The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in France
France is consistently ranked as the number one tourist destination in the world, and it draws the eyes of aspiring ESL teachers everywhere. As a hub for art, culture, and history spanning thousands of years, it’s not difficult to see why.
Teaching English in France allows you to be fully immersed in the culture while earning an income and beefing up your resume. However, snagging a job in France is notoriously difficult, especially for those without EU citizenship.
Snapshot of Teaching English in France
Avg. Salary: $890-2,000+/month
Teaching Hours: 12 hours/week for TAPIF, 18-25+ hours
Duration of contract: 1-7 months
Peak hiring season: January and September
School term: September - June/July
Visa requirements: Long-term visa D for TAPIF, a student visa to tutor privately, EU citizenship
Why Teach English in France?
Although teaching English in France can be difficult for Americans, it's well worth the effort. Besides the fact that France is a beautiful country, it also offers a fantastic opportunity to gain a global perspective, whether as a gap year or a stepping stone towards a career in education.
Read More: Is Teaching Abroad Alone Safe for Women?
Typical Requirements to Teach English in France
To teach English in France, you must first confirm that you’re eligible. You must:
- Be a native-English speaker from the U.S., Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the EU
- Have a Bachelor’s degree in any field
- Possess proof of intermediate French ability with a B1 certificate or higher
TEFL certification is not always required to teach English in France, particularly with the TAPIF program. However, it does give your application a competitive edge - and the TAPIF program and other teaching jobs in France are very competitive. Additionally, if you’d like to teach English full-time, you’ll need a reputable CELTA or TEFL certificate.
Types of Teaching Jobs in France
Tutor Privately While Studying French on a Student Visa
One unique way to teach in France is while attending school! International students can work 20 hours a week on a student visa, and working as a private English tutor is a popular way to earn an income while studying.
Private tutors can earn between €15-€25 per hour ($17-$28). Students can also teach English online and earn $15-$20 per hour.
Become a Counselor at an English Summer Camp
Teaching English at a summer camp in France is an excellent short-term employment opportunity. Some of the most popular camps include American Village Camps, Abbey Road, and IBS of Provence. Camp counselors are native English speakers responsible for leading ESL classes and other fun camp activities. Most camps run in the summer, but there are also limited year-round opportunities. Camp counselors can earn up €1,170 per month, sometimes with the additional benefit of provided housing and food. The only catch, however, is that you must be eligible for work authorization in France. One of the most common visas counselors apply for is the VLS-TS (long-stay visa).
Teach Full Time With Dual Citizenship
Those with EU citizenship and French ability can find a full-time teaching job in France in language academies, universities, and public, private, or international schools. But you’ll also need a degree in education and a teaching license to secure this type of teaching job.
The average salary for full-time teaching positions can range between €1,000-2,000 ($1,130-$2,260) per month based on experience and location.
Teach with the TAPIF Program
TAPIF, or the "Teaching Assistant Program in France," is one of the best ways for Americans to live and work in France. The program hires young adults from the U.S. to work as teaching assistants in France's public elementary and secondary schools.
The position requires only 12 hours of work each week, and participants receive a stipend of €785 ($890) per month to cover the cost of living. TAPIF participants struggling financially can sign up for France's Caisse d'Allocations Familiales (CAF) program that helps with the cost of housing.
The main TAPIF requirements are that you must be between 20-35 years old, have a bachelor’s degree or at least three years of higher education, and speak French at a B1 level. Having a TEFL certificate and experience teaching or working with kids is not required but preferred.
How to Apply to the TAPIF Program
To apply to the TAPIF program, you must submit your application on the TAPIF online portal and pay the $80 application fee. Applications are typically due in January every year, and successful candidates are notified in April.
You'll need to submit your personal information and professional qualifications, proof of your French-speaking abilities, and a personal statement in French about why you wish to teach in France.
You cannot choose where you’re placed in France, but you can list three preferred regions on your application. The program tries to put teachers at one of their top three, but it's not guaranteed.
Learn more about the TAPIF program.
Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.
First-time English teachers often dream of teaching in highly sought-after destinations like Paris. While the city has a high number of job opportunities, they're usually extremely competitive. Not to mention, the local cost of living can be too expensive for an English teacher's salary.
However, plenty of mid-sized and small cities offer excellent opportunities to teach English in France. Here are some to consider:
Marseille is a port city on the southern coast, and it’s a common place for TAPIF teachers and other English teachers to settle down. Many end up living outside of the city center and commuting to work.
Lyon is another big city in eastern France that’s slightly cheaper than Paris, but still pricey. Most teachers flock to the outskirts of Lyon or its surrounding towns to save while still enjoying the region.
Bordeaux is nestled in southwestern France's wine country and is a popular place to teach thanks to its numerous opportunities and significantly cheaper cost of living.
Aspiring English teachers should also consider France's smaller or lesser-known destinations. Places like Strasbourg, Montpellier, and Aix-en-Provence can offer an excellent quality of life that's much more affordable.
Get a bit of insight into what it’s like to teach English in France with some of these helpful blog posts and online resources.
- TEFL + TAPIF by CIEE TEFL
- Budgeting for Our Year with TAPIF by The Francofile
- Hindsight is 20/20: Looking for Housing as a TAPIF assistant or other expats living in France by She Seeks Adventure
- TAPIF Pros and Cons by Adventures with Shelby
Although not required for TAPIF, an internationally recognized CELTA or TEFL certificate with at least 120-hours can ensure your application stands out from the crowd. Summer camps hiring in France also prefer applicants with a TEFL certification.
Additionally, a TEFL training with a mandatory practicum, or in-class teaching practice, provides you with the essential skills and confidence needed to lead an English class successfully.
CIEE TEFL’S 150-Hour TEFL Certification
CIEE TEFL is one of the best options for those dreaming of teaching abroad in France. As an internationally recognized and trusted brand, CIEE has a proven track record of helping graduates successfully secure jobs teaching English.
CIEE TEFL 150-hour course features:
- 130 hours of ACCET accredited coursework
- 20 hour TEFL practicum
- Instruction by highly qualified TEFL tutors
- Lifetime job search assistance
- Course completion online in just three months
On average, an ESL teacher in France earns between $800-$2,000/month, but how much you can earn depends highly on the type of job and your qualifications.
For example, TAPIF teaching assistants earn about $800 per month, whereas qualified teachers with a teaching license and a higher degree can make $1,800-$2,000+/month.
Cost of Living in France
The cost of living in France can be pretty expensive, and living in the middle of Paris or other big cities is often too expensive for English teachers. However, expats in France find that their average monthly costs fall between €700-€1,200/month.
While most TAPIF participants are responsible for finding an apartment, some schools can provide their assistants free or affordable housing in student dormitories. Rent for a bedroom in the school’s dorm can range between €150-200 per month.
English teachers in France without housing assistance often find a one-bedroom or a flatshare with roommates on popular websites like leboncoin.fr and appartager. Rent in France can vary drastically, but it’s possible to find a room for €180-€300+ per month or a private apartment for between €450-€650+ or about €700-€1,000+ in Paris.
Lastly, another option is to find accommodation in a Foyer de Jeunes Travailleurs. Foyers are affordable residences reserved for low-income students and young working professionals between 15 and 30 years old.
Learn more about the cost of living in France.