Teaching ESL in France
35,119 Certified Grads since 1992

Teaching ESL in France

France's popularity in the ESL market, and as a tourist destination in general, makes competition for teaching positions very high.

Living and Teaching in France
France: At a Glance
France: Living in France
France: Teaching ESL in France
France: Financial Snapshot


What to Know About Teaching in France
Peak ESL Hiring Season in France
How to Find Jobs Teaching English in France
Largest Chain Schools in France
Tips for ESL Teachers in France
Visa Requirements for ESL Teachers in France
Embassy and Consulate Information


What to Know About Teaching in France

France is a country in which many ESL teachers envision themselves teaching. Although France appears to be the ideal teaching location, its inclusion in the European Union (EU) makes obtaining a work visa quite difficult for non-EU citizens and the process is lengthy. Typically, a sponsoring employer must prove that there are no qualified EU citizens who could fill the position in question. Given that the UK and Ireland are members of the EU, native English language ability alone is usually not sufficient to support this claim. Applicants must prove that they have additional expertise that makes them unique among EU candidates.

English teachers who are able to find a position in France can expect to make around 600 to 1,600 EUR per month and spend around 10 - 30 hours per week in the classroom (in addition to preparation time). It is important that those looking for teaching positions have the proper qualifications and are willing to be patient in their job search.

Peak ESL Hiring Season in France

The French school system follows a similar schedule as in Canada. Because of this, the peak hiring seasons for an English-teaching position are usually around the start of the school year in September and again in January, after the Christmas break. Some teachers may choose to leave their contract during the Christmas break due to homesickness or other reasons, making it a favorable time for prospective ESL teachers to apply for a job.

There are rarely summer teaching positions in France, as most students use the summer months for other activities. However, there are some summer language camp positions available.

Public School System

The French public school system is divided into five sections: école maternelle (kindergarten, ages 3-5), école primaire (primary, ages 6-10), collège (middle school, ages 11-14), lycée (high school, ages 15-18), and enseignement supérieur (higher education).

English courses are part of a child's regular course load in a French public school, but the classes are usually delivered by local French-speaking teachers. There is less of an emphasis on hiring English teachers solely based on their native English abilities; preference is given to qualified teachers who have previous teaching experience and to those with knowledge of the French language. Additionally, those with an EU passport in hand and the above qualifications will have a much greater chance of securing a position.

Private Language Schools

Teaching at a private language school is an option that many future ESL teachers consider. There is a wide range of students attending private language schools, from school-age children who need extra help with their English homework to French CEOs looking to improve their English conversational skills. Many French companies often devote large amounts of money toward the English education of their employees.

Universities and Colleges

Since finding a job teaching English in France is not an easy task for non-EU citizens, finding work teaching at a French university or college is understandably more difficult. At least one university degree, work/teaching experience, and excellent communication skills in French are "must haves" for those interested in finding work at a post-secondary institution in France. Typically, schools are more likely to hire a Canadian with education and experience in a niche high-tech or business profession.

Private Tutoring

Another option for English teachers hoping to make a living for themselves in France is to offer private lessons. Unfortunately, Canadians working as freelance ESL teachers will still need to obtain a French visa before being able to legally earn money. Those who choose to offer private lessons tend to find that popular ESL markets, such as Paris, have too much competition and work can be scarce. Teaching English in smaller cities and rural regions can be a way to gain more students and bank more money from the decreased cost of living.

How to Find Jobs Teaching English in France

It is much harder to find an ESL teaching job while outside of of the country. Therefore, it is highly recommended that those interested in teaching English in France travel there to perform a job search. That said, ESL teachers must be sure that they understand what is required of them should they need to apply for a work visa. It may be that they will have to return to their country of origin in order to submit the application.

Although finding a position in another country can be overwhelming, there are many resources to aid in the search for an ESL position. Our Global ESL Schools Directory is the most comprehensive online database of ESL and international schools in France and is a great place to start.

Largest Chain Schools in France

There are a number of international ESL chain schools operating throughout France. Finding work at one of these schools can be a little less challenging than finding a job within the French public education system. That said, the same visa obstacles will exist regardless of whether or not an ESL teacher is teaching in a public school or a chain school.

