How to Teach English in France
If you have ever given a thought to actually living in la Ville des Lumières or walking through the streets of France, it is good to know that teaching English can be a suitable career option in order to go ahead and turn this dream to reality. France is known for its culture, cuisine and romantic getaways. The country attracts thousands of tourists from all around the world each year, which in turn entails for more and more locals to be able to converse in the English language; to help local businesses flourish and generate more jobs for the natives. Moreover, people travel to other parts of the country for different purposes such as seeking jobs or getting enrolled in the top universities in native-English countries, which requires them to be fluent in English. The need to learn the English language has created a good job market for native-English teachers.
One may wonder if getting a teaching job in France is as easy as it sounds. Although the job market in France is flourishing, it, unfortunately, does not make getting a job any easier. It has its own hurdles and lists of prerequisites, although your chances of getting a job, improve significantly if you visit France yourself. In- person interviews have a better chance at recruitment in France. It might not only be a chance worth taking if you want to gain international experience in the field of teaching but what better place to do so than the country of Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, croissants, and baguettes itself.
Requirements for teaching English in France
- Bachelor’s degree – A BA or BS degree is typically required by most institutions. For higher education institutions you may need a Master’s degree.
- TEFL, TESOL or CELTA Certification – Although not required by all institutes, having one of these certifications will uplift your resume and improve your chances of getting high-paying jobs. You can get TEFL certification through:
- A 4 week ITA Toulouse TEFL program at France’s very own La Ville Rose. Each program costs $1500-2000 USD (and more for accommodation and living);
- 4 Week programs in 25 other countries;
- A 170 hour Online TEFL certification class;
- A 4-5 week CELTA program.
- Or you can get it from your native country as well.
- A French Resume – Not compulsory but translating your resume to French will not only make your resume stand out, but it will also influence local employers to pass the cultural gap in your favor.
- Visa – If you are a resident of an EU country, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland, you can typically work in France legally without a visa or work permit. However, being a resident of the USA or other non-EU countries, it may be difficult for you to obtain a working visa for France owing to the country’s policies. A legal alternative to the working visa is Student Visa. This type of visa allows applicants to take around 20 hours of French language courses and then be able to teach English as a job. Although this visa option may seem daunting because of the cost, it may be easier to get than a working visa, providing a more accessible option for those seeking to work in France.
- Requirements for the Student Visa
- A working passport
- Degree and other documentation
- Confirmation of registration with Campus France- for which you need to create an account and submit an online application to campus France, pay the $180 fee, mail the required paperwork including the receipt of payment to their given address. In about 3 weeks, you should receive a confirmation email from Campus France, which allows you to apply for a visa.
- A cover letter explaining the purpose of the visit.
- Proof of funds, bank statements etc.
- Medical insurance certificate
- OFII form (Office Français de Immigration et d’Intégration)
- Valid travel documents including a ticket copy
- Proof of residence in France
- Any other documents as per requirement
The cost of obtaining this particular visa is around $300 USD excluding the cost of French courses you register for. Although expensive, it’s a great opportunity to brush up your French skills or learn an entirely new language, and be able to teach English in an international country.
Teach English in France with CELTA
CELTA is a Certification for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The course is offered by Cambridge English Language Assessment, which is recognized by the Cambridge English Teaching Qualification Centre.
- CELTA vs TEFL – Unlike TEFL, CELTA is specifically associated with Cambridge itself and is thus considered far more prestigious than other TEFL programs, owing to the strict standards schools must stick to, in order to be certified from Cambridge. Hence, it is often listed as a prerequisite to some job titles since it is internationally recognized. The CELTA can be taken both, full-time (a 4-week program) or part-time (can be taken in up to 3 months), the duration for TEFL can vary widely, from 20-300 class hours depending on your choice of course. CELTA curriculum requires six hours of practice teaching with real ESL learners, whereas not all TEFL courses cover that area of learning. In terms of intensity and difficulty, CELTA is considered a full-time commitment, leaving little or no opportunity for other activities whereas TEFL courses can be completed in part online or over weekends, providing more flexibility for other work. As prestigious as CELTA is, it comes with the cost of around $1500-400 USD depending on your choice of school. TEFL, on the other hand, can cost as little as $200 USD.
