching English in France.
- The majority of English teaching jobs in France can be found in large cities like Paris, Nice, Lyon and Toulouse but it’s also possible to find rural positions (which pay less to match the lower cost of living.) Explore the opportunity to teach English in the charming city of Paris
- The basic monthly salary for a full-time TEFL teacher is likely to be in the region of €1,000 – €2,000 (£926 – £1,852/$1,082 – $2,164) per month, although this varies greatly between positions and locations. For example, those joining the Teaching Assistance Program In France (TAPIF) will receive a monthly stipend of €790 (£667/$845) per month while a summer position with American Village Camps pays €1170 (£1,081/$1,266) per month.
- A 120-hour TEFL certificate is a minimum to teach English in France, and it will be almost impossible to find work without one.
- Although not strictly necessary, French employers often look for a bachelor’s degree (in any subject) alongside a TEFL qualification.
- A little prior teaching experience is often preferred. While there isn’t technically an age limit for teaching English in France, younger teachers are often given preference, sometimes even over more experienced, older teachers. Native English speakers will find it much easier to secure work than those from non-native countries.
- Teaching opportunities for TEFL teachers include private schools, teaching young learners at kindergartens, private lessons/tutoring, summer camps, public schools, university positions and corporate gigs for businesses.
- The school year typically runs from September to June/July, with hiring taking place between June to August.
- Like the other 18 countries of the Eurozone, you’ll be paid in Euros – France’s national currency.
- The French are incredibly proud of their national language, with many people only recently starting to take an interest in learning a foreign language. In fact, only just over 50% of the population are thought to have what’s classed as ‘reasonable proficiency’ in English.
Want to teach English in France but unsure of the qualifications you’ll need to secure a job? With such a wide range of teach abroad opportunities, the good news is that no matter what level you are at in your teaching career, you’re bound to find a position that matches your skills, experience and qualifications in France.
While qualifications vary between different employers, schools and locations, the most commonly asked for requirements are:
- A 120 TEFL certification from an accredited provider
- A bachelor’s degree (in any subject)
- Previous experience (which can include childcare if looking to teach young learners)
- Be a native English speaker (or be able to prove English fluency)
While it’s not always necessary to speak French to secure a job, some employers and English teaching programmes (like TAPIF) do require their teachers to prove their proficiency in the language.
Read on to find out more about the most commonly asked for qualifications in France.
If you want to find a job working as an ESL teacher in France, one of the best things you can do is get yourself TEFL qualified. Almost all teaching jobs in France will expect their applicants to have a TEFL certificate and usually look for TEFL courses with a minimum of 120-hours.
While it might not be enough to land you a teaching job at a top private school or international school on its own, TEFL certification is essential for anyone hoping to teach at language schools, kindergartens, summer camps, or live-in positions and even private tutoring gigs.
Most employers won’t even consider those without a TEFL certificate, making it near impossible to find teaching jobs in France without one.
Can I teach English in France without a degree?
While it’s possible to teach English in France without a degree, those in this situation might find the job hunt a little tricker. That’s not to say that there are no teaching abroad opportunities for those without a bachelor’s behind them… it just means you might have to be more flexible when it comes to factors like pay and location.
Having a TEFL qualification and any previous experience will go a long way to helping convince employers you’re serious. However, it’s worth noting that some English teaching programmes and many of the bigger private schools and international schools, will look for their teachers to have a degree, usually in a related subject.
Can I teach English in France without experience?
In short, yes! You absolutely can teach English in France without any experience! While it will rule out jobs at international schools and some private schools (who usually ask for around two years of previous experience, often alongside teaching qualifications and relevant degrees) there are plenty of teaching positions in France that do not require experience.
Many kindergartens and summer camps, as well as private schools, will accept teachers without experience, as long as they have a TEFL qualification and show enthusiasm for learning on the job. In fact, France is one of the few places in Europe where youth and enthusiasm can trump age, experience and qualifications when it comes to teaching abroad!
