Teaching English in France

Get a TEFL Certificate

The first thing you will need is an accredited TEFL Certificate to be considered for an English teaching job in France.  Some schools will consider a teacher with a lot of experience that do not have a TEFL certificate, but the better and more reliable schools will insist on a TEFL certificate.

Choosing the right school

There are plenty of academies or private language schools out there, including around 300 in Paris alone, but the reality is some are much better than others, and some are worth avoiding completely.  Do your research and ask to speak to other teachers before accepting a teaching position.  Look out for corporate crooks. Chains of language schools are usually an easy option for getting a quick teaching position, but will not necessarily be the most intellectually stimulating, and will often work out as the worst option financially.  It’s easier to concentrate your job searches around the established academies, as they often have the biggest staff numbers and turnover of teachers. However it might pay off to spend some time looking elsewhere.

Know your salary

In terms of pay, €1,200 after tax per month is the absolute minimum wage you should envisage in Paris, although slightly less could be feasible elsewhere in France.  Make sure the job you get allows you this salary, or the time to do other teaching work to supplement your salary.  Remember that the French take, on average, 5-10 weeks holiday each year and you may not be paid during the time your students are on holiday, depending on your contract.

Consider travel time for classes you will be teaching

A love of travel is why most English teachers end up doing what they do, but travel can also cause many to give it up.  Paris and the surrounding Île-de-France region is a huge area, and academies will soon have you travelling to teach at companies far and wide, and your time spent on a [regional] RER train will normally not be paid.  Make sure you find out during the interview how much travel will be required and how it is remunerated. If you teach for three hours but have to travel for five, your day works out much longer, and your hourly rate takes a big blow.

Get your CV out there

Sending a CV is still the best way of getting a job at a language school. The best time to send them off is June and July, before the new term starts. This is when a lot of teachers move on and schools are desperately hunting for new recruits.

What about a work visa

France is a country in which many ESL teachers envision themselves teaching. Although France appears to be the ideal teaching location, its inclusion in the European Union (EU) makes obtaining a work visa quite difficult for non-EU citizens and the process is lengthy. Typically, a sponsoring employer must prove that there are no qualified EU citizens who could fill the position in question. Given that the UK and Ireland are members of the EU, native English language ability alone is usually not sufficient to support this claim. Applicants must prove that they have additional expertise that makes them unique among EU candidates.


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