The requirements to be a French teacher differ depending on what level of student you want to teach. If you're interested in teaching in a state school, you'll need to get the appropriate state certification. If you want to teach French at the university level, you'll need a higher level of college degree--a master's or Ph.D. And if you want to be a French tutor, you only need to advertise your services.
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Go to School
If you haven't gone to college yet, it's easy to find a university that offers a degree program that will set you up to become a French teacher. You could also study to get a degree at a university in a country where you will be immersed in the French language, such as Canada. (See References.) The French embassy, with offices in Washington and New York, also offers training programs in France to enrich a teacher's cultural knowledge.
Know Both Languages
To teach French in the U.S., you must be fluent in both French and English. If English is your first language, you'll need to pass proficiency exams that show you are well versed in the French language and have knowledge of the country and culture. If French is your first language, you will likely have to show you're proficient in English before taking the teaching certification exams. (See References.)
Understand the Culture
In addition to being able to speak the language, you'll need to know the culture of France. You should be able to identify major figures in French history and politics. You'll also need to have knowledge of art, geography and food--anything that shapes and characterises French culture--so that you can convey those aspects of French life to students. In oral tests to receive teacher certification, you'll be expected to demonstrate proficiency by showing that you can respond to a speaker by expressing emotions and opinions. In written tests, you'll need to present French lessons.
Get a Credential
Requirements to be a French teacher in a state school vary from state to state. Start by checking the state department of education for information regarding the necessary tests and forms required to get a teaching certificate or state license. If you were a teacher in France, you should be able to show that your credentials there translate to credentials here. In most cases, you will need take an exam to show proficiency.
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