Every year over 80 million people visit France making it the most popular tourist destination in the world. ESL teachers also flock here in large numbers due to the country's wide array of attractions, from culture, history, and art, to fine cuisine and beautiful scenery. Demand for teachers is high in many parts of the country, although competition for the best positions is particularly strong in the most popular destinations such as Paris and the French Riviera. Teachers with plenty of experience will certainly have an advantage in these areas, while first time teachers may need to be more flexible when it comes to location.
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The figure you can expect to earn as an ESL teacher in France will vary considerably depending on your qualifications and experience, the location, and the type of employer. For most teachers a figure between 1,000 and 2,000 EUR per month would be typical. Many teachers, especially those at the lower end of the pay scale, supplement their income by taking on private students in their spare time. Rates for private tutoring range from 15 to 25 EUR per hour. Teaching contracts in France rarely include any additional benefits such as airfares and accommodation but you should receive health insurance and some paid holiday.
The best salaries are often found in public schools and universities, however, these positions usually require high levels of qualifications and experience, as well as fluency in French. The most popular option for teachers who don't meet these criteria is to apply to private language schools that can be found in large numbers right across the country. Paris alone has over 500 language schools catering to a wide range of students of all ages. The average salary may be less than other employers but private language schools offer a good opportunity for new teachers to gain experience in the classroom. Private tutoring is also a very popular option for foreign teachers in France. Many teachers use it as a means to supplement their income, while others build it into a full-time occupation. Finding enough clients can take time but the flexible working hours that this option provides is ideal for some teachers. Clients can be found via advertising in local newspapers and magazines, by posting on bulletin boards in schools and universities, or by simple word of mouth.
Other options that are worth considering include summer English camps which often pay well and offer short-term contracts, and teaching business English to employees of private companies. American passport holders can also apply for a place on the government-run Teaching Assistant Program in France (TAPIF). As long-term visas are often difficult to secure for non-EU citizens this program offers a great way for recent college graduates to live and work in France. If accepted on the program you will receive a stipend of 790 EUR per month.
Your monthly expenses in France will vary greatly depending on your lifestyle and your chosen location, although for most teachers a figure between 600 and 1,000 EUR would be typical. The cost of living in Paris is considerably higher than most other areas so you will need to seriously consider your budget if you have your heart set on living in the capital. Housing costs are the single biggest expense for most teachers, with rents and utilities averaging around 600 to 800 EUR per month for a one-bedroom apartment away from the most popular areas. To help reduce these costs many teachers choose to rent a room from a local family or share an apartment with fellow teachers.