Questions about TEFL and TESOL in France

1Is the TEFL course for me?
In our experience, and judging by past successful trainees, we think TEFL TOULOUSE is probably for you if some or all of these ring true for you:

  • You are interested in the English language, how it works and all its quirkiness
  • You want a course with plenty of teaching practice to accompany the theory – a minimum of 6 observed hours, as well as peer teaching
  • There is a bit of a performer in you, waiting to get out!
  • You like working with people
  • World travel appeals to you
  • You can dedicate 4 weeks to the course, without any other commitments
  • You are energetic and lively
  • You are at a bit of a crossroads in your life
  • You are interested in foreign cultures, languages and lifestyles
  • You see TEFL as an appealing (temporary or permanent) career
  • Doing a 9 to 5 office job doesn’t appeal to you / you are sick to death of it!
  • You want to have fun at work, and have a sense of humour
  • You enjoy languages, and travelling / living abroad
  • The South West of France / Toulouse appeals to you
  • You are independent
  • You want a big change of direction or career
  • You are accompanying a partner overseas / already have a working partner here
  • You have children and are looking for a flexible part time job, with possible full time options in the future
  • You are not completely sure you want to teach, but in any case want to lose your shyness and improve your ability to address groups of people confidently and in an engaging way

2How is TEFL Toulouse different to other TEFL courses?

First of all, as mentioned above, this is not an online course, and is not a weekend TEFL course in a hotel. It is the basic teaching qualification you need to kick start your teaching career, lasts 4 weeks (Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 7pm) and includes 6 hours of observed teaching practice.

We get excellent reviews from nearly all our ex trainees, and are in the heart of the south of France where there is a high demand for teachers. Several local language schools are so happy with our trainees and reputation they  want to meet you right after you finish your training with us! Every afternoon we proactively help you plan your lessons with one trainer for every 6 trainees – many TEFL courses just have someone in the office available to help you if you dare to bother them. We include sessions on teaching Business English, Young Learners and technology in the classroom.

Being the only TEFL course in South West France we are the reference point for all language schools recruiting in the area. Of course we have ex trainees working all over the world too! Jonathan Davies the training centre owner and founder still works on every TEFL course we offer. Of course, being externally accredited by IATQUO means that you don’t have to take our word for any of this! Their job is to moderate us and the course regularly to make sure only the highest standards are met.

We do not take a cut in your accommodation fees, meaning that your course plus accommodation total outlay may end up being cheaper than doing the TEFL course in your nearest capital city! We offer job guidance for life,

Read here for an unusual case of someone who did our course AND another one!

3How much is the TEFL course?

The costs vary depending on which month you choose and you can see the prices on the Course dates and Fees on the app form and maybe to the right of this text if you are using a laptop! You’ll find it’s about 1300 – 1700 euros all included. You can save hundreds by doing the course in the earlier part of the year! You’ll need about an extra 400+euros for accommodation (see our accommodation page) and money to live on for the 4 weeks. The cost of living in Toulouse is about the same as in a medium sized city the UK or US.
4Are there teaching jobs in France and Toulouse?

Yes, and you would be surprised how many of our trainees aren’t looking to work in Toulouse itself, so the city is far from saturated with teachers. Jobs are coming in all the time, and we forward them to ex-trainees who tell us that they are looking for work, or tweet them, or put them on our facebook page.
5Will I pass the TEFL course?
Almost certainly – if you are able to work at degree level and are prepared to work hard and put much of your life on hold for the 4 weeks! We do endeavour to only accept trainees who we feel can get through. As there is continual assessment, you will be informed early on if your work is not reaching the required standard, so you can make adjustments. If you struggle with the teaching aspect there is sometimes the possibility of arranging further teaching practices post course, but this is at our discretion, and further fees are incurred so try to avoid this. Completion of theory work takes priority over teaching practice as work to be completed during the 4 weeks. We are very supportive throughout. Experienced teachers take heed – there may be some habits that need breaking!
6How does the teaching practice on a TEFL course work? Who do I teach on the TEFL course? How often do I teach?
You teach a minimum of 6 hours in total, to small groups (usually 4 to 12 students) of mixed age and mixed nationality – so no speaking French, even if you can! You will gain experience of teaching at least two different levels. Your students come to the classes for free and are delighted to have a real teacher teaching them – the classes are a lot of fun! The first lesson you teach in week 1 is largely planned for you. We give you plenty of help planning your lessons, and you get in-depth and very supportive feedback after each time you teach. You will also observe your fellow trainees and experienced teachers.

