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What Are the Requirements for Teaching English in France?

Learn what qualifications you need to teach English in France, including education, citizenship, visa, and age requirements.

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France represents one of the most desirable destinations for teaching English abroad due to the allure of learning the French language, the distinctive, high-class cuisine, wine, pastries, and desserts, its vast history, and its beautiful landscapes and architecture. If you are considering teaching English in France, you will need to ensure you meet the following qualifications:

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become an English Teacher in France?

To teach English in France, you will need a TEFL certificate. A 4-year college degree is typically required as well. Native English proficiency is expected to find a TEFL job. The average salary for an English teacher in France is about $800 - $1,800 USD per month.

Requirements for Teaching English in France

Now let's look at the following requirements to teach English in France in detail:

  1. Hold a TEFL certification

  2. Have a Bachelor's degree in any field/major

  3. Be a native-English speaker from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa (preferred)

  4. Own a valid passport and visa

  5. Meet the age requirement (TAPIF program)

Let's expand on each of these France ESL teaching requirements and qualifications below:

1. Hold a TEFL Certification

A TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) certification is required to teach English in France. Getting TEFL certified will provide you with the relevant training and qualifications you need to get hired by a reputable school in France and should leave you feeling confident in your abilities to provide ESL lessons to your students. 

Which TEFL Course is Right for Me?

Most job interviews in France are conducted on the ground, in person. However, given the nature of the visa process, it is recommended that you take an online TEFL course from your home country - our most popular option is our 170-Hour Online TEFL Course. This course is part-time, which means you can still work and save some extra money in anticipation of your departure to France, whenever that may be. 

a female English teacher in France exploring Paris

2. Have a Bachelor's Degree in Any Field/Major

Can You Teach English in France Without a Degree?

A bachelor's degree is required to teach English in France. Your bachelor's degree does not need to be in education, it can be in any field (i.e.: Marketing, Psychology, Arts, etc). Any four-year diploma or bachelor's degree from an accredited university will satisfy this requirement (or three years if you studied in the UK, Australia, or New Zealand). 

If you are applying to teach English in France as part of the TAPIF Program, you must have completed at least 3 years of higher (post-secondary) education by the start date of the program.

Prior Teaching Experience

While prior teaching experience can help you stand out on your resume, you do not need it to teach English in France. Your TEFL certification training will provide you with the relevant qualifications you need to get hired by a school in France.

Any reputable TEFL certification course should include a mandatory practicum component to help gain firsthand experience practice teaching with real non-native English speakers. This will prepare you for the classroom and leave you feeling confident in your ability to deliver well-structured ESL lessons to your students. This practice teaching can count as teaching experience and should be highlighted on your resume. 

3. Be a native-English Speaker from the U.S., U.K., Ireland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa (Preferred)

You do not need to be a native English speaker to teach English in France. However, you will be expected to be fluent in English and speak at a native level to be considered for teaching jobs. Citizenship from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa is highly preferred.

Teaching Assistance Program in France (TAPIF)

If you are applying to teach English in France as part of the TAPIF Program (more on this below) you must:

  • Be a citizen or permanent residents of the United States;
  • Be a native speaker of English and must have completed the majority of your elementary, secondary, and university studies in the United States. 
  • Be proficient in French (minimum B1 level on Common European Framework of Reference for Languages). French majors and minors are encouraged to apply. Candidates without a French major or minor may apply if they have developed at least a basic proficiency in French (equivalent to 3 semesters of college French) and/or lived abroad in a Francophone country.


4. Own a Valid Passport and Visa

Although the need for English instruction is great, France represents one of the most challenging job markets for Americans and other non-EU citizens in Europe because the majority of English language schools will not sponsor work visas for teachers and will not hire those who cannot work legally as schools do in countries such as Spain or Italy.

Work Visas for Teaching English in France

This type of visa is very uncommon for non-EU English teachers to receive in France as you need an employer to sponsor you in order to obtain 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. EU citizens will not have a problem finding a job and working legally in France.

Those who really want to teach English in France typically have to find another means to live in the country legally such as obtaining a student visa. Work visas are only typically given to Americans accepted into the TAPIF Program or teachers working in international schools which have high standards and require superior qualifications. 

What is the TAPIF Program?

The Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF) is a joint initiative of the French Ministry of Education, the Centre international d'études pédagogiques (CIEP), and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. The program's goal is to strengthen English-language instruction in French schools by establishing a native speaker presence, while also providing American Francophiles with excellent teaching experience and first-hand knowledge of the French language and culture.

The French government sponsors 1,100 English teaching assistantships for Americans. TAs teach 12 hours of English conversation classes per week in up to 3 schools. Teaching assistants conduct all or part of a class, typically leading conversations in English. Duties include serving as a resource person in conversation groups, providing small group tutorials, and giving talks related to American studies. Assignments vary depending on the school’s needs and the assistant’s abilities. The contract period is 7 months and contracts are available at both the elementary or secondary school levels.

Student Visa Requirements for Teaching English in France

Outside of the TAPIF Program, 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). 

Student visas cannot be processed more than three months ahead of your intended arrival in France, but usually take up to 4 weeks to process. Therefore, it is very important to plan out and understand the application timeline. 

Additional Reading: For a full list of all the steps associated with a student visa application for France, please read: What Type of Visa Can I Use for Teaching English in France?

To apply for teaching jobs in France, you will be required to have the following documents available:

  • Valid passport
  • International Resume and Cover Letter
  • TEFL Certificate
  • Student Visa

a female English teacher in France at the Louvre Museum in Paris

5. Meet the Age Requirements (TAPIF Program)

If applying for the TAPIF Program, candidates must be between 20 and 35 years old on the start date of the program. This age limit is strictly enforced and no exceptions will be made. 

There are, however, no age limitations on applying for a student visa to take classes while teaching English, making this a great option for teachers 40+ looking to teach English in France while studying. 

Additional Information

A health screening and/or drug test are not required to teach English in France.


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