TAPIF Tip: How to Get a Second Job

TAPIF is a great (and legal!) way to work in France for seven months. Being a lectrice is even better, with a two-year contract. However, contracts only designate assistants to work 12 hours per week, and lecteurs only 200-300 hours per year. Assistants are only paid about 790€ per month, where as lecteurs are paid about 1227€ per month. If you live frugally, and bring extra savings, it’s entirely possible to live a comfortable lifestyle. However, for Americans who have student loans and love to travel (like myself), these low salaries just do not cut it.

Technically, assistants and lecteurs are allowed to work second jobs, but you do need approved permission from the Prefecture. Below, here are a few ideas and guidelines for finding extra work in France.

  1. Private Tutoring- This is how I made all of my extra money in France– under the table, un-taxed, tutoring money. This is the easiest way to go, especially because you don’t need official permission! I used various networking sources to find tutoring jobs in Lille, Valenciennes and Toulon. In Valenciennes, the person I replaced left my number and email (with my permission, of course), with eight different families, creating about 12 extra tutoring hours for me. Once I moved to Lille for my second year as a lectrice, I networked with people on the Facebook page to pass along my old families and well as get in touch with new ones. Finally, many of my friends simply advertised their services on sites such as leboncoin.
  2. Babysitting or Au Pairing- Like tutoring, many times you can find families who need child care on Wednesdays, nights, and weekends. Sometimes, you can even negotiate rent or housing, depending on where you live! Many families post on Assistant Facebook pages. For example, Americans in France and Assistants Considering Masters in France are two great Facebook groups to join, because many other expats either post to pass along families or to find willing people to employ! If you’re more into au pairing, try Aupairworld
  3.  Work as a vacataire or in a private language school- A vacataire is a French word for a person who works at a school, but does not have a contract (ie: Teaching one class at a university). There is TONS of work out there for English teachers, but you almost always have to already have working papers in place. Contact your local universities or go directly to the Rectorat for information regarding vacataire positions– they pay really well, even if you are not paid right away. Other options include private language schools such as Berlitz and Inlingua. If you’d rather work with kids, and live in a city, check around private language schools- Excelangues, Petits Bilingues, etc. During my assistant year in Toulon, I did extra hours at Playschool Toulon, which helped fund my travels! You will normally need permission from the Prefecture to do these hours, but as long as it does not interfere with your job as an assistant, you will be okay! One great way to find these positions is to subscribe to TESOL France.
  4. Work at a Summer Camp: If you want to stay in France and make extra cash during the summer, apply to be a camp counselor! There are tons of opportunities in Europe, and usually you are paid in cash and do not need a visa (ie: leave the Schengen Zone and come back after your assistant visa has expired). I have friends who have worked for American Village and Little Big Land.
  5. Teach During the Holidays or Teach Overtime: Sometimes as an assistant you get the opportunity to work extra hours during the school holidays. If you’re not planning to travel, this is an excellent (and completely legal!) Opportunity to make money. As a lecteur, see if you can teach overtime at your university. I made almost 4.000€ last year, and even though I wasn’t paid right away, it was totally worth it!

As you can tell from my blog, I do a lot of extra traveling, and it would not be possible without this extra money. Of course my extra work hours mean I am a lot busier than most assistants and even lecteurs during the weeks, but for me, it’s worth it.

My advice for assistants looking for extra work is to:

  1. Be Proactive.
  2. Research community learning centers in your area. For example, the American psychic I ran into back on Halloween is needed someone to substitute her evening class at the community center one week. I gladly volunteered (and earned 50€ in cash in exchange).
  3. Post advertisements at the university in your town. Also, post advertisements on various websites such as leboncoin or Aupairworld, in you’re interested in babysitting.
  4. Talk to your colleagues, students, and fellow assistants. Maybe someone needs a tutor or babysitter?.
  5. Network within your city. Do you talk with your local market vendors, etc? Maybe they’re looking for some help, or even a babysitter!
  6. Network with past assistants and lecteurs on the Facebook page. Maybe they have clients to pass on to you!
  7. Follow up on offers or simple conversations. Don’t be shy.
  8. Finally, don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. Originally I was going to charge 15€ per hour, I was told that as a certified teacher I have every right to ask for at least 20€). Additionally, if something is not working for you, do not be afraid to say something (ie: flaky or stingy families, working too much for too little money, etc.)

Do you have anything else to add? How have you found extra work as an assistant? Shoot me a comment below.


20 thoughts on “TAPIF Tip: How to Get a Second Job

  1. Hi! Thanks for the advice. I met a family that wants to declare me on their taxes while I work for TAPIF in Versailles. I have essentially heard that while the school will approve it, the government almost never will. Is this true? Will it be easier with babysitting / having a family advocating for me? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi, I think the rules may have changed since I did TAPIF because it was still possible for EU citizens to have a second job. I think it’s worth a shot. Why not?