Visa for France
One of the biggest barriers to teaching English in France is obtaining the right visa. Unless you are an EU Citizen, you will need a visa to live and work in France as a TEFL teacher. There are a small number of exceptions (for example, Australians, New Zealanders and Canadians may be able to apply for a Working Holiday Visa) but for the majority of teachers, this will mean working on a student visa.
To get a student visa for France, most teachers will sign up to study a French language course at a university or approved language school. As these courses are part-time, it leaves teachers with plenty of free time to teach English and earn enough money to cover their studies and living costs.
Although extremely rare, it may also be possible for non-EU citizens to get sponsored for a working visa. This usually only happens for qualified, experienced teachers who are making a more long-term move to France to teach at an international school.
Salary and cost of living
Teaching English in France can be incredibly rewarding in lots of ways – from helping your students improve their English skills to immersing yourself in the local culture and language – but it’s not always the most lucrative teaching location. Sure, there are exceptions (like those working at international schools or universities) but for the majority of TEFL teachers, you’ll usually just make enough to cover your living costs, entertainment and possibly a little travel during the holidays.
If you’re careful with your cash, learn to live like a local (unless you’re in Paris!) and even consider offering some freelance lessons on the side, you’ll discover that living and working in France as a TEFL teacher is entirely doable. However, if you’re hoping to save a large amount of your pay at the end of every month, you might want to consider another teach English abroad location.
How much can you make teaching English in France?
How much you can make teaching English in France will depend on three main things – where you want to live, what kind of school you want to work for and what qualifications or experience you have. That being said, TEFL teachers tend to make somewhere in the region of €1,000 – €2,000 (£926 – £1,852/$1,082 – $2,164) per month working full-time, while those offering private tutoring can charge rates of around €15 – €25 (£13.88 – £23.13/$16.24 – $27) per hour.
Teachers joining the TAPIF programme will receive a stipend of €790 (£667/$845) per month, while a position at American Village Camps pays around €1170 (£1,081/$1,266) per month. Meanwhile, for live-in or live-out English babysitting or tutoring roles, you can earn around €10 – €13 (£9.25 – £12/$10.83 – $14) per hour for childcare positions, or up to €20 (£18.50/$21.66) per hour for tutoring older students.
Most TEFL teachers in France who are on a student visa will work part-time at a language school, as well as topping up their salaries with some private lessons. This combination is usually enough, even in the more expensive cities, to cover the cost of living.
How much does it cost to live in France?
When it comes to checking out your bank balance in France, it might be more a case of ‘ooh-er’ than ‘ooh la la’! Not only is France one of the more expensive countries to live in Western Europe, but it’s also home to some of the most expensive cities in the world. Paris tops the list for cost of living, followed by other urban hotspots such as Lyon, Nice, Marseille, and Montpellier. But the high prices are matched by an extravagant lifestyle, which many ESL teachers hope to get at least a small taste of during their time in France!
Travelling out to smaller, countryside locations will see a sharp decrease in prices, but also a reduction in job opportunities, entertainment, amenities and transport links. While transport can be a large cost in France, the service is efficient and envied by much of Europe. As they say… you get what you pay for!
One of the greatest costs of living in France is the accommodation, which can easily eat up from one-third to half of your monthly salary. For cheaper options, look for listings of chamber de bonne (the maid’s quarters) which are small, top-floor studios that can be half the price of regular apartments. Shared accommodation is a great way to live somewhere nice for less, or consider renting a room in a family home.
Take a look at the table below to see some of the daily costs you might have living and working in France.
