Better start brushing up on your le français – now is the time to teach English in Paris! There’s never been more demand for teachers in France, and Paris – the country’s stunning cultural heart – is brimming with more English teaching opportunities than anywhere else.
When you’re not busy teaching English to French students, you’ll be free to live out your Parisian dream. Stroll along the Champs-Élysées, drink coffee in the cafes of Montmartre, take a tour around the Musée d’Orsay, gaze at the Eiffel Tower and indulge in the city’s endless options for incredible food and wine. As King Francis I once said, “Paris is not a city; it’s a world” – and it’s one made for exploring.
Don’t be put off by rumours of rude Parisians – the French are simply incredibly proud of their capital city and national language. But learn a little of the lingo, show respect for France’s complex history or an interest in learning about French culture and you’ll soon find yourself making friends in the City of Light.
Teaching English in Paris: an overview
Before you pack your bags and put on your béret, there are a few things you’ll need to know about teaching English as a foreign language in Paris.
A rise in demand for learning English has led to an increase in the number of jobs available, particularly in teaching Business English lessons at private language schools – although most language teaching work still focuses on au pair positions and summer camps.
While there are lots of opportunities to teach English in France throughout the country, Paris is by far the most popular city for TEFL teachers. This can make the job market very competitive and, especially for non-EU teachers, it can sometimes mean that finding work with visa sponsorship feels like a near-impossible feat. But don’t give up on your dream of a Parisian life with a certain je ne sais quoi just yet – there are lots of ways to break into teaching in the City of Love.
For those who do land a job in Paris, the salaries can be a little lower than some other teach English abroad destinations. The highest pay tends to be found at international schools and universities but these jobs are rare. Most teachers in Paris will make enough to cover their monthly expenses and enjoy a taste of the city’s great food, wine and entertainment, with little left over to save.
Keep reading to find out exactly what you’ll need to teach English in Paris.
Requirements for teaching English in Paris
What you’ll need to teach abroad in Paris will depend on what kind of position you’re applying to and who you’ll be working for but, in general, most employers and schools will look for a few key things. These are:
- A 120-hour TEFL certificate from an accredited provider
- A bachelor’s degree in any subject
- Previous experience (including working with children)
- English mother tongue (or be able to speak English at a fluent level)
In Paris, many private schools and summer camps won’t consider those without a TEFL certificate, meaning that completing a TEFL certification course is one of the most important things you can do to boost your chances of securing an English teaching job before you leave.
While many positions teaching English in France will require a degree – including those at international schools and many English teaching programmes – it is still possible to find work without one. This is especially true if you’re an EU citizen who doesn’t require a work visa for France or you have a working holiday visa. Holding a TEFL certification, previous teaching and/or childcare experience will always help, as will visiting potential employers in person.
You don’t necessarily need to have experience to teach English in Paris, although this will narrow down your options. One of the best ways a new TEFL teacher can get their foot in the door in France is by teaching at a summer camp first. Not only will you gain valuable teaching experience to put on your CV, but you’ll also often have the chance to network with other English teachers who might know of current vacancies and be able to put a good word in for you.
Speaking French isn’t always a requirement to teach English in Paris but it can help – both by showing your enthusiasm for moving to the country and also for getting around in your day-to-day life once you arrive. Many people in Paris know some English but, being so fiercely proud of their own language, it’s unlikely you’ll hear it used much outside of overly touristy locations.
Salary & cost of living in Paris
Teaching English in Paris might not see you top the rich list anytime soon but the wages are nothing to scoff at. ESL teachers tend to make an average salary of between €1,000 – €2,000 (£926 – £1,852/$1,082 – $2,164) per month working full-time, while hourly-paid work usually comes in at around €15 – €25 (£13.88 – £23.13/$16.24 – $27) per hour. Those working in Paris as part of a teaching programme like TAPIF will usually be paid a monthly stipend in the region of €790 (£667/$845) per month, while a position at American Village Camps pays around €1170 (£1,081/$1,266) per month.
The cost of living in one of the world’s most visited cities is, unsurprisingly, high, with rents in the most popular neighbourhoods of Paris being out of reach for many teachers. But, if you’re willing to live a little further out, or you land yourself a job that comes with accommodation, you’ll find that most TEFL salaries are enough to cover monthly bills and living expenses. You should also have a little left over – usually just enough to enjoy the incredible food, drink and entertainment that Paris has to offer. Many who are teaching English in France in Paris also take on part-time, private tutoring work, which can help to give their monthly finances a boost and allow them to save or travel.
Find out more about Teaching English abroad salaries and what to expect.
English teaching jobs in Paris
English teaching jobs in Paris are much like the clothes you’ll see on the street during Paris Fashion Week – job types come in all shapes and sizes! The city is home to the highest number of TEFL jobs in France, with teaching opportunities that range from private language academies to international schools, universities to English teaching programmes, as well as au pair, private tutoring and summer camp placements.