7How intensive is the TEFL course? What if I am ill / need to take time off during the TEFL course?
You need to be free of any other commitments (including other work, dental appointments, etc!) for the month you are with us, and do all you can to not miss any element of the course. If you have young children we recommend that you find someone to feed and entertain them in the evenings. You are essentially learning to be a language teacher, and learning the ‘rules’ of the English language, in just 4 weeks. Attendance at the training centre is from 9.15am to 7pm Monday to Friday (with breaks and lunch break), and you will need to do some work in the evenings and weekends too. You will have the possibility of some afternoons most weeks when you can leave the training centre at 4pm,  but each course varies re this, so for the moment keep all your time free.  We do not recommend more than about a 45 minute drive to reach us if you live in France already – we can provide local accommodation for the 4 weeks. The whole thing is such fun though – just see our testimonials from ex-trainees!

Of course mishaps happen. If you have genuine unforeseen problems we are usually able to implement special procedures to help you get through your TEFL course. This usually involves teaching any missed classes during of just after the course so you might want to avoid booking a flight to leave right away! Each extra teaching practice that we have to set up for you costs 80 euros.

8How do I apply for the TEFL course?
Just fill out this application form! Take your time here – we need to see your true writing ability, especially for the 400 word part at the end of the form. This question also asks you to reflect on why you want to do the course, which is important for you to think about. Of course, by applying you are not tied to anything – and do give us a call or email first if you have any questions – we are here to help.

9How can I pay for the TEFL course?
You can pay by online bank transfer, cheque from a French bank account, or cash in person. You are responsible for any bank charges. We are often able to accept last minute applications. In this case we will ask you to pay the full course fee in one go.

10What do I need to read before the TEFL course?
All course materials are supplied, and books for reference are available. We do recommend either Jeremy Harmer’s The Practice of Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or Jim Scrivener’s Learning Teaching if you want to find out more about language teaching and learning, although the course is largely based on these two books anyway. Peter Watkins’ Learning to Teach English is an excellent “in a nutshell” version of the TEFL course.

11Should I get my TEFL certification online?
The short answer is NO! Unless you just want to learn ABOUT teaching. Most employers will not take on anyone who just has an online qualification. They need to know that you can stand up and teach a class, and have done this repeatedly and had indepth feedback about your teaching style. If you owned a language school, would you take on someone who only has an online qualification?

We recommend Raymond Murphy’s English Grammar in Use (Intermediate) as a lifelong grammar reference / exercise book. If you cannot get hold of “Murphy” then try Michael Swan’s Practical English Usage

TEFL course accommodation

1Do you provide accommodation?
We have hand picked some great host families, single owners renting a room and studio flats – past trainees have been delighted. Prices are around 400 to 700 euros for the 4 weeks. You can often pay a bit extra and arrive a few days early or leave a few days later, and this is highly recommended – just pay the host family a bit extra for the extra days. It is highly unlikely you will want to leave Toulouse just as you have finished the course and can start to really discover the city and have fun. Of course you might want to do one of our add on courses

Please see our Accommodation page or get in touch for more information – every situation is different and we are very flexible! Please finalise accommodation with us well before you arrive, to be on the safe side. Accommodation fees are paid direct to the owner upon arrival.

