Language requirements

We judge French language skills by looking at a number of elements of the application, including:
– Your transcripts to see how many French courses you have taken and at what level, plus your grades
– Your letters of recommendation, at least one of which needs to be completed by a French professor or language evaluator from university AND/OR your standardized French language test scores (TCF, TEF, DELF, DALF) if you did not take French courses in college or you do not have a French professor or language evaluator to complete your letters of recommendation.

A TEFL or ESL certification is NOT required to apply to the Teaching Assistant Program in France and in fact, most program participants do not have this certification. That said, a TEFL or ESL certification can nonetheless give you an edge during the application process because it shows that you have studied the theory and pedagogy behind teaching English to speakers of other languages, and that you may also already have TEFL/ESL classroom experience. If you hold an ESL certificate, please include it to your application, in page 7 of the form, in the “Autres documents” section.

Yes. Applicants must have an intermediate proficiency in French. This means that you should be comfortable enough in the French language to complete daily tasks, hold conversations of substance, and manage a classroom full of French students. Assistants are required to do a number of tasks all in French, including completing immigration paperwork, opening a bank account, going to a medical visit, and working with their French teaching colleagues on a daily basis. Having an intermediate level of French skills is therefore essential to have a positive and successful experience as a Teaching Assistant in France!

Application process

Applications for the next school year are available each year from the beginning of October to mid-February.

The application form can be downloaded on this page.

You must send the completed form as well as your PayPal payment receipt to [email protected]

Applications for 2021-2022 are now open.

The application campaign will end on February 12, 2021.

Most of the program participants have just finished their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year of university and do the program during the school year after they graduate (to do this, you need to apply during the fall of your third year of university).

Although most participants are in their early to mid- 20’s, we also welcome people under the age of 35 who are interested in teaching English in France. A number of participants have just finished graduate studies or are young professionals looking for a new challenge. As long as you meet the program’s eligibility criteria, we encourage you to apply!

Teaching assistants come from all fields of study. While we do have many French majors and minors in the program, we also have many assistants with backgrounds in other fields like education, international relations, political science, history, English, science, etc. Most selected participants have taken at least a few French courses in college or have demonstrated a serious study of French after graduation.

Applications are evaluated based on a number of criteria that are indicative of a candidate’s potential for successful participation in the program:

– French-language skills (applicants must demonstrate a proficient level of French equivalent to level B1 on the European Framework of Reference for Languages )
– Teaching experience
– Experience working with children or young adults
– Experience living abroad
– The level of the applicant’s university studies
– General motivation

Applications are ranked based on the above criteria and acceptance/placement decisions are made starting with the most qualified applicants, by the managers of the program in Canada and in France.

Past applicants, regardless of the result of their application (even those who withdrew from the program), are welcome to reapply for a new academic year. Prior applicants will be given equal consideration as new applicants (i.e. no advantage or disadvantage) during the application review process.
If you have applied before and want to reapply, you HAVE TO submit an entirely new application, however, as we cannot transfer over materials from past applications. You can use the same recommendation letters that you use in your first application though.

Canadians may participate a maximum of 2 times in the Teaching Assistant Program in France. If you are applying for an assistantship for a second consecutive year, you will need to apply to renew your contract through France Education International. Renewal is contingent upon a positive review from the host institution, whether or not the assistant wishes to remain at his/her host institution or be transferred to another school or académie, amongst other factors.

If you are applying for a second assistantship in non-consecutive years, you must apply through the general program application.

Former assistants wishing to do the program a second time must meet all normal program eligibility requirements. Their applications will be reviewed based on the same selection criteria as for first-time applicants. If found highly qualified and still eligible to participate, the program managers will also verify with their first académie of assignment that they received a positive performance evaluation the first time that they participated in the program. Only assistants with positive reviews will receive offers to participate in the program a second time.

