Working as an English Tutor in France: Basic hourly wage range?

adifferentkindoftravel, 10 July, 2015

I’m planning on moving to France (hopefully the Provence area) for a year while working on a small business I’m starting, where I’d bring small groups out to Provence a few times a year for trips I would host (winemaker dinners, tours of area, small villages, ruins, etc etc). I have 13 years of experience in the wine industry, event management, import/sales/brand management so my personal business is one I’m sure I’ll be successful at once I get some trips done and under my belt.

In order to be located in France, closer to the locations I want to bring groups to (and without having to fly to Europe from the U.S for every trip; also so that I can learn French…etc) I will be getting my TEFL Certification this summer. I have heard stories from many people about how they dont’ make enough money in places in Europe, particularly France but I’m wondering if this is because possibly, they are only looking for TEFL teaching contract jobs, and not advertising their services as a private tutor to college students? Also perhaps they are only speaking of Paris?

Am I off base in thinking that a better way to make more money would be to find college students needing English tutoring and charge per hour (and that way taking all fees personally vs working for an org who takes big %…?) or to tutor adults in Business English?

If I’m looking in an area like Avignon or somewhere in South of France, as there is a lower cost of living, wouldn’t there be a better chance of making a living? Seems there are very limited jobs listed for these types of areas, but once in the area, it would seem that if there was a job, and I was in France already looking, and am a native English speaker (with a Bachelor’s degree, a lot of professional experience, and dual UK/US citizenship but American English which according to my French friends is more desirable in France vs British English) I should be able to find something…. yes? no?

Any/all suggestions would be much appreciated. Are there regional orgs I should be contacting?

Has anyone else offered their services as a private tutor and been successful?

Merci Beaucoup!

dan, Moderator, 1 September, 2015


I saw this post a while ago but didn’t get around to replying until now, sorry about that.

Your business idea sounds great, I hope it works out well for you.

As for TEFL teaching in the south of France – unless you walk into a full time contract with a language school (which is rare), it normally takes time to build up enough work to make a good living. Most people do a combination of all the things you’ve mentioned – freelance contracts for language schools or training centres, private work through word of mouth, tutoring, and university work.

Let’s look at each of these:

Contracts for language schools / training centres
The fact that you have a TEFL certification, are a native English speaker and have some professional experience will stand you in good stead. A lack of actual teaching experience though my be a disadvantage. Language schools and training centres tend to recruit teachers on a part-time, freelance basis for individual contracts. All going well, they will then gradually build up the number of hours that you do with them, but it’s very rare to find a school who will either recruit you on a full time contract, or give you 25 hours of freelance work a week immediately. Having “auto-entrepreneur” (freelance) status will help you a lot, and this is easy to set up online at You can expect to get something like 25-30 euros an hour for this type of work.

Private work / tutoring
You will need to buld this up through word of mouth and advertising – try and to advertise yourself as a tutor. You’re right that you’ll be keeping 100% of the fees for yourself, but the hourly rate that private individuals are willing to pay is a lot les than companies are willing to pay training centres! So the hourly rate ends up about the same – you could probably ask for about 20 euros an hour cash in hand.

University work
Universities have positions going in their English departments, which usually last for 2 years. These are normally teaching larger groups of students who need to do English credits for theirs courses. The pay is better (can be about 40 or more euros an hour I think) but they don’t normally pay monthly – you may have to wait about 6 months to be paid. Getting one of these positions is by word of mouth and being in the right place at the right time.

Most teachers build up a combination of private work, work for training centres and sometimes university work, and it’s possible to make a fairly good living. But it does normally take time to build this up so plan on having some money to live off at the start, or make sure your monthly rent is low by flat-sharing or something.

There is some work going in Avignon. Larger cities like Montpellier and Marseille will probably give you more options.

One last thing to bear in mind – at the beginning of 2015 some training reform came into force, which made it much more complicated for employees to get training through their companies (not just language training but training in general). One quote I heard (not sure if it’s completely true) was that in the first 3 months of the year, only 600 training contracts were signed in the whole of France, compared to 60,000 in the first month of 2014. That’s a huge drop – many training companies (and therefore English teachers) struggled during the first half of the year. It’s expected to get better from September. I’m not saying this to put you off, just to make you aware of the situation.

All in all, it’s a great lifestyle in the south, and many teachers say that the difficulties in building up enough work are offset by the great life. Once you’re established, along with your other business, you’ll be absolutely fine. Just be ready for a lot of patience and legwork to build up the work!

Hope that helps.


The ELT Hub, 18 January, 2016

Hi, I live in France and Dan’s comments above are comprehensive.

Registering as autoentrepeneur is a very simple process, all online if you prefer (there are now compulsory training costs just after you register though). If French is a problem, there are translated documents which guide you through the registration process – I can look out a link if that’s something you’re interested in. This self-employed status allows you teach privately and also contract with universities or the Chamber of Commerce for example. Rates I’m hearing about just now vary from as low as 15€ an hour for aide scolaire (helping a student with school English) to 35€+ for contracting with a business school or teaching business English privately.

