Guide to teaching English in France
Looking for a sophisticated locale for your next teaching job? France has a lot to offer English speakers, who are highly sought after to complement the highly well-run French education system. If you have a strong background in teaching and several years of relevant work experience, teaching in France will allow you to round out your resume.
Children as young as nine months old are taught conversational English, and there are ample opportunities to contribute to learners of all ages. In addition, many French companies have recognized the importance of English language tuition for staff, and teachers with experience in key industrial areas are in high demand.
With a wide range of cities and positions available, teaching in France offers you the opportunity to experience the fantastic French culture and to gain valuable experience operating from within one of the world’s most revered education systems.
Interested in teaching English in France? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to learn more about teaching jobs, average salaries and benefits, and how to become an English teacher in France!
Types of Teaching Jobs in France
There are several options for English teachers in France. You can work independently as a private tutor or through an agency specializing in finding full-time or part-time positions as an English teacher. If you're looking for something more casual, you can also get hired on a per-hour basis at most universities and high schools throughout the country. Because most universities are government-funded, they offer more competitive salaries than other places where you'd teach.
Private Elementary & Secondary Schools
French private elementary and secondary schools are competitive and expect a lot from their teaching staff. However, they offer a fantastic environment to continue developing as they are incredibly well-resourced. The staff is motivated and has an engaged student body with many opportunities to learn about the French curriculum.
Private English Language Schools
In France, private English language schools are more flexible in their qualification requirements. They’ll usually expect you to hold a Bachelor's degree -– any degree –- and have a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (CELTA) qualification, plus relevant work experience. You can still apply if you hold a lesser teaching qualification, but some schools may choose not to recognize it.
Tutoring for the Workforce
The French Chamber of Commerce and large private companies hire native English speakers to up-skill specific groups within the workforce. If you hold particular expertise in marketing, engineering, or the medical sector, you may want to consider teaching English in France to adults in a workplace setting.
Teaching Assistant Programs
Several organizations, such as the Alliance Francaise, offer Teaching Assistant positions for up to seven months. If you are a fluent French speaker, this is an excellent opportunity to gain experience in France and see if you enjoy living immersed in the culture. This role is geared toward young college graduates and does not require a specific qualification beyond a Bachelor’s degree, only proficiency in the French language.
Average salary and benefits for teaching English in France
An English teacher's monthly salary in France is between $1,498-$3,968 USD. Your monthly income will depend on the school you work at, your qualifications, and the benefits of your teaching contract. Some schools offer additional benefits like housing and health insurance, while others do not. If you are considering teaching English in France, it's essential to get all the details about these benefits before accepting a job offer, so you know what your total salary will look like each month.
Common benefits included for English teachers in France
As an English teacher in France, you can expect to receive some very valuable benefits:
- Health insurance: You need to pay for the French health insurance system. If you don’t have a private health insurance policy, you can cover yourself through the public system.
- Paid vacation: You will get 25 days of paid leave per year, plus every other holiday on your working day (Christmas, Easter).
- Paid sick days: At least 20% of your salary will be paid out if you stay home for illness or family reasons. However, this is capped at 750 euros per month in average gross income for one year.
- Transportation expenses: Transportation costs associated with going to work (such as train tickets) will also be reimbursed at certain times throughout the year based on how many days were worked during that period.
- Housing: It’s not uncommon for teachers who teach English in France to receive accessible accommodations while they live there.
- End of contract bonus: You will receive an additional compensation equal to 10% of your monthly gross salary at the end of the contract if all contractual obligations have been met by both parties (you and employer). The maximum amount paid as an end-of-contract bonus is one month’s gross salary (before taxes).
Cost of living in France
- Food: $300 - $500 (depending on eating habits)
- Transportation: $80-$120 (public transit pass vs. taking a taxi once a month)
- Entertainment (movies, bars/clubs, etc.): $50 - $135 (going out once vs. twice a month)
- Housing:$1,300 (1 bedroom in the city center)
Where and how to find housing
The first thing to do is get your name on the list for a housing allowance. This will depend on whether you are single or married or have children, so it's best to ask your school about the specifics.
If you're looking to rent a private apartment or room, Airbnb is a great option. You can also check Craigslist or LeBonCoin (a French classified ad site) for available apartments for rent. However, if Airbnb or Craigslist aren't your thing, don't worry! Many Facebook groups are dedicated to teachers who want to move abroad and live with other English-speaking people. These groups often have pages where users post listings of available rooms and apartments at any given time of the year—from summertime through the winter months when most schools close down.
Another option is checking out local newspapers in your target area; they often advertise short-term rental opportunities on their pages and provide details about pricing structures. Finally, you could try contacting local real estate agencies directly since they tend to have more resources than just what's listed online via websites alone.
Where to teach English in France
As with starting a job in any new country, it's essential to do your research before coming to France. Start by exploring these major teaching cities in France:
Teach English in Paris
Paris is the most popular destination for teachers heading to France. This is because it holds so much history and culture, from iconic building architecture to museums and landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral. But, unfortunately, it's also the most competitive city to find a job in and the most expensive.