If all criteria are met, former assistants will be systematically placed on the program waiting list when decisions of placement are made during the selection committee in March (new candidates receive priority; former assistants will be considered for positions that open up during the spring and summer due to new candidate withdrawals).

The application to the program is very simple. You will be asked to provide basic information about yourself, your academic background, your experience with the French language, your experience teaching or working with young people and your experience living or working abroad. You will also need to provide a statement of purpose about why you want to be a Teaching Assistant in France. This statement is to be written IN FRENCH (approximately 500 words in length) and must NOT be proofread or corrected by anyone with a knowledge of the French language.

You will also need to provide the following documents:

• A scan of your passport. Your passport must be valid through at least October 30th of the year in which you would end your teaching contract with the program. For example, if you want to apply to the 2020-2021 program, your passport would need to remain valid through October 30, 2021.
If you do not have a passport, if your passport has expired, or if it will expire before that October date, you should start the passport application/renewal process immediately in order to have it before the program application deadline. Applications missing the passport scan will not be considered.

• If you are a permanent resident of Canada, a scan of your resident card in addition to the scan of your currently-valid passport from your country of citizenship.

• A scan of your official university transcript. Print-outs of unofficial online transcripts are NOT acceptable. Plan now to obtain a hard-copy official transcript from your university registrar before the program application deadline.

• You will also need one language evaluation from a university French professor or a language evaluator from the Alliance Française, and one recommendation letter from a different person who knows you in an academic or professional capacity. These recommendations will have to be attached to your application form. If you do not have access to a university French professor or Alliance Française language evaluator to complete the “language evaluation” recommendation, then you may take a standardized French language test and submit those scores instead. For more information, see the “French Skills” section above.
If you are unable to have a session test in order to assess your French skills, you will have to provide two letters of recommendation (teacher appraisals) from teachers of language (university or any school of language). You must make sure both your language skills are evaluated (French and English).

Gather the documents listed above.

You should also keep working on your French-language skills and try to gain as much experience as possible teaching or working with young people. These two elements of the application can be the deciding factors as to whether someone gets accepted to the program or not.

Decisions are sent out by e-mail within the first two weeks of April.
You will be notified in all cases, whether your candidacy has been selected or declined.

The application to the program includes a section where you can list your general regional placement preferences. Due to the number of requests and limited availability in certain regions, however, we are simply unable to accommodate all applicants’ requests. Applicants are highly encouraged to keep an open mind and to list 3 school districts of preference on the application. We are usually (but not always) able to assign assistants to one of their top 3 regions of choice.

Accepted applicants receive their general regional assignment in one of the school districts in France known as “Académies” at the time of acceptance notification in early April. Each Académie then makes its own specific city and school placements.

Applicants cannot make requests for specific city or school placements.

Flexibility is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED when it comes to regional placement. This program is a “programme de mobilité” and assistants are expected to go wherever they are assigned in France. Accommodations will NOT be made for candidates with special circumstances (ex: plans to study at a particular university during the year, family or friends in a particular town, etc.). We remind candidates that it is a program designed to send assistants to ALL regions of France, and that the main focus of the program is to provide native language speakers to French students learning foreign languages, with the added benefit of giving foreigners the chance to live and work in France for a year with a stipend. We are really looking for candidates who are motivated to teach anywhere in France and who will be able to approach the teaching assistantship as their primary reason for being in France.

Program acceptance and placement decisions are done entirely by merit (and not on a “first come, first served” basis). We base our evaluations on a number of criteria including: French-language skills, teaching experience, experience working with children or young adults, experience living abroad, the level and focus of the applicant’s university studies, and general motivation. We evaluate and rank the applications, then accept the top applicants into the program. We then do Académie assignments, starting with the most qualified applicants and going down the list. The stronger your application is, the more likely it is that you will be placed in your top area of choice. A lot depends on the number of requests for a region vs. the number of positions available in that area. Some Académies are more “competitive” than others. Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg and Grenoble always receive many requests for a very limited number of positions. Other Académies like Amiens, Caen, Limoges, Poitiers, Reims and Rouen, are less “competitive”.