  2. Hi Dana!
    Your blog is super helpful!

    I just got offered a job as a babysitter (while I’m an assistant in Agen) and the mother of the family wants to declare me on her taxes. I wouldn’t be paying taxes, it would be for her so she can receive a break at the end of the year.
    I was curious how your friend who did au pairing was able to be an assistant at the same time? Did they change visas here in France? Did they have to ask the prefecture for permission?
    The family is willing to pay a good amount of money and I don’t want to miss out on it!

    Thanks for any advice you could provide me with!


    1. Hi! Thanks for the compliment !

      I don’t think she needed to change her status– she just got permission from the school to work an extra job, but you won’t make enough to have to file taxes so no worries 🙂

      1. Thanks for replying!

        Sorry for another question, did she work in primaire or secondaire?

        I’ve tried asking my contact person because I’m in primaire and they haven’t responded yet.

  3. Hi Dana!

    Thanks so much for all of this information – I have applied to TAPIF and am anxiously awaiting word. Just curious – is there a typical rate for babysitting/tutoring? Or is it all according to the wealth of the region?

    Also, regarding CAF… I saw somewhere online that you need to provide a copy of a year long lease. As TAPIF is only 7 months, does that mean that most assistants deal with the cost of breaking the lease?

    Merci !


    1. Hi Kat!

      Thanks so much for your comment!

      For babysitting I am not of much help, but for tutoring it depends a bit on the region, tho I would say 20€ is more than fair for most (maybe 15€ for primary students in a poor region like the north!) I’ve always charged between that…

      In regards to CAF, you need to provide a valid lease but it doesn’t necessarily have to be for a year… In France you have the right to leave your place with 1 month notice if you lived in a furnished apartment , and 3-month notice if it was unfurnished… Usually assistants can either negotiate end of lease, or just give their notice. Be sure you live in a place that will qualify for CAF, or APL; be sure to ask the landlord ! I don’t recommend you come to France absolutely banking on CAF because it can be a very tedious process, and can take many months – but it’s worth it in the end.

      Let me know if you have any other questions, good luck !

  4. I interviewed to teach a few extra hours (2 a week, and maybe 20 hours during school holidays), at an English school that is run as a private business. The director wants me to get “autoentrepreneur”, have you heard of this?

    1. Hmmm, I haven’t personally, but I had a friend who did au pairing who I think had to do something similar. Don’t quote me on this, but I believe it’s basically so you can claim and possibly pay taxes.

  5. Hi! Love your blog. I was wondering if you knew anything about the likelihood of picking up extra work in smaller places? The town I’m in has a population of 10,000, and the only larger town nearby (and it’s half an hour by train, so I don’t know if it would be worth going there for an hour’s work) has only 20,000. I’m hoping to be able to supplement my income and stave off boredom with some tutoring but I’m worried my options will be a bit limited. There’s obviously not much I can do if that’s the case, but I’d rather be prepared! Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi! Thanks for reading! Yeah, I wouldn’t bother taking the train for an hour of tutoring (you may lose money doing it anyways!) In your case, it’s really all about networking. Is there a university in your town? Additionally, talk with your teachers and your students (especially if you’re in high school!) to see if they or their own children need tutors. Announce this to your classes. Perhaps stop by the local elementary school and see if there is a way to hang up a sign advertising to parents about availability on Wednesday afternoons. Post your skills on websites like LeBonCoin. See if your town has any MeetUp groups. Good Luck! 🙂

  6. Hi I am in the TAPIF program 2014-2015 and I am extremely worried about the low stipend. I do not see how it is possible to live on that especially when you have to find your own housing. Do you think that it is easy to find another job and to make enough money without worrying about making rent and bills every month?

    1. I networked a LOT to find my tutoring jobs, which helped a ton! I made an extra 100€ per week sometimes if no one canceled! But, You need to be willing to think outside the box and out yourself out there to find opportunities (ie: advertising online, at universities, with your students and colleges, etc.) 🙂

      Also with CAF rent can be reduced and that also helps.

      You do need to come with at least a bit of savings to get you started /help if the stipend isn’t enough.

      Other ways I saved money is buying a bike and riding it instead of paying for the bus.

  7. Thanks for posting these! I’m loving your blog, but the way. I’ve also heard of people charging 20-25 euros/hour. I’ll be in Bordeaux this Fall, so I’ll also be looking for students to tutor then.

  8. Do you know how likely it is to get jobs with French companies? I have a lot of experience with bookstores (in music, DVD, and book departments) here in the US and love the idea of working in a French music or bookstore.

    1. With jobs like that you will have to get permission from TAPIF and your school to work extra hours as well as pay taxes and claim your income. It’s possible though, I have a friend who is an au pair. Maybe if you’re lucky the job you’ll find would be willing to pay you en noir, or under the table 🙂

      1. Hi Dana,
        So there isn’t an hourly/monetary limit with the assistant visa that would prevent us from working a second job that isn’t paid under the table?
        Thanks for the blog – very helpful!

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