- Benefits of CELTA – CELTA is internationally recognized, which gives you a better chance at jobs that might otherwise not be available to less accredited TEFL courses. Even if jobs are open to TEFL certified applicants, a CELTA certification might have your resume be put on priority. Since CELTA is controlled by Cambridge itself, there is a certainty and regularity to it in terms of courses and enrolments. Almost all countries have CELTA certified schools, allowing you to complete your training in your home country.
What types of jobs can you get in France?
- Private Schools
- Requirements to get a private school job – As stated above, you need the basic prerequisites, i.e. a valid work permit/ working visa or student visa, a bachelor’s degree in BA/BS or a higher qualification depending on what some schools ask for, and, a CELTA or TEFL certification. You have a better chance if your country of origin lists English as her first language, and you have a certification proving your fluency in the English language. Some, but not all private schools might require proof of residency if they are not providing accommodation. Usually, knowing the French language isn’t statutory but it does bridge the cultural gap with local employers and makes it easier for you to live and converse in France in the longer run.
- Salary and benefits – Salaries at Private schools can range from $900-2000 USD depending on the school, its locality and the level you get to teach. The higher the levels the greater the salary, but it varies. Some private institutions provide accommodation, cellular connection packages, and free French classes, while others don’t. Also, the working hours in private schools are more flexible compared to government-run schools. Lastly, jobs at private schools are easier to land, with less stipulation and less paperwork to handle.
- Private language schools – Private language schools are made for both children and adults, to help them learn a foreign language. They usually enroll batches for weeks-long programmes that teach basic language-related skills to pupils. Some of the language schools are:
- Inlingua, EFL English First, IFG Langues, Eurocentres and Riviera.
- Requirements – Not so differently from the private schools, you will need, a bachelor’s degree, a TEFL/CELTA certification, varying degrees of work experience (as required by your employer) and other documents such as ID, transcripts and insurance certificates. You may need to be present in France on a valid visa, for in-person interviews.
- Salary and benefits – Private language school teachers can make around $1500-2300 USD per month. Private language schools are usually unorthodox, providing more flexible hours and requiring less commitment
- Public schools
- Requirements – The same as above, a visa, TEFL/CELTA certification, and a degree are required. Public schools demand variable degrees of French fluency since that is the main language other lectures are conducted in. you have to be mindful of the hiring months, which are late September, early October, and January.
- Salary and benefits – Although getting a job at a public school is relatively difficult for people living abroad, it might be worth trying for. The salary can range from $1800-2000 USD, some employment packages come with accommodation and other added benefits. Since they are state-controlled, public schools have a certain degree of regularity to them, guaranteeing better job security and long term benefits.
- Requirements – In addition to the above, you may need more than just a bachelor’s degree to apply for university-level positions; a Master’s degree in language might be needed by employers. An extensive skill set can uplift your resume, such as being bilingual, prior teaching experience and other certifications that prove your command over the English language. You can also land these jobs via exchange programs in your country, giving you a chance to not only teach but also study abroad in France.
- Salary and benefits – University level jobs are better paying; you can earn as much as $33000-62000 USD each year. Most but not all, universities provide added incentives like accommodation, health insurance, cellular connection, and some institutions might even work with you to get you a visa. You can apply to any open lecteur/lectrice d’anglais or a maître de langue (the latter pays more) positions at universities of your choice. Some major universities with good English programs in known cities of France are Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris, Sorbonne University, Université de Lorraine, University of Reims.
- Work as a language assistant
- What is a language assistant? A language assistant is basically a teacher’s assistant that helps a teacher of foreign language deliver lectures/workshops, based on the assistant’s native language, which in our case is English. So as an English language assistant, you can go to France and assist French teachers with lectures in regards to the English language.