  • Berlitz - One of the largest international chain schools in the world, Berlitz is a great place for any English teacher looking to find a job in France. The chain school has locations in a number of cities in France including Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Paris, Strasbourg, and Toulouse.
  • Inlingua - Inlingua is one of the largest international ESL chain schools in the world and with their presence in France, they catch the interest of many ESL teachers. Inlingua is based out of Paris, but has locations scattered throughout the country. All candidates interested in working for the company must be 25 years or older.

The Teaching Assistant Program in France

The Teaching Assistant Program in France is one possible door into working in the French public school system, for qualified candidates. Applicants must be between 20-35 years of age, have graduated university within the last two years, or be enrolled in post-secondary education (with at least two years completed), and possess the ability to communicate in French (minimum B1 level on Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

Jobs Teaching English in the Summer in France

France’s school system is similar to Canada in that school starts in September, ends in June, and there is a two month break in the summer. Be aware that August is typically a bad time to accomplish anything in France. Most of the French take the month of August off as vacation.

That said, American Village offers popular English camps in France, which could be a good way to experience summer teaching in this sought-after TESL destination.

Tips for ESL Teachers in France

  • Most English teaching jobs in France require applicants to have a good understanding of the French language. It may be worthwhile to take some time and enroll in French lessons before applying for teaching positions.
  • A citizen from outside the European Union will have a difficult time getting a French visa. It is recommended to work with outside advisors such as a lawyer or a travel agent specializing in French visas to help with the application process.
  • Those able to travel to France to apply in person will have an advantage when searching for an ESL teaching job, as opposed to those who apply from their home country.
  • There is more competition for an ESL jobs in Paris. Working in a smaller city or rural area of France will increase the odds of finding an English-teaching job, while living in a more remote area of France usually provides a much lower cost of living.
  • France has a prominent role in the worldwide fashion scene. The way one dresses and presents him or herself in France holds great importance to the way one is judged.

Visa Requirements for ESL Teachers in France

Canadian travellers entering France are granted a tourist visa at the airport that lasts for 90 days. Foreigners with tourist visas are not permitted to work in France. After staying in France for 90 days, a foreigner is no longer considered a tourist and will be required to have another form of visa that will allow extended stay.

Anyone from outside the EU wishing to teach English in France will have a few things against them.

  • Being a member of the EU allows French schools the ability to hire native English speakers from neighbouring Ireland with little paperwork.
  • With English being the international language of business, there are many French citizens with an excellent understanding of the language.
  • In order for Canadian ESL teachers to obtain a visa they would need to prove that they can offer skills that no applicant from France or the EU can offer to a position. Therefore, teachers who have been educated, taught, or worked in a specialty field typically have a slightly better chance of gaining a work visa.
  • During the visa review process, French officials will take into consideration the applicant's understanding of the French language, unique competencies that could help with the teaching position, and the applicant's education and work experience.

French Work Permit/Visa Requirements

French employers will prefer to hire a French citizen for any position, including teaching English. The next preference would be given to a citizen of another EU country. If there are no qualified applicants, they would consider sponsoring a visa for a citizen of a non-EU nation. If they choose this route, they must first obtain authorization from the French Ministry of Labour (DIRECCTE). Once this authorization is granted, it will be sent to the Immigration Bureau (OFII) for transmission to the appropriate French consulate. The teacher applicant can then book an interview at the consulate. If accepted, the applicant would be granted a visa long séjour (long-stay visa) and the ability to live in France, but not work. Those who have been granted a visa long séjour can then apply for a titre de séjour (residence permit) once in France, allowing them to legally work in the country. Without an application first filed by a French school or company, a Canadian cannot  apply for the necessary visa.