You should absolutely AVOID trying to find somewhere to live on your own with just a few days before the course – it’s too risky. Beware of staying with party-type friends too – you need to study! Any questions, just email us at

2When should I arrive in Toulouse?
Ex-trainees who don’t know Toulouse have recommended arriving at least 3 days before the course starts and leaving perhaps 5 days after it ends, so that you have time to explore the city – you will be too busy during the course to go out much during the week! Also if for some reason you need to do extra teaching practice, it is good to have a few extra days the week after the course so that we can set this up. Or come and do an add on French course with us the week after your TEFL course ends!

3What do I need to bring to the TEFL course?
Bring your laptop computer if you have one – we have wifi and remote printing and you’ll want to use it in the evenings. No need to bring many clothes – the shops are great here! Don’t worry too much about your lack of French –  everyone in Toulouse seems to want to practise their English!

4Where is the training centre? Does it have parking?
TEFL Toulouse is located just next to the Jardin des plantes in the centre of Toulouse. Please see this map for the exact location. Free parking spots can often be found about 5 minutes walk away – otherwise you can probably park right in front of the school – at a price! We can sometimes let you use one of our two parking places for 20 euros a week or so – just contact us!

TEFL Toulouse graduates

One of our first ever courses in 2010!

St Sernin

St Sernin, the emblem of Toulouse

TEFL course entry requirements

1Do I have to be a native speaker of English to do a TEFL course?
Most trainees on the course are native speakers of English but around 20% are non-native speakers. If you are a non-native speaker you must have excellent English to be accepted. If in doubt, just contact us or fill in the application form. Non-native speakers whose application form we accept  have a short oral interview (by Skype or telephone) to establish their spoken level of English. You can use this chat to ask us questions about the course!
2Do I need a university degree?
We accept candidates without a degree, but we need to see that you are able to study at degree level.

3What is the minimum and maximum age for the TEFL course?
We are one of the few TEFL courses that accept applicants as young as 18 and have produced some excellent young teachers. We do not have a maximum age limit but have seen that over 65s have tended to struggle to gain certification in the past.

4Do I need to speak French to do the TEFL course?
You do NOT need to speak French to follow the course – TEFL methodology enables you to teach students whose language you do not speak. However, if you want to stay in France post course you should start learning! Why not book a one week add-on French course the week after your TEFL course ends?

5Can Americans do a TEFL course in France? Can Canadians do a TEFL course in France? Can Australians do a TEFL course in France?
If you are from the US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand then you can always just come and do our TEFL TOULOUSE course on a standard 3 month tourist visa. 3 months is still plenty of time to do the course and then enjoy France / Europe! Jonathan is an ex-tour guide for France and Spain and can recommend some great locations and even suggest some mini tours! Canadians, Australians and NZers can usually obtain “working holiday visas” to live and work in France for a year.

If you are based in the US you might even want to compare the cost of a local TEFL course + accommodation (if you don’t live where the course is) at home, with TEFL TOULOUSE + flight + about 400 euros for accommodation with us. There may not be that much difference and you will have the time of your life for 3 months!

If you are from Canada, Australia or New Zealand and are 18 to 30 years old, then you should ask your French consulate about the “working holiday agreements” whereby you can have paid employment in France for up to a year without having to worry about special visas.

It’s all about reciprocal agreements between countries – and these do change. Contact your French consulate / embassy to get the most up to date and relevant information for your case.

Of course if you have a European passport, you do not need to do anything – you can live and work anywhere in the EU.

*By purchasing a French course (at the Alliance Francaise) whilst in your home country, Americans, Canadians and Australians are sometimes able to come and stay for up to a year teaching in Toulouse. Contact us or see our Working after the course page for more details.

Teaching English in France without a degree

Quite a few of our ex trainees are teaching English in France without a degree. Some employers will ask for a degree, others won’t. For example a language school that is looking for a TEFL qualified business English teacher will chose someone who has a TEFL certificate and 20 years of business experience over a 21 year old with a degree from Oxford! Yet they will probably choose the 21 year old for the job teaching 8 year olds! What all language schools do ask for in France is a TEFL Certificate such as ours (rather than an online one).

