Teach English in France!
France is alluring to the romantics of the world. With quaint villages, epic Mediterranean vistas, and the City of Love, it shouldn’t be shocking that working in this country is a dream for many ESL teachers. Layers of history, centuries of art and architecture, and the foundations of culinary refinement only add to France’s appeal. This country truly has something for every type of traveler, from the language enthusiast and foodie buff to the avid cyclist and skiing fanatic. While actualizing this dream is indeed possible, it’s certainly not easy. The French have high standards in every aspect of their lives, and granting visas to potential teachers does not fall outside these strictly set lines. However, if you are qualified, determined, and can sell yourself, there just might be a job for you. This chance is only amplified if you can throw out a bit of Français as well.
What You Need to Teach English in France
The requirements for foreigners aiming to teach in France depend entirely on what type of job you are hoping to get. While the government demands a high level TESOL certification in addition to a Bachelor’s degree, there are several schemes available to people under the age of 30 that have more lax requirements.
Teachers with an EU passport do not require a visa to work in France. They can simply show up and treat the job search as if they were in their home country. However, North American and other non-EU passport holders are required to obtain a visa. Even with a qualification, your potential employer must prove that the job they are sponsoring you for could not be done adequately by a French national (or a European, as the second choice option). This is challenging, to say the least, but it is especially difficult for people over 30. Australians, Canadians, and Kiwis between 18 and 29 are eligible for a working holiday visa that gives them the legal right to work in France for a year. Intercultural exchange programs will also give teachers from other countries better chances at experiencing the French life they so desire.
How to Find the Best Teaching Jobs in France
When searching for a job as a teacher in France, foreigners are given quite a few options. As stated above, EU citizens will have an easier time and are afforded the luxury of simply being able to show up and apply at any place they please. The rest of us must be a bit more attentive to the specifics involved in the process.
A common route that foreigners who are not eligible for the easier tracks take is working directly with the French Embassy in their home country. You can apply for the Teaching Assistant Program, which serves kindergartens and public schools, through the French Ministry of Education- and get all of the detailed information- on the embassy’s website. This program is most interested in recent college graduates, but as long as you are under 29, you are eligible to apply. The contract follows the school year from October through to the end of April, with a few multi-week holidays in between. Foreigners can also apply directly to popular language institutes such as EF English First and Inlingua for academy-style jobs. Working holiday jobs will be more lenient as far as necessary qualifications go, but the more well-renowned language schools are looking for tried-and-true professionals and will definitely require CELTA-equivalent certifications.
Teaching to businesses is another viable route for foreigners seeking ESL work in France. You could be asked to teach individuals or groups across a variety of sectors, and some may ask that you focus specifically on vocabulary and communication styles relevant to their industries. Business teaching can most often be organized through the French Chamber of Commerce network, so contact the branch in your location of choice directly and market yourself. Large cities are a great place to begin your search, but don’t underestimate the value of being willing to relocate to a smaller town. University towns like Toulouse, Grenoble, and Bordeaux are also solid places to go if you wish to appeal to students. Landing a job in these types of locations will also open the door for private lessons, which can earn you significantly more cash than in most other countries around the world.