There is a 55 CAD application fee to apply to the program. After that, there is no fee for participating in the program.

(Assistants are responsible for purchasing their plane tickets to and from France, however, and must cover any costs associated with traveling to the closest visa center in Canada for the visa application process. Assistants should also plan to bring at least $2,000 with them to France to cover start-up expenses since the first month’s salary is not paid until the end of October.)

The monthly salary for teaching assistants comes to €976,49 GROSS, which in most cases (depending on personal spending habits), is enough to live a quite comfortably lifestyle in most regions of France. €976,49 per month allows most assistants to buy food, rent a room or apartment in their town, and live a modest student lifestyle. While assistants do not live in luxury, most are able to live comfortably during their 7-month contract. Some are even able to travel a bit during their year in France if they bring some extra savings with them to France or if they make extra money by doing some babysitting or tutoring.

Please note: Very urban areas like Paris can be extremely expensive. It can therefore be VERY difficult to make ends meet on the assistantship salary in the Ile-de-France region.

Other regions of France have a significantly lower cost of living. Many assistants receive housing subsidies from the Caisse d’Allocations Familiales (CAF), however please note that not everyone is eligible to receive CAF as the subsidy is issued on a case-by-case basis.
Budget questions really depend on the region of assignment, plus personal spending habits, savings, and circumstances.

Assistants are responsible for purchasing their own plane tickets to and from France. Assistants are also responsible for the costs of travel to and from the closest visa center in Canada for the visa application process.

Most assistants leave for France with at least $2,000 in savings to help cover the initial start up costs during the first couple of months they are in France (assistants who want extra spending money or who want to travel during weekends and school breaks usually bring more than $2,000). You would not receive your first paycheck until the end of October at the earliest, so you would need some money to live on between your arrival and at least the end of October. Depending on your housing situation, you may need enough money to pay a security deposit and first month’s rent on an apartment. You should work on the assumption that you will have to find your own housing in France, then if you are provided with housing by your school, you’ll be pleasantly surprised and will have some extra money saved up.

Assistants are responsible for finding their own housing in France. That said, we do our best to help assistants with their search – our offices at the Embassy and the school districts in France provide information on where and how to find lodging in France. After that, a lot depends on the school in France.

Certain schools are able to arrange housing for their assistants, and some can even offer assistants very cheap or even free housing at their school’s dormitory (some high schools in France have boarding students who live at the school during the academic year, and the school can sometimes house their assistant in exchange for performing duties similar to those of an R.A.). Some schools and contact persons arrange housing for their assistants ahead of time (for instance, a school might have a standing agreement with a landlord in the town who rents his/her apartment each year to assistants), while others are not able to provide very much help to their assistants.

It is best to work off of the assumption that you would need to find your own place to live in France.

Assistants are responsible for all costs associated with travel to the closest visa application center for France in Canada (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver) to apply for their long-stay work visa. An in-person visa appointment at the VFS center is mandatory (as your bio metric data will be collected).

Assistants need personal funds (suggested minimum of $2,000) to cover their start-up expenses during their first month or two in France. Assistants are also responsible for covering the cost of: airfare to and from France, traveling to their appropriate regional VFS center to apply for their long-stay work visa, and the translation of documents required to enroll in the French national healthcare system.


Yes. Canadian teaching assistants must obtain a long-stay work visa IN PERSON from their regional Visa Application Centre (VFS Global) for France in Canada (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver) in Canada. Costs of travel to the assistant’s regional VFS centre are NOT covered by the program. VFS centres collect, on behalf of the French Authorities, visa applications which will are examined by the Consulate General of France in Montreal.

Please note that work visas for assistants usually take 1-3 weeks to be issued but the exact processing times can vary from a situation to another.