Do I need a degree to do a TEFL course?

The TEFL Toulouse course does not require applicants to have a degree. The course is pitched at degree level though so you would need to be able to study at this level. Essentially this means absorbing a lot of new information in just a few weeks, and being suited to the profession. We take each application separately – click here to apply!

Working after the TEFL course

1Will TEFL Toulouse help me find a job wherever I want to go after the course?

We offer a lifelong job guidance service for teaching English abroad. This means that as well as providing in-depth help setting up in France, we can give you support for the rest of your life, regardless of the location – we have ex-trainees who have taught in Brazil, Korea, Vietnam, China (one 22 year old earning 40,000 euros a year there!) Mexico, Spain, Italy…… just stay in touch after the course. We are always here to help ex trainees.

See our Working after the course page for more information.

2Will I be able to find teaching work straight away after the TEFL course? What sort of TEFL work will I get?
On average, our past graduates get some teaching work as little as a week after they finish, and get a full teaching timetable by around a month later. Some language schools offer short or long-term contracts, but we also show you how to set up as a freelancer (auto-entrepreneur in French), as language schools want freelancers more and more these days. Schools will usually start you off with around 10 hours a week to see how you get on, then increase once they realise how good you are! – and you can top this up with private teaching and teaching online.

We also have a lot of ex-trainees who make a living teaching English in their home or gite in France, and some have even gone on to open their own language school. Some are running drama in English in their local French village hall! The sky really is the limit -why not think outside the box?

See our Working after the course page for more information.

3How much can I earn teaching English in France?
Language schools usually pay anything from 18 to 35 euros an hour. Often they look for freelance teachers as they need short term work or a last minute teacher. If you set yourself up as a freelancer (auto-entrepreneur – we show you how to do this) – you can name your fee, but the ranges are pretty much as above as to what individuals and language schools are happy to pay. We had one ex trainee who had previously worked in finance and marketing in London who charged 80 an hour!

freelance autoentrepreneur form online

setting yourself up online as a freelance teacher

Universities here in Toulouse are often looking for part time teachers to cover maternity leave etc , and pay TEFL teachers up to 60 euros an hour. This is more for you after you have been teaching for a couple of years and be careful – they pay up to 9 months in arrears (!) so you need to  have other steady work in the side.


See our Working after the course page for more information.

4I'm European. What documents do I need to bring to work in France?
You can just come with your passport as if you were going on holiday. Any paperwork can be done here after the course.

Living and working in France as a teacher and healthcare costs

1What is the cost of living in France? What about eating and drinking in Toulouse?
It’s about the same as in the US or UK, perhaps a little cheaper. Toulouse is less expensive than Paris or London, of course. As a rule of thumb, eating and drinking wine is cheaper, drinking beer is generally more expensive than the UK or USA. Eating out at night in France can be much cheaper than most imagine – a fabulous French dinner with plenty of wine can be had for 25 euros in Toulouse – and for about 12 euros at lunchtime. There are great organic fruit and veg markets here too which can save a LOT of money, as French supermarkets tend to be a bit pricey. A bottle of wine costs about 4 euros at supermarkets. You can travel very cheaply within France and around Europe using Flixbus

For renting after the course, a room in a shared flat goes for about 300 euros a month, your own little studio for about 500 euros a month. Toulousains love picnicking by the river too when the sun’s out – and it costs virtually nothing! If you want to save even more money, you can pop across the border to Spain and stock up. Healthcare is CHEAP for Americans in France, compared to at home, so don’t let this be an issue! We had an American chap break his ankle last year  while in Toulouse. Total fee including x rays, plaster cast, crutches.. about 65 dollars. Which they forgot to charge!

