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How Much Do English Teachers Make in France?
Learn how much money you can make as a TEFL-certified teacher in France across various job types and explore recommended start-up costs and cost of living expenses.
Written By: Lynda Galea | Updated: June 29, 2023
Written By: Lynda Galea
Updated: June 29, 2023
France represents one of the most desirable destinations for teaching English due to the allure of learning the French language, its distinctive, high-class cuisine, wine, pastries, and desserts, its vast history, and its beautiful landscapes and architecture. As desirable as it may be, however, it does prove to be a more challenging location to teach in for those that do not hold European citizenship.
In this article, we explore how much money you can make teaching English in France and the expenses you will need to consider both in terms of start-up costs and your monthly cost of living.
Salaries for Teaching English in France
There is an extensive demand for English instruction in France and numerous opportunities throughout, especially in Paris, which is home to the largest ESL (English as a second language) job market in the country. There are several different teaching opportunities available for TEFL-certified teachers in France. ESL teachers who ultimately spend time teaching English in France do so via one of the following avenues:
- Teaching children and teenagers in public elementary and secondary schools as an assistant teacher through the government-operated TAPIF Program (Teaching Assistant Program in France);
- Teaching children and adults in private language schools while taking language classes on a student visa;
- Teaching English online or via private in-person tutoring while on the TAPIF Program or while taking language classes on a student visa.
Your salary will fluctuate depending on which teaching route you choose to pursue. On average, assistant English teachers in France on the TAPIF Program can expect to receive a net stipend of €790 per month (approx. $890 USD) with the option to earn an additional income of €15 - 25 ($17 - $28 USD) per hour through private tutoring and $5-$20 USD per hour teaching English online. Those teaching at a private language school can expect to make €1,000 - 2,000 ($1,130 - $2,260 USD) per month based on experience and location.
Let's explore each option and what you can expect to earn from them:
1. France TAPIF Program Salary
TAPIF, which stands for Teaching Assistance Program In France, is a program run by the French Ministry of Education and the Cultural Services of The French Embassy. The program places Americans between 20-35 years of age as assistant English teachers in public elementary and secondary schools throughout France. One of the major benefits of the TAPIF program is that it provides U.S. citizens with a viable and legal way to teach English in France on a long-stay work visa.
TAPIF teachers receive a net stipend of €790 euro a month (approx. $890 USD). This is typically enough to live modestly on although some teachers, particularly in bigger cities like Paris, find that it really isn't enough to survive comfortably on. Even though their long-stay visa does not provide a legal right to accept other jobs, many participants earn extra cash on the side by giving private tutoring lessons and/or babysitting.
Participants also receive basic health insurance through the French national health insurance system. Teachers are responsible for their own airfare and housing costs
Additional Reading: What is the TAPIF Program for Teaching English in France?
2. France Private Language School Salaries
Work & Student Visas for Teaching English in France
For English-teaching jobs at private language schools, a long-term work visa is required. This type of visa is very uncommon and near impossible to obtain for non-EU citizens as you need an employer to sponsor you in order to receive one. The majority of private language schools will not be willing to sponsor their English teachers as it is quite an expensive and long process.
Outside of TAPIF, the most common visa type for American citizens wanting to teach English in France is a student visa. Teachers need to take a minimum of 20 hours of French language courses (at a recognized language school or university in France) to qualify for a student visa, making them eligible to legally work in France while studying. A student visa must be obtained in the USA or your home country (it cannot be processed if you are already in France however, student visas can be renewed once you are in France). A student visa will allow you the legal right to apply for English-teaching jobs at a private language school.
Additional Reading: What Type of Visa Can I Use for Teaching English in France?
How much money can I make teaching English at a private language school in France?
Those that are able to secure teaching jobs at private language schools in France can expect to make €1,000 - €2,000 (approx. $1,130 - $2,260 USD) per month. Pay will fluctuate based on experience and where you are located, with teachers in larger cities like Paris and Marseille earning more than those teaching in smaller cities and towns.
3. France Private English Tutoring Salaries
Private tutoring ESL students is a common job type amongst English teachers in France. Teachers that choose this route are often:
- Teaching assistants on the TAPIF Program and take on some private tutoring students to help supplement their income;
- Teaching assistants on the TAPIF Program that not only teach English online to help supplement their income, but also take on some private tutoring students, too.
Getting clients for private lessons is a marketing exercise, and all the avenues that seem appropriate to your circumstances have to be explored. Here are some ways you can market yourself:
- Post notices in schools and universities, coffee shops, supermarkets, or corner shops;
- Run an advertisement in the local paper;
- Send notices to local public schools, announcing your willingness to work with local students on their English;
- Compile a list of addresses of professionals (lawyers, architects, etc.) who may need English for their work and have the resources to pay for it and then contact them;
- Call on export businesses, distribution companies, perhaps even travel agencies;
- Get ESL business cards made before you leave your home country that has your name, email address, and phone number on them.
How much money can I make private tutoring ESL students in France?