Teachers who have managed to find a French company or school willing to sponsor a visa long séjour will need to bring the following documentation to their local French consulate (see further below for French embassy locations). As visa guidelines can change without notice, applicants should confirm these requirements with their local consulate prior to the interview. For general information or for preparing, submitting and tracking a visa application, visit France-Visas, the official website for visa application to France. The following documentation has generally been required as part of a long-stay visa application in the past:

  • Passport valid at least three months after the expiry date of the visa.
  • Three photocopies of the photo page in the passport.
  • Proof of current address.
  • Proof of your status in Canada and allowed re-entry (ex. birth certificate, citizenship card, etc.)
  • Two copies of a French visa long séjour application that have both been signed in ink.
  • Two passport-size photographs
  • All visa application fees must be paid in full. It is best to call the local embassy or consulate in advance to find out the exact fees and the acceptable methods of payment

It may also be useful for applicants to obtain an official French translation of their birth certificate as well as additional photocopies of all documents mentioned above. Be aware that the application process for getting a French visa is not a fast one, so expect to wait a couple of months to hear if it has been accepted or denied. If the visa long séjour is accepted, ESL teachers should apply for a titre de séjour immediately upon arrival in France. The titre de séjour application process is also known for taking a long time, but this document is needed to legally work in France. Once the application is submitted, however, a temporary permit will be issued allowing work to be performed while the official titre de séjour is being processed. Applicants of a titre de séjour are typically required to have a French medical assessment and an interview (sometimes used to test an applicant's understanding of French).

For more information about teaching English in France and obtaining a French visa, visit https://ca.ambafrance.org/.

Requirements for EU Citizens to Teach English in France

As France is a member of the European Union, citizens from other EU nations have the opportunity to work within the borders of France with little red tape. There is a preference towards hiring native French citizens to be ESL teachers, but candidates from other EU nations will still have good prospects.

Embassy and Consulate Information

Canadian Embassy Offices in France

Canadian Embassy in Paris

130, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré
75008 Paris
Phone: (33) 1 4443 2902
Fax: (33) 1 4443 2986
Email: paris-consulaire@international.gc.ca
Website: https://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/france/
Hours of Operation: By Appointment Only

American Embassy Offices in France

U.S. Embassy in Paris
2 avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris, Cedex 08
Phone: (33) 1 4312 2222
Fax: (33) 1 4266 9783
Email: PassportsParis@state.gov 
Website: https://fr.usembassy.gov/

British Embassy Offices in France

British Embassy in Paris
35 rue du Faubourg St Honoré
75363 Paris Cedex 08 Paris
Phone: 33 1 4451 3100
Fax: 33 1 4451 3109
Email: France.Enquiries@fcdo.gov.uk
Website: https://www.gov.uk/world/france
Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm 

Irish Embassy Offices in France

Irish Embassy in Paris

12 ave Foch, Angl. 4 rue Rude
75116 Paris
Phone: 33 1 4417 6700
Website: https://www.dfa.ie/irish-embassy/france/
Hours: By Appointment Only; Monday to Friday, 10:00 am to 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Australian Embassy Offices in France

Australian Embassy in Paris
4 rue Jean Rey
75724 Paris Cedex 15
Phone: 33 1 4059 3300
Email: consular.paris@dfat.gov.au
Website: https://france.embassy.gov.au/
Hours of Operation:
Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

New Zealand Embassy Offices in France

New Zealand Embassy in Paris
103 rue de Grenelle
75007, Paris
Phone: 33 1 4501 4343
Fax: 33 1 4501 4344
Email: embassy.nz.fr@gmail.com
Website: https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/europe/france/new-zealand-embassy/
Hours of Operation: Monday, 10:30 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; Tuesday to Friday, 9:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Embassy Information Outside France

French Embassy Offices in Canada

Embassy of France in Canada
42 Sussex Drive
Ottawa, ON K2P 0T8
Phone: 1 613 789 1795
Fax: 1 613 562 3735
Website: https://ca.ambafrance.org/
Normal Hours: Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 12:30 pm

Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honorary consulates offer a limited range of services. A full list of French consulates in Canada can be found at: https://ca.ambafrance.org/

French Embassy Offices in the United States

Embassy of France in the United States 
4101 Reservoir Road, N.W.
Washington, DC 20007
Phone: 1 202 944 6000
Contact Form: https://franceintheus.org/spip.php?article1131
Website: https://franceintheus.org/

Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honorary consulates offer a limited range of services. A full list of French consulates in the US can be found at: https://franceintheus.org/spip.php?article330

Other Western Europe Countries:

Austria ~ Belgium ~ Finland ~ France ~ Germany ~ Greece ~ Italy ~ Portugal ~ Spain ~ Sweden ~ Switzerland ~ The Netherlands