2What's public transport like in Toulouse?
Public transport is cheap, everyone uses the rent-a-bike scheme, but taxis – which you cannot hail – can be pricey. The number is +33(0)5 34 250250. Try Uber? Toulouse is the perfect size to walk across anyway.

What is the difference between TEFL and TESOL and CELTA (etc)

1Should I do a TEFL, CELTA, online or weekend TEFL course? Why do TEFL course prices differ?
First things first. Courses that are just over a weekend or online can be very cheap – but probably won’t get you a job! Can you really learn to teach with a webcam or over a weekend in a hotel?  If you owned a language school would you take on a teacher who has learnt to become a teacher online or over a weekend?

Our feeling is that you can learn about language and its teaching this way, and if that’s what you want then this may be the option for you. But we believe you have to teach classes repeatedly for a total minimum of 6 hours, with periods of several days reflection in between each lesson. We also think you need feedback from observers, to become a “real” teacher and avoid making the mistakes that even very experienced teachers make. Our trainees often talk about the learning curve involved with being observed, and wonder how one could ever learn to teach without actually teaching and getting feedback. Could you learn to drive a car by reading a manual? Play a sport by watching it? Teaching practice, observation and feedback from experienced trainers is essential, and is our speciality.

Price differences for 4 week intensive courses like ours are largely to do with the cost of the validation process mentioned above, as well as paying the rent and the staff! We firmly believe in having pleasant city centre premises and paying staff what they deserve, so you might find us a little pricier than the competition. We think we are the best! You will find that our Spring courses are the cheapest – you can save 100s!

Because traditional validating bodies like Trinity and Cambridge (CELTA) are well known, they charge the training centre more money, and charge more often, and this extra cost gets passed on to you when you pay the course fee. Some centres can offer lower priced CELTA courses but then might charge more for accommodation, or run courses with very large numbers of trainees, less time allocated to help you plan your lessons. Many smaller training centres have opted out of CELTA due to the fees they would have to pay and the straitjacket approach they sometimes require with course content.

CELTA stands for Certificate in Language Teaching to Adults. Here at TEFL TOULOUSE we also include sessions on how to teach children and teenagers, as well as help finding work in France. CELTA and Trinity are probably the best known validators and provide guaranteed excellent courses, but there are more and more TEFL courses out there. You just have to tread carefully (see “How do I choose a TEFL course?” below)!

2What is TEFL course moderation / TEFL course accreditation / TEFL course validation?
We believe that having experts come to scrutinize us is in your interest as well as ours. TEFL courses, as with anything you purchase, should be obliged to be what they claim to be, and do what they claim to do. External moderation (resulting in “validation”or “accreditation”) visits ensure that certain standards are met and maintained. It’s what adds the required weight to your TEFL qualification, and gives you peace of mind when you book a course. Some of the best known external validating bodies for TEFL courses in Europe are Cambridge (CELTA), Trinity, SIT in the USA, and IATQuO. We have opted for validation by the latter who require similar standards. Unfortunately there are some “pirate” TEFL courses out there who do not adhere to high standards, or claim to be externally accredited, when in fact the accrediting body has been set up internally!

Be wary particularly if the address of the training centre is not immediately apparent and you seem to be getting funnelled into a huge worldwide corporation. More on this in “how do I choose a TEFL course?” below…

3How do I choose a TEFL course?
When choosing a TEFL course you should consider the following (or just go ahead and  apply for ours !):