- Requirements – You must speak English as a native language and have a B1 level French. These can be assessed based on your applications and reference letters, or transcripts (if any) that prove it. You need a valid passport and a valid visa. It is imperative that you have completed at least 3 years of secondary school and obtained GCSEs/A-levels or equivalent qualification. Some programs also ask you for a criminal record check and health check.
- Salary and benefits – You can expect to earn $800-900 USD per month but it depends on the programs you apply through. The schedule is not as intense compared to other jobs, with a maximum of 12 working hours per week. It allows you to work under experienced people in the field, giving you exposure and strengthening your CV. Working as an assistant is a great way to give yourself a head start if you plan to teach English abroad sometime and also to improve your own fluency in French.
- Summer English Language Camps – Summer Language camps are designed for kids to learn the English language over their summer vacation, employing the learning with a fun idea involving extracurricular activities like sports, roleplays, team assignments etc. It is a great place if you’re looking for a something short term requiring less commitment, and also get to know if English teaching is something you want to do and have some fun while you’re at it. Such jobs can pay around $700-800 USD but it varies. You usually don’t require a lot more than a high school diploma and a valid visa to land these jobs, making it hassle-free.
- Teach through the British Council
- How does it work – You can apply for British council Teach English abroad as an English language assistant Program, where they can place you in France (or any country abroad) for up to one paid year working as an English language assistant. You can refer to the British Council’s official website and check if you meet the for France eligibility criteria, in case you do, you can apply online right away and go from there.
- Requirements to qualify
- Native level English
- Age 35 or below
- B1 level French
- The UK, Irish or EU passport
- 3 years of secondary school education and GCSs/ A Levels or equivalent qualification obtained in the UK
- Two years of university education
- Criminal record check
- Salary and other benefits – You will be paid around €964.88 per month but it amounts to around €800 after social security deductions. You have the ability to explore France and its territories while earning, so if you’re not really in for a full-time contract commitment, this might be the thing you’re looking for. Accommodation is often provided for most placements. There is special consideration for people that require assistance due to medical or other reasons. Since the British Council is internationally recognized, working with them not only adds to your resume but provides you with the chance to work with some very experienced individuals in the field.
- TAPIF Language Assistant
- What is TAPIF – Teaching Assistant Program in France is a joint effort of the French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d’études pédagogiques (CIEP) and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. It appoints teacher assistants for a 7-month contract lasting from the start of October to the end of April. Teaching Assistants work for 12 hours per week teaching English to French students of all ages. Applicants apply online on their official website if they’re eligible to do so.
- Proficiency in French
- Should have completed 3 years of a bachelor’s degree program
- Work Visa- which is easier to get for TAPIF due to its association with the French embassy itself
- Two letters of recommendation
- Salary and Benefits – TAPIF jobs pay around €790 per month. It is comparatively easier for applicants of the TAPIF program to get a work visa, since it is a joint venture by French institutions. You do not require a TEFL certification in order to apply, saving you the cost of that, but it will definitely help your resume if you have one.
There are a number of positions available, meaning you have a greater chance of being accepted into the programme if you meet the requirements. This kind of job does not have an experience proviso and allows for flexibility given the limited working hours, meaning you will have time to explore France or work other part-time jobs.
Challenges of teaching English in France
- If you are not an EU citizen, you may find it hard to get a work visa
- Most of the teaching opportunities are governed by the government’s program TAPIF
- Salary may not be as handsome as offered by some other countries such as Spain
- Cost of living may be higher
- Visa Restrictions – It is increasingly difficult for non-EU citizens to obtain a work visa or work permit leaving them with the alternative to get a student visa which requires time, effort and is expensive.
- Fewer Opportunities – While TAPIF provides ample positions and most applicants are accepted into the programme, it governs most teaching job opportunities. Meaning there is a lesser chance for native English speakers to land public/private school or university level jobs over local applicants.
- Limited Salary – Since you mostly have to pay for airfare and accommodation, the salary might just break even with your cost of living, leaving little or no money to save at the end of each month. The pay might also seem less comparing the same amount of working hours to countries like Spain, that pay a lot more for the same duration of hours.
