Meeting the Requirements to Teach English in France

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Native speakers of English who are traveling or living in France often wonder about the possibility of earning some income by teaching English to French students. There is a high demand for English teachers in France, so there are jobs available. However, as with any other job, requirements must be metand qualifications are needed before it is possible to earn money by teaching English in France.

French Work Visas

In France, teaching opportunities are not commonly offered “under the table” – without the need to meet French legal requirements for working in the country. Americans and other non-European Union citizens have a difficult time getting a work visa as schools and businesses have a strong preference for the simpler process of hiring EU citizens, who are generally allowed to work in France. 

Americans may be able to obtain a student visa by enrolling at a French language school. The student visa allows the holder to work in France. Another strategy is to get a job with an approved English language school in France. Once the school assigns you a teaching schedule, you can apply for a student visa. The French government’s Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) provides a job and covers all legal requirements. However, application is competitive, the program is open to ages 20-35 only, and there are upfront costs and many hoops to jump through in order to get into the program.

Citizens of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have it easier. They may also obtain a student visa, and people from these countries who are between 18-30 years old can get a working holiday visa authorizing a 12-month stay in France along with legal work privileges. Citizens of the UK (until Brexit is finalized) and other EU nations are positioned well for jobs teaching English in France. They are legally allowed to work in France and face no visa-related obstacles. 

Educational Qualifications

There is a broad variety of potential teaching situations that someone considering teaching English in France might encounter. Required educational qualifications vary as well, but the basics are a Bachelor’s degree and some teaching experience. Working in the formal education system at a public, private, or international school demands at least a Bachelor’s degree in English and an education certification. A Master’s degree and a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification are preferable.

Regarding qualifications specific to teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL), there is also a lot of variety out there. A Master’s degree in Second Language Studies , Linguistics, or Teaching English as a Second Language would of course be great. Far more common is the Bachelor’s degree/TEFL Certificate combination. The Cambridge CELTA Certificate is perhaps the most recognized and prestigious among certificate programs. It is also one of the most rigorous and expensive. Concerning TEFL, associated certificates range from those earned through university degree programs to the offerings of weekend quickie online courses.

Many employers will not closely investigate a prospective teacher’s educational qualifications. However, to gain advantage in a competitive job market and for your own confidence and competence in the classroom, choose a certificate program that is taught by Master’s-level instructors, requires at least 100 hours of coursework, and includes an observed teaching practicum – the longer the better.

Start Teaching in France

Jobs teaching English in France are there for people willing to do a bit of preparation and leg work. If you are a degreed UK citizen already living in France you have a major advantage. One strategy for would-be English teachers living with their families in France is to apply to become a host family for young French students in an immersion English study program. It’s a convenient way to get an easy leg-up on a teaching career. The other option is to hit streets looking for work the old-fashioned way. Whichever way you choose, rest assured there are teaching jobs in France for English speakers and with a little effort, you can grab one.

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