  • The exact location of the training centre (i.e. not just which city or region, but which part of the city). You must find out the address of the training centre to prove it exists! Google maps?
  • Validating body (is it really an external impartial body, and is it credible?)
  • Reputation of the course – do some googling re course reviews, and read testimonials
  • Does the website feel academic? Friendly? Homely? Honest? Helpful? Or does it feel like a travel agent site selling backpacking holidays? Discounts and flashing lights?
  • Qualifications and teaching / training experience of the lead trainer and other staff. Lead trainers need to be PGCE / DELTA qualified. Other staff should all be TEFL Cert. + 2 years teaching, plus intensive training.
  • Number of teaching practice hours and course duration – go for a minimum of 6 hours teaching practice and 120 hours of tutor / trainee contact time, as per British Council requirements.
  • Minimum and maximum number of trainees on the course / in any room at once! 5 to 16 ideally. Careful – some courses take huge groups of trainees and as a result trainees get reduced contact time with staff.
  • Course length (usually 4 weeks). Some places offer 5 week courses to spread things out, but of course you’ll pay more for accommodation.
  • How much lesson planning help do trainees get from trainers? There should be at least 1.5 hours a day given to lesson planning with the presence of a trainer with one trainer for every 6 or 7 trainees.
  • The cost and location of accommodation – watch out!! This can be a real shocker, e.g. if you do your TEFL course in somewhere like London or NYC. We have seen accommodation fees of over £2000 in London!
  • The cost of living, and travelling to the training centre (again, beware of big cities like London and NYC). It is also recommended that you do a TEFL course in the area you would like to teach in, to get to know the culture / city, to be on the spot to start work after the course, and to avoid another air fare just for the interviews. Most language schools in Europe only interview teachers who are already living locally!
  • Finally, what are the employment opportunities, post course, if you plan to stay in the area?

We feel we are very competitively priced for a city centre training centre. Our certificate is externally moderated by IATQuO, we get excellent reviews, our courses maintain 120+ hours tutor-trainee contact time with 6 hours minimum teaching practice. Groups are usually from 7 to 12 trainees, although we may be able to accept a few more in the summer. Accommodation is around 400 to 700 euros for the 4 weeks so that keeps your price well down, as do all the low cost flights arriving in Toulouse…

Still want to shop around? At the end of the day, go with your instinct. Did the school answer your enquiry quickly? Does it feel too glossy and generic? Are you getting personalised or cut and paste responses? Can you pop in for a visit and talk to current trainees? Is the emphasis really on teacher training, or just on having a 4 week holiday?

4What do TEFL, TESOL, ELT and CELTA stand for? TEFL acronyms defined!

ESL = English as a Second Language
EFL = English as a Foreign Language
TEFL = Teaching English as a Foreign Language
TESOL = Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (what TEFL is known as in the USA)
ELT = English Language Teaching
ESP = English for Specific Purposes (eg for Pilots)
CELTA = Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (the name that Cambridge chose for their TEFL course)

There are also lots of acronyms for names of exams that learners of English take. Here are some:
IELTS, TOEFL, TOEIC, KET, PET, FCE, CAE, CPE, BULATS… the list goes on! You will learn about all these on the course!

The Certificate in TEFL, (aka “The Cert”). This is the first qualification and is what we offer at TEFL TOULOUSE

The Diploma in English Language Teaching to Adults (aka DELTA or “The Dip”) is what you may wish to go on to do after a few years teaching.

5What's the difference between a TEFL course and a TESOL program?
They are exactly the same. In Europe we tend to call the industry TEFL, whereas in the US, TESOL is used to describe what we do. British English uses the word “course” while American English sometimes uses the word “program”. Learn about “trousers” v “pants”, “colour” and “color” and other British English versus American English differences on the TEFL Toulouse course!
6Is there a best time of year to do a TEFL course?
If you teach privately, there is less of a “hiring period” – individuals are looking for teachers all year round and you will surely find work by ensuring you have plenty of ads up around town wherever you live. The majority of hiring in language schools gets done in September and October, June and July for the coming academic year, and again in the New Year, but TEFL is booming in France so there is work to be found in the local language schools all year round. Any time is a good time to qualify to be an EFL teacher in France! Also because many people work in TEFL to travel, the turnover in language schools is quite high, as people want to try teaching in another country. We used to recommend against qualifying just before the summer, but then ex-trainees came back to us saying they had landed a job in June for July and August! So now we don’t!

Apply Now!