A country full of century old churches, UNESCO world heritage sites, and enormous, luxurious palaces, France is full of living history around every corner. Aside from its history, delicious food, and fashion, France also has a high demand for English teachers, therefore completing TEFL certification in France can be a very beneficial endeavor. The cherry on top? Accredited TEFL certification courses are widely available in France.
Paris, Montpellier, and Lyon are excellent locations to participate in TEFL programs, because they are good places for individuals who have completed TEFL certification to look for jobs. The TEFL market in these three cities is much larger, and will have more schools offering jobs for English teachers.
The capital city of Paris is a prominent business and cultural center, a top world fashion capital, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. As a large, highly populated city that has had great deal of influence throughout history, there is always something new to see, discover, or learn in Paris. Paris is the easiest place for individuals to find teaching jobs in France because of its size and the sheer number of English language schools. It also has the most TEFL programs for participants to choose from.
Situated in the south of France along the Mediterranean coast, Montpellier has been one of France’s fastest growing cities for the past 25 years. A big university town filled with students, Montpellier offers TEFL program participants plenty of outdoor activities, from biking trails, to exploring white sand beaches, to nearby mountain hikes. With such a large student population, international teachers will have plenty of job opportunities in Montpellier after TEFL certification is complete.
In east-central France, you will find Lyon, a 2,000 year old city and UNESCO World Heritage site. As France's third largest city and a university town, there is a large population with a desire to learn the English language.
Courses & Programs
TEFL courses are offered online and in classroom formats throughout France. In-class programs typically last around four weeks and include 120 hours of training. During the course, students participate in classroom observation and practice teaching. Online TEFL courses are more independent, but still require teacher observation and assessed teaching hours to be completed. In some cases, students can even complete their teacher observation hours through online videos!
Participants of TEFL programs must be native English speakers or be at a native speaking level. For the most part, participants will not need an English teaching degree to participate, but most TEFL programs require a bachelors degree. At the end of the program, students take an exam that they must pass before becoming TEFL certified and begin teaching English abroad.
Salary & Costs
Certification programs typically cost anywhere from $900 to $2,500 USD. In France, ESL teachers earn an average of $1,900 to $2,750 USD a month for 20-25 hours of teaching per week. Higher salaries can be earned in bigger cities. Teachers will most likely have to pay French taxes, and some schools offer paid holidays.
France has a very high cost of living, especially in cities like Paris. The high cost of living paired with a teachers’ salary means that teachers will have to spend carefully in order to afford rent, pay for groceries, etc. The average cost of rent in Paris is $1,500 USD for a one bedroom apartment in the city center. An average meal at an inexpensive restaurant will be about $15 USD.
To save/earn extra money and make living in France more affordable, many teachers share apartments and teach private English lessons on the side.
Accommodation & Visas
Some TEFL programs in France offer housing assistance, or even the opportunity to stay with a host family. Once certified, certain French schools will offer their teachers assistance in finding housing, but will rarely reimburse them for housing costs or airfare. Living in apartments or flats with other teachers after certification is very common.
TEFL participants in France can obtain a student visa by participating in a government recognized TEFL program. With a student visa, you are legally able to teach for 20 hours per week.To apply for a student visa, US citizens need to apply at one of the French Consulates or Embassies and have a valid passport. It is important to allow plenty of time before departing for the visa application to be approved. If a teacher is planning on staying for longer than six months, they also must register with L’office français de l’immigration et de l’intégration (OFII).
Benefits & Challenges
Demand for English Teachers. France is starting to accept the fact that English is an important language to know as a member of the United Nations. This means that France has a high demand for English teachers, and teachers with the right qualifications can typically land a job with ease.
Difficulties for non-EU citizens. Unfortunately, teachers may have trouble finding a job in France if they aren’t a citizen of the EU. It can be a hassle for schools to work out visas because many EU citizens from the UK are native English speakers. As such, schools are more likely to hire UK citizens.