Teach English in Lyon
Lyon is popular with teachers interested in tutoring adults in a business setting. Lyon is a beautiful city with lots of things to do, see and enjoy. There are plenty of excellent restaurants, cafes, and bars that make for an enjoyable night out. The weather is also highly agreeable year-round; even during winter, there isn’t much snowfall in this area, so you can still enjoy going outside without bundling up. Plus, plenty of museums are nearby, like the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon or Cité du Design (formerly known as Le Wagon). The cost of living here is relatively high compared to other areas, but if you want something more urban than Paris but not quite as big as Marseilles, this might be your best bet!
Teach English in Bordeaux
Bordeaux is the capital of Aquitaine, a region in southwestern France. It is a lovely city on the banks of the Garonne River in southwestern France and one of the most important wine-producing cities in the world, but it's also home to many other industries, including textiles and chemicals. In addition, it's home to many vineyards, which has an excellent wine-making tradition. You can also enjoy hiking, kayaking, and other outdoor activities in Bordeaux's many parks and green spaces.
Teach English in Marseille
Marseille is another excellent choice if you're looking to teach English in France! The city has become increasingly popular with international students and offers many educational opportunities for its residents. In addition, you will be able to enjoy a good work/life balance while experiencing both urban excitement and quiet seaside charm at every turn.
How to get a job teaching English in France
To get a job teaching English in France, you'll need to research the requirements for the job you're looking for. You can also prepare a great resume and cover letter highlighting your previous work experience and qualifications.
Where to find English teaching jobs in France
Most roles are advertised online, even in France's smaller towns and cities. If you are interested in tutoring English in a company, you can also contact the local French Chamber of Commerce, which may be able to connect you with a local organization seeking a tutor. In addition, many private English language school jobs are available through Go Overseas. When applying online, you can expect to supply accredited versions of your degrees, and this will typically be followed up by a phone or Skype interview.
When to apply to English teaching jobs in France
Schools in France will work out their future teacher requirements in the first quarter of the year, advertising for teachers during the summer months. The academic year begins in September. If you would like to work in a private English language school or as a business tutor, you can contact employers at any stage of the academic year, as they tend to take on new teachers. You should allow at least six months to go through the process.
Qualifications needed for English teaching jobs in France
The French education system has high standards, reflected in their qualification requirements. To teach at an elementary or secondary school, you must hold a bachelor's degree in your area of specialization. However, a master's degree is preferred, and a license to teach in your home country. To work as a TEFL teacher, you are expected to hold a Bachelor’s degree (not necessarily related to teaching), relevant work experience of at least two years, and a CELTA or equivalent qualification.
Work visa for English teachers in France
Like most countries in Europe, European Union (EU) citizens are the first preference for employment in France. This is because France doesn’t require a working visa if you're from the EU. However, if you are from a country outside the EU, you have to gain sponsorship through an educational institution or program to obtain a French working and teaching visa.
While this was once very difficult due to many British and Irish EU citizens seeking work in France, Brexit may offer an opportunity for English-speaking non-EU citizens to obtain sponsorship. However, you should still be prepared for a lengthy process.
What’s it like to live & teach English in France
As an ESL teacher abroad, it’s essential that you take the time to research the country’s etiquette and classroom culture, as it can be vastly different from what you’re used to at home! ESL teachers should be respectful and understanding while adapting to a new classroom environment.
Classroom & work culture in France
The French school day is quite long, especially for older students, typically from 8 or 9 in the morning to 5 or 6 at night. However, most schools take an hour or two breaks during the day, and some even take a break during the middle of the week, where students can dedicate a day to an extracurricular activity. But, of course, this is all dependent on the individual school.
French students are courteous and studious, and families rally behind their children’s success. Unfortunately, this also means high engagement from parents, making life difficult from time to time.
Culture & etiquette tips in France
You must remember that the French have their customs and traditions—and if someone does something a little different than what you would normally do back home, don't get upset about it! They probably just have another way of doing things than what is customary where you're from.
- Greetings: You'll be expected to greet everyone with “bonjour” (hello) when in a shared space, particularly when entering a shop, and always BEFORE making a request or asking for help from a service worker. When greeting acquaintances, a kiss on both cheeks indicate your availability for each other.
- Language: The French are very proud of their history and culture. Demonstrating an effort to engage in the French language, even just asking “parlez-vous Anglais” (do you speak English?), will go a long way.
- Timing: Outside of business meetings in which promptness is expected, it's best to arrive after the indicated time when given time to show up at a function.
- Fashion: When meeting with clients or attending a business function, it's important to dress formally. Men often wear a suit and tie; women tend to wear fashionable yet modest clothing.
The French can also be quite direct, so you need to be patient and polite.
Ready to find your dream teaching program in France?
Start researching and comparing teaching programs here at Go Overseas in the Teaching Programs in France section below.
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Teaching Programs in France
How much are English teachers paid in France?
Teaching salaries will vary depending on your skills, teaching experience, and qualifications. On average, you can expect to earn between $800-$2,000 per month in France. For English teachers that hold higher degrees, you can typically start at $1,800 per month.
What are the qualifications to teach in France?
It's necessary to have a bachelor's degree to teach in an elementary or secondary school (sometimes a master's degree is required). You may also need to have a teaching license from your home country. Other teaching jobs usually require a bachelor's degree in any subject, previous teaching experience, and a teaching certification such as TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA.
Can I teach in France without a degree?
A bachelor's degree is typically required for paid teaching jobs in France. However, teaching as a volunteer, at summer camps, or as a private tutor may require a high school diploma instead of a completed university degree. Otherwise, it's possible to find teaching opportunities with just a TEFL certification.