I moved to France 13 years ago after leaving a fantastic job at the British Council in Singapore, expecting to easily find a new great job and spend my spare time sitting in French cafés! When I first arrived in Paris, I quickly realized that the job market was very different from what I was used to in Asia, and I needed to learn how to find the best work for me. I eventually succeeded after much trial and error. Six years later, despite having some interesting and well-paying jobs in Paris, I relocated to the Cote d’Azur and had to restart my job search. At the very least, I knew how things worked in France this time.
So, if you’re thinking about working as an EFL teacher in France, here are ten things you should know (that I wish I’d known when I first started):
1) It Is Extremely Difficult To Find Work Outside Of France
It is unusual for businesses or universities to hire people who are not currently residing in France. Many teachers in France have the necessary work papers and are eager to start a new job. Full-time jobs are scarce in this city unless you work for a large school like Wall Street English. Most teachers work multiple part-time jobs.
2) Many Employers Want You To Be Self-Employed.
It is quite simple to be self-employed in France. In France, there is a status known as auto-entrepreneur or micro-enterprise, which is extremely simple to establish. It means you are responsible for your social charges and taxes, and businesses can hire you as a subcontractor. If you are not required to be self-employed, you may be given a temporary contract that is only valid for one training program, such as 20 hours with a specific group. It’s perfectly normal to have several of these contracts active at the same time.
3) Work Is Plentiful In Universities And Higher Education Institutions.
The system is a little complicated if you work in a public school: A competitive test is required to obtain a full-time position at a public university in France (called a CAPES or an aggregation). To do so, your French should be at an advanced level, and you should understand how things work in France. If you’re taking the test to become an English lecturer, your command of the language is far less important than you might think! Because there aren’t enough English lecturers with official CAPES status, public universities in France rely on a vacation system to deliver English language instruction. You must have another main job that pays your social charges to be a vacation, and you can only work 144 hours per year at university. The government has set the pay at 41€ per hour, but don’t expect to be paid every month! You get paid twice a year, and it’s frequently late… Although it may not sound appealing, many teachers supplement their income by working on vacation at public universities.
4) Private Business And Engineering Schools Have The Best Jobs
Higher-paying jobs with better contracts are available than those at public universities.
5) Professional Development Is Frequently Left To The Teacher
Only one workplace in France provided any kind of professional development training during my time there. I’m not sure if other companies simply don’t care, or if they expect teachers to do it themselves. To further your professional development, you can join organizations such as TESOL France.
6) The majority of adult French speakers have a B1 level
People have studied English in school (with varying degrees of success), and while many French people use English at work, the level is not very high. Working with C1 speakers is uncommon, especially outside of Paris.
7) Every Adult In France Has A Training Fund
The government calls this the CPF – Compte Personnel de Formation. This is a relatively new system in which every working adult receives 500-800€ per year to be used solely for training. They can take any course they want, and there are no restrictions on their profession. If you work in France, you will have access to this training fund as well.
8) If You’re Comfortable With Administration, You Can Become A Provider In This Training System
Imagine being able to provide training to your clients while knowing they won’t have to pay anything out of their own pockets! It’s a great system, but you have to jump through a lot of administrative hoops to make your training eligible. This includes undergoing a quality audit, which will cost around 1500€…
9) It’s Easier Than You Think To Start Your Own Business
In France, there is a high demand for English, both for children (language teaching in schools has improved, but there is still a long way to go…) and for adults. You can easily offer children’s classes on Wednesdays or after school; people frequently ask me if I do this. Adults will earn significantly more if your programs are eligible for the training funding system or if you can provide corporate training. You can still find private clients or use a third party to access CPF funding on behalf of your clients. You can teach English in Paris and earn good money.
10) We Have Excellent Food And Wine In A Lovely Country
France has so much to offer in terms of lifestyle that you could spend your entire vacation traveling around the country and never get bored. You’ll be in heaven if you like high-quality fresh produce and regional specialties. You don’t have to live in Paris to find good teaching jobs: Lyon, Toulouse, Montpelier, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, and many other large cities have a high quality of life. Remote work is also gaining popularity: the French are becoming more accustomed to online learning, and there are an increasing number of online jobs available.
Teach English abroad and earn extra money with the help of a TEFL course. This is the best possible way to earn money without having a degree abroad. With the help of the above points, it is clear how beneficial a TEFL course is if you are in Paris.