Do I need to learn French to teach English in France?
It is not obligatory for most jobs but jobs with TAPIF and the British council teaching assistant program require some level of command over the French language. That said, learning French will only benefit you if you want to be able to live in France, making it easier for you to converse with locals and adjust well into the culture.
What is the best time to look for a job in France?
The best time to apply for teaching jobs in France is in January, September, and October as most contracts expire late in June, leaving new openings for different positions.
For summer schools, applications start in late June and early July, since that’s when summer vacation starts in France.
What are the working hours for an English teacher in France?
Working hours vary for Teachers depending on the institute and the job. Public and Private schools usually have 20-25 hours of work per week, university level jobs require up to 30 hours of work per week or more depending on the job title. Teaching assistant jobs are more flexible and require as less as 12 hours per week, with the option of adding up to six more hours.
Can I teach in France without a degree?
Although you might be able to get some kind of summer school teaching job without a degree, most other school positions require at least a bachelor’s degree for you to be able to apply for jobs. Moreover, University level jobs might require a master’s degree as a prerequisite.
Which cities offer more English teaching jobs in France?
Bigger cities such as Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, and Toulouse have better opportunities for prospective English teachers. These cities are more developed and have been receiving an influx of tourists, so are more accustomed to English speaking visitors, making it easier for them to live in these cities.
These cities also have better-developed education systems, most of France’s’ top universities and schools reside in Paris and surrounding cities, hence providing better job opportunities. Most of the country’s language learning centers are also located in these cities.
Better infrastructures in these cities make it easier to travel from here. The public transport is excellently developed, increasing feasibility and cutting the cost of acquiring and maintaining private transport.
Can I save money by teaching English in France?
Unfortunately, English teachers in France barely break even in terms of salaries and cost of living. The average cost of living in France, including accommodation, groceries, convenience is calculated to be approximately $1,800 – 2,400 USD (1,500 – 2,000 EUR) per month. That does not include the cost of settling down in France, which includes visa (that would be more expensive if you’re opting for a student visa), security deposits and paperwork, all of it calculates to be around $3,100 – 4,200 USD (2,500 – 3,400 EUR). Coming to salaries, which can vary depending on your job position, institution, the level you’re teaching at and city you’re working in, on average an English teaching job pays anything around $900 – 2,000 USD (700 – 1,600 Euro) per month.
Given those statistics, it can be seen that cost living and starting up is usually higher than average salaries in France. Although some public schools and universities provide accommodation, that is not always the case, so to answer the question, no. It is rare to be able to save money working as an English teacher in France.
How to become an ESL teacher if you cannot travel to France?
Although the options are limited, you can teach English in France online, one such opportunity is provided with VIPKID.
VIPKID is the largest online language school that is basically a virtual classroom which teaches English to the students from China. You teach using the latest video call technology, showing lesson slides and enabling the student and teacher to be able to look and converse with each other. The lessons involve speaking activities from prepared lectures and fun activities that the teacher can plan using props and other material.
Benefits of working with VIPKID
- Working hours are usually flexible; you can choose your own work hours from early mornings or weekend evenings. If you work another job, you can adjust a VIPKID job in your schedule additionally to earn some extra cash.
- You get international teaching experience from the comfort of your home
- No hassle of traveling, you also save the cost of transportation
- Working from home is feasible for a number of people who cannot leave home due to medical or personal reasons
- The salary is usually between 16-22 USD per hour, for two 25-28 minute classes.
Requirements for getting hired by VIPKID
- A valid work permit in USA or Canada
- A bachelor’s degree
- One year of experience working with kids.
In monetary terms, France might not be the best choice if you’re planning to teach English abroad. But with its many historic landmarks and the general aesthetics, living in France would be a privilege in itself. If the thought of cruising through the streets of Paris, seeing the Eiffel tower from your window and being able to uplift your Instagram while earning money teaching your language, appeals to you, it might just be a chance worth taking.