As a private ESL tutor in France, you should expect to charge and make around €15 - 25 ($17 - $28 USD) per hour for one-on-one lessons. Your rates should reflect your location, with teachers in larger cities like Paris being able to charge towards the higher end of that pay scale. If you are located in a smaller city or rural location, your rate of pay should be at the lower end of the pay range.
Something to keep in mind - a student may only be after a single private tutoring lesson, or a handful, and can withdraw from their lessons with you at any time. As a result, you should be cautious when trying to budget your private tutoring income too far into the future.
4. France Teaching English Online Salaries
Like private ESL tutoring, teaching English online is an extremely popular way for teachers to make money. Many ESL teachers in France do this to supplement their TAPIF stipend or while taking classes on a student visa to support themselves.
Teaching English online provides TEFL-certified teachers with the opportunity to make money from the comfort of their own home, with most teachers being able to make anywhere from $5-$20 USD per hour. Hours are flexible and it is up to you how much or how little you teach - you are in total control of your schedule.
A key advantage of teaching online is that you can begin teaching and making money before you move to France. This is a great way to help cover the start-up costs of your move and will ensure that you have an income immediately upon your arrival in France.
Additional Reading: To learn more about how much you can earn from online ESL teaching, please read How Much Money Can I Make Teaching English Online? Need help finding an online teaching platform? Check out Non-Chinese ESL Companies to Teach English Online With.
Expenses for Teaching English in France
There are two categories of expenses that need to be taken into consideration for those looking to teach English in France:
- Start-up costs
- Cost of living
Let's explore each of the two in more detail.
1. Start-Up Costs for Teaching English in France
Start-up costs are expenses you will incur from your arrival in France until you receive your first paycheck and may include things like a security deposit and first month's rent, apartment supplies, transport, groceries, getting your new local cell phone number set up, etc.
Start-up costs should be enough to cover your first month of living in France and will range somewhere between $2,100 and $3,500 USD. This is the minimum amount of savings you should have on hand before leaving home and arriving in France. If you have more, great, but if you have less, you may be setting yourself up for failure from the get-go which can cause unnecessary added stress during an already stressful period of adaption and change.
2. Cost of Living for Teaching English in France
Cost of living refers to everyday monthly expenses you will incur during your time in France. The most popular expenses that fall under this category include:
- Monthly rent expenses
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water bills, etc)
- Food and grocery expenses
- Health insurance
- Internet bill
- Cell phone bill
- Transportation (transit card, ride-sharing services, etc)
- Travel/entertainment expenses
Your cost of living expenses can vary drastically based on where in France you are based. For example, those living in larger cities like Paris can expect to have a higher cost of living compared to those located in smaller cities or towns. As a general rule of thumb, you should budget $1,400 - $2,300 USD per month to cover your cost of living.
France is very much a break-even country, meaning you can cover your rent and bills, support yourself, live comfortably, and enjoy your life abroad to the fullest, but you shouldn't expect to save money at the end of each month. If you are hustling and taking on private tutoring lessons and/or teaching English online in addition to your regular teaching schedule, you may increase your ability to save and come out on top at the end of each month.
Cost of Living Comparisons Across Cities in France
To provide a clearer picture of what the monthly cost of living across various cities in France may look like, here are the expense breakdowns of some of our International TEFL Academy (ITA) alumni that have lived in or are currently living and teaching English in France.
Please note: These snapshots should be used as an example and not an exact representation of what your expenses will look like. Everyone lives a different lifestyle and what is a necessity to one person, may not be to another.
Paris, France Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumna A'Tavia Lawson. A'Tavia was previously in Paris as an au pair but switched to teaching English full time- she also has another income source outside of teaching. Her rent shown below is on the higher end of the rent scale as she chooses to live alone in a very bustling part of Paris.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in A'Tavia's life is like teaching English in Paris? Watch her video .
Belfort, France Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumna, Jada Downing. Jada was a teaching assistant through TAPIF in Belfort, France. Belfort is a very small town with a population of only 50,000, which is why Jada's expenses, especially rent, are much lower in comparison to A'Tavia's rent in Paris.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Jada's life was like as a teaching assistant on TAPIF in Belfort? Watch her video.
Nice, France Cost of Living
This monthly expense breakdown comes from ITA alumnus, Sean Bouland. Sean is lucky enough to have dual US/EU citizenship, making it easier for him to secure employment in France without the need for a work or student visa.
Bonus: Want to check out what a day in Sean's life looked like teaching English in Nice? Watch his video.
- Requirements for teaching English in France
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An accomplished traveler (she's visited 40 countries!), Lynda hails from Melbourne, Australia. Since she joined ITA in 2017, Lynda has become a primary expert on the field of teaching English online. Not only has she published numerous articles on the topic herself, but she has worked with International TEFL Academy alumni around the world to produce an entire library of information and content about teaching English online. Lynda also serves as a primary organizer of ITA's ground-breaking Teach Abroad Film Festival.
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