Assistants should plan on being in Canada during the entire month of August and up through late September to allow enough time to complete the necessary visa procedures.

EUROPEAN citizens are exempted from the visa but they must submit copy of the European passport they will use to entry in France in the application.

Couples are welcome to apply to the program, however each person must apply individually and each person’s application will be evaluated separately based on the standard TAPIF criteria. Each person must qualify individually before we will take the couple status into account. This means we would not automatically accept a significant other who is not qualified for the program simply because the other member of the couple is very qualified. If both people are accepted to the program on their individual merits, only then will we take couple status into account (when making placement decisions).

The program application includes a question about civil status/applying as a couple, so this would let us know that you are applying together. If both members of the couple are accepted, we would do our best to place you together in the same region. We recommend requesting some of the less popular regions in order to give yourselves the best chance of being placed together. As placement decisions are done on merit (and the most qualified applicants get placed first), it can be very tough for two people to both receive placements in very popular (and therefore very competitive) Académies like Paris, Strasbourg, Lyon, Grenoble, etc. Your chances of being placed in the same region are higher if you both select Académies that receive fewer overall requests, like Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, Reims, and Rouen. If both people are accepted into the program and placed in the same region, then it is up to the school district to make the specific town and school assignments. The Académies usually do their best to keep couples together.

If one member of a couple applies to TAPIF and the other does not (or if both people apply and only one is accepted), then the accepted person is responsible for researching visa requirements for bringing the other person to France. Americans are allowed to travel in France for up to 90 days as tourists (without a visa), however after this amount of time, the non-assistant must have a visa. Many accompanying significant others go to France as students by enrolling in an academic program in France for the year – student visas are much easier to obtain than other long-stay visas, and this way, the person can go to France and take some classes for the length of the other person’s assistant contract. For more information about studying in France, please visit the website for CampusFrance: www.canada.campusfrance.org

You can also find out more information about the different types of long-stay visas at your regional French consulate’s website.

While it is technically possible to be a student at the same time as doing the Teaching Assistant Program, this presents a number of challenges in terms of scheduling and logistics. First of all, if you are accepted to the program, we cannot guarantee that you would be assigned near the particular university at which you are interested in studying. We cannot take special circumstances into account when making our regional assignments, so we cannot guarantee placement in any particular Académie. Even if you were to be placed in the region where you were hoping to take classes, it would then be up to the school district to assign you to a specific town or city, and the school district cannot guarantee placement close to any particular university. For instance, if you wanted to study in Tours and ended up being placed in the Académie d’Orléans-Tours, the school district administrators might still assign you to a city other than Tours (and you may end up teaching far away from the university). If you did get placed in the city where the university is located, your university classes would need to fit in with your teaching schedule, which can vary greatly depending on a school’s needs as there is no set teaching schedule. It can be tough to be both a student AND an assistant at the same time.

We are really looking for candidates who will be able to approach the teaching assistantship as their priority and primary reason for being in France. It is fine for assistants to enroll in classes at local universities after arriving in France and figuring out how much spare time the teaching schedule allows, so this can work if you are just interested in doing classes on the side. If you are more interested in pursuing a degree or taking classes at a particular university, then this would be much more difficult. Legally speaking, though, assistants have the right to take classes during their year in France so long as the classes do not interfere with the teaching schedule.

Past assistants have been able to successfully defer their student loans by making a loan deferment request directly to their loan provider. The Embassy cannot submit the request for you as each assistant’s situation is different, however the Embassy CAN provide you and/or your loan provider with a letter stating your position as a teaching assistant and the details of your placement, contract length, salary, etc. Please contact your loan provider directly for more information.

Assistants are generally not allowed to have second official jobs. Rules are subject to change by school district and regional labor authority. Assistants are advised to check directly with their school contact person in France to find out if second jobs are allowed (and if so, what rules apply).

Many assistants earn extra money by tutoring or babysitting on the side for cash.

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