|Country||Avg. monthly salary||Degree required||Start of term||Teaching experience||Housing & flights included||Suitable for non-native English speakers||Age restrictions|
|Teach in France||£926 – £1,852
($1,082 – $2,164)
|EUR (€)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Inexpensive restaurant meal||15.00||15.05||12.65|
|Domestic beer (0.5 litre)||6.00||6.02||5.06|
|Water (0.33 litre)||1.75||1.76||1.48|
|EUR (€)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Regular milk (1 litre)||1.02||1.02||0.86|
|Loaf of white bread||1.52||1.53||1.28|
|Regular eggs (1 dozen)||3.10||3.11||2.62|
|Apples (1 kg)||2.62||2.63||2.21|
|EUR (€)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|One-way ticket (local transport)||1.60||1.61||1.35|
|Monthly pass (regular price)||65.00||65.23||54.81|
|Taxi start (normal tariff)||1.80||1.81||1.52|
|Gasoline (1 litre)||1.99||1.99||1.68|
|EUR (€)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage (for a regular apartment)||152.71||153.26||128.77|
|Regular prepaid mobile tariff (per minute, local without discounts)||0.17||0.17||0.14|
|Internet (60 Mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)||29.16||29.26||24.59|
|Clothing and shoes||Cost|
|EUR (€)||USD ($)||GBP (£)|
|Pair of jeans (Levis 501 or something similar)||80.74||81.03||68.08|
|Summer dress in a chain store||35.54||35.67||29.97|
|Nike running shoes (mid-range)||82.86||83.16||69.87|
|Men’s leather business shoes||110.43||110.82||93.12|
(Source: Cost of Living)
With a variety of teaching opportunities for different ages, abilities and specialist subjects, if you have TEFL training, a degree or a bit of experience, it shouldn’t be too hard for you to secure work. TEFL jobs in France can be found at English assistant programmes, private schools, international schools and universities, as well as summer camps and private tutoring opportunities.
Hiring can sometimes be tricky in France, with some schools giving preference to younger, fresher teachers over those with decades of experience. Having extra qualifications (such as a PGCE or DELTA) won’t necessarily make you more employable than someone with just a TEFL certificate.
The French expect their teachers to be knowledgeable but also enthusiastic, and willing to adapt to their teaching preferences and systems. Having more qualifications and experience won’t necessarily mean you get paid more, either. Also, many schools now prefer freelance teachers to support and supplement their local tuition, rather than advertising for full-time TEFL positions.
Read on to discover more about the different types of teaching jobs available in France.
TAPIF programme and how to apply
The most straightforward way for an American to get a job teaching in France is through TAPIF, also known as the Teaching Assistant Program in France. TAPIF places Americans (between the ages of 20-35) as teaching assistants in elementary and secondary schools throughout France on 7-month contracts.
TAPIF is an incredibly popular programme for teaching English abroad and, with only 1000 places each year, it can be very competitive. To apply for a place, you’ll need to be able to show that you meet the following requirements:
- Be an American citizen between the age of 20-35
- Have a degree (or currently studying towards your diploma)
- Demonstrate a proficient level of French (equivalent to level B1 on the European Framework of Reference for Languages)
- Have previous teaching experience and/or experience working with young learners
- TEFL qualification (while not a strict requirement, this can improve a candidate’s chance of being accepted.
The application process is fairly straightforward, with the application window closing in January and successful teachers being notified in April each year. You’ll submit your documents – including proof of your studies, French-language abilities and any experience – via the TAPIF Program online portal, with a one-off fee of $80.
Those who are successful will start in October of that year and work until April the following year. TAPIF teachers receive a monthly stipend of €790 (£667/$845) as well as healthcare. Housing is not covered by the TAPIF programme, although some host schools do help their teachers to find appropriate housing nearby.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is teaching a good career in France?
Teaching English in France can be an incredibly rewarding experience! Not only will you have the chance to immerse yourself in French culture – from world-renowned food and wine to history, art and fashion – you’ll also be helping your French students to gain the English skills they need for business, tourism and studying abroad.
Q. Is there a demand for English teachers in France?
While not always the case, English is now an incredibly sought-after skill to have in France, which means that English teachers (especially those from native-speaking countries) are in high demand throughout the country.
Q. What are the requirements to be an English teacher in France?
The requirements to teach English in France vary between different locations, employers and schools but generally, you’ll need a TEFL certification with a minimum of 120 hours. Some schools, particularly private and international institutes, will also look for a degree, experience and a teaching qualification from your home country.
Q. How much do English teachers get paid in France?
How much you can make as an English teacher in France will depend on your qualifications, experience and where you choose to work. However, most people who teach abroad in France make an average salary of between €1,000 – €2,000 (£926 – £1,852/$1,082 – $2,164) per month.