With such a wide range of job postings, people at all stages of their careers will usually be able to find a position that suits them… but that doesn’t mean it’ll come easy. Competition for the best teaching jobs is high, especially those at the city’s top international schools and universities.
Au pair positions – both live-in and live-out – as well as summer camps and private language schools remain the most popular way to teach English in France. For non-EU citizens, obtaining a student visa and working part-time as a TEFL teacher is also a possibility.
Whatever teaching job you choose to go for, you’ll have the most luck in securing a position if you visit in person. And don’t worry if you don’t have bags of experience – many schools in France prefer young, enthusiastic applicants over qualified, older and experienced teachers.
Remember that private lessons are incredibly popular too. Once you’re settled into your new life in Paris, you’ll no doubt be asked to give extra English lessons to friends, colleagues and students. While not usually enough to live on alone, private tutoring can be a great way to boost your monthly income.
Read on to discover the different types of schools you can work at in Paris.
Schools in Paris
Many TEFL teachers in Paris can find work at a private language school or academy, usually teaching Business English to adults or helping students with extra lessons outside of their regular school hours. Depending on what qualifications they are looking for, these schools can sometimes help teachers to get their work visas, making it one of the most popular options for those hoping to find a secure job and regular monthly pay. Many will require their teachers to have a degree and at least a little teaching experience, and those with a teaching qualification from their home country will find themselves better placed for the more well-paid roles.
International schools are another option for those with experience and qualifications, alongside universities in Paris. Positions at both types of schools are extremely competitive, meaning a newbie TEFL teacher should probably look for another way into working in Paris.
Summer schools and camps are very popular in France, running during the summer holidays for anything from just two weeks to three months. A TEFL certification is the only qualification typically required, along with bags of enthusiasm and energy, making them a great option for first-time TEFL teachers in Paris.
If you want to work in a public school in Paris, one of the best ways is to become an English Teaching Assistant through a government-backed English teaching programme. Keep reading to find out more about this type of teaching in Paris.
English teaching programmes in Paris
Government English teaching programmes place people throughout France and, while there’s no guarantee you’ll get your first choice, it’s possible to request Paris as your preferred location. These programmes will usually offer a monthly stipend and help to find nearby accommodation (often with a host family) as well as ongoing support for the duration of your placement.
There are several different kinds of English teaching programmes throughout France but by far the most well-known is the TAPIF programme for Americans.
Led by the French Government, the Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) offers 7-month positions for American citizens between the ages of 20-35 to work in elementary and secondary schools. With a decent stipend, free accommodation, working visa sponsorship and only 1000 places available each year, TAPIF is an extremely popular and competitive programme.
To be eligible to apply for a position, you’ll need to:
- Be an American citizen between the age of 20-35
- Have a degree (or be currently studying towards one)
- Have 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
- Hold a TEFL qualification (not a technical requirement but it’s extremely hard to get a placement without one)
To apply for TAPIF you’ll need to submit all your documents (showing your qualifications, experience and French-language abilities) before the end of the application window in January and pay the one-off fee of $80. During the application stage, you can state your preference for a placement in Paris, although there is no guarantee that this is where you’ll end up.
Successful candidates will then be offered a contract running from October – April, which will include a monthly stipend of €790 (£667/$845) and healthcare. Although free accommodation isn’t provided, TAPIF does help applicants to find appropriate accommodation near their placement locations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are English teachers in high demand in Paris?
Yes! There’s a higher demand for English teachers in Paris than anywhere else in the country. You can find work teaching English to young learners as an au pair, private tutor or at a summer camp, to adults learning English at a private language school or as part of an English teaching programme like TAPIF.
Q. How much does an English teacher in Paris make?
Salaries for English teachers in Paris tend to be on the higher end of the scale for teaching in France but are often lower compared to those of other teach abroad destinations in Europe. On average, TEFL teachers will usually make between €1,000 – €2,000 (£926 – £1,852/$1,082 – $2,164) per month working full time, while those being paid hourly can expect around €15 – €25 (£13.88 – £23.13/$16.24 – $27) per hour.
Q. What qualifications do I need to teach English in France?
To teach English in France you will usually need a TEFL certification from an accredited provider, a bachelor’s degree in any subject and some previous experience. Most employers tend to favour native English speakers, as well as those who have some basic French.
Q. How do I become a teacher in Paris?
For EU citizens or those able to work in France without sponsorship, finding teaching work in Paris is relatively easy and can be done in person after you’ve arrived in the country. For others, including those applying to English teaching programmes like TAPIF, you’ll need to have your visa and work arranged before you leave your home country.
Q. Is it hard to get a job in Paris?
Paris is one of the world’s most well-known destinations, which also makes it an incredibly popular place to live. Competition for teaching jobs can be high, but with the right attitude and plenty of determination, even those at the beginning of their TEFL journey can usually find work teaching English in Paris.