The tricky thing about the “vacataire” university contract Dan mentions above is that the universities are required to ensure this is “extra” income for you to top up other income (it’s supposed to be a safeguard for employees because you don’t have the same rights as a full-time CDD contact). So if you don’t have that extra income (from my experience the extra hours or income you need varies from place to place) you don’t get the job! Chicken and egg!

The more you specialise, the more you will earn. Your background sounds like it would be great for business English teaching.

It’s also possible to register as an accredited trainer (which means your clients can use their government training fund) as a way of building up clients who would not otherwise be able to afford training. A complicated but possible process – the French do love their paperwork. And with the recent changes to personal training budgets, again mentioned above, how this work pans out is yet to be seen.

Best of luck!

dan, Moderator, 21 January, 2016

It’s also possible to register as an accredited trainer (which means your clients can use their government training fund) as a way of building up clients who would not otherwise be able to afford training. A complicated but possible process

Getting work directly with clients with this “accredited trainer” status can be more lucrative. Language schools can charge clients 50 or 60 euros an hour, of which the teacher sees maybe 25 or 30. But if you get the contract directly with the client (for which you need to be accredited) then you’re cutting out the middleman. The downside is you have to do the legwork and paperwork to win the contract, which often means competing in calls for tender with other companies.

france4me, 5 December, 2016

Do you have any information where or how I about the registration to become an “accredited trainer” here in France, I am here already registered as an Autoentrepeneur and teaching private students and am just negotiating two full days a week through an interim agency….who are partnered with another third party….so I am anxious there are too many middle men in the process…I can see it being fraught for communication, billing and expected support…anyway would I go back to URSAAF? what hoops are necessary to jump through for this status?


dan, Moderator, 7 December, 2016

France4me – I’m pretty sure you have to do it through DIRECCTE ( As always you’ll need to provide all sorts of documents. I just did a quick search and came up with this reasonably good explanation:

Hope that helps.


france4me, 23 January, 2017

Dear Dan
Apologies for the delay in responding…Christmas, family illness, new year…work…
I am TEFL qualified and already registered here as Auto Entrepeneur as Professeure d’Anglais.
I have been teaching sporadically with private students and have recently taken on a two full days a week assignment in a large corporation via an interim Language Agency. I am thoroughly enjoying this but I can see the work supply being limited, so would like to aquire this other “Official Trainer” status to enable me to source my own contracts in the local industries.
I am just trying to log onto to see what code my current status is and if that is different from the formateur status? Knowing that is likely…I will investigate that.

For others possibly reading this thread.
My contract with the agency is for a fixed period, within which they will supply # of hours. The rate of pay they will pay me is € 25 per hour. (of course the company’s employees are likely to have their training granted at far more per hour by the govt.) Currently the company I am teaching their middle management for, are allocated 20 hours of training per employee.
The hourly rate sounds good on the surface but like all freelance work here, one has to (If AE registered) your cotisations, (about 23%) less your travelling costs, less your ink/paper/ and as I have quickly realised the 60-90 minutes French lunch break that you are NOT being paid for, and of course your preparation time, which can be the same as your teaching time. CDD ( Fixed time contract they offered €20.00 p/h)

This assignment I assume is typical, I am teaching 7 individuals each day, one hour each, but they are all at very different levels from total beginners to very advanced, so one lesson does not fit all. It’s crucial to have a plan and back up exercise for everyone and be able to think on your feet, and adapt as the day goes on.…as the weeks have gone on, I have learnt to keep at least the framework and subject matter limited and change the format and of course material to suit each person.

Perhaps there is a cap the government allocates each company each financial year for training, so once this tranche is completed in this financial year, that will be it for this company’s training program? I expect so. So you have to accept you go in deliver # hours to # individuals or groups and be resourcing your next contract for the pipeline.
Thanks for the links and advice?

I do get frustrated with some TEFL/ESL job sites, that are tell you all about great jobs abroad but fail to tell you how much the pay is, so without that how can anyone know if they want to apply for it.

france4me, 23 January, 2017

p.s: ref payment. yes, the agency agreement is to pay the tutor 45 days after invoice, so I will have been teaching ten weeks (an incurring costs) before seeing any payment.

dan, Moderator, 23 January, 2017

france4me – glad you’ve been able to find some work. Keep going – it’s all about word of mouth so the more you work, the more work you’ll find.

Regarding costs (for anyone else reading this too) – you have to factor in holiday too. As an auto entrepreneur you don’t get any paid holiday. Employees in France get 5 weeks. So, assuming you want some kind of break during the year (and you may find that a break is “forced” upon you anyway in the very quiet summer months) you have to factor this in to the hourly rate as well.


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