To obtain a job as a French teacher in any state of the United States, you must demonstrate that you are bilingual in both French and English. Even if you are fluent in French, you must take a degree program with a major concentration in French courses and the appropriate teacher-training program so that you have the methodology courses you need for teaching this subject. In compliance with No Child Left Behind, all states are now hiring only ''highly qualified'' teachers that not only have the university credentials for the job, but also pass rigorous tests to demonstrate their competency in the language.
As a French teacher, it is not enough just to be able to speak the language. In order to pass the content exams, you have to show that you are competent in grammar, be able to read and understand the written language and to be able to write essays in French. One of the sections on the exam consists of presenting you with student writing samples in French, which you have to correct by identifying the errors. One of the components of the teacher preparation program most states look for when you apply for certification is that you have completed a student teaching element for a term of the school year in which you work in a classroom with a teacher of French.
When you decide to become a French teacher in the regular school system, you have to decide what age groups of students you wish to teach. Each of these requires a different schedule of teacher training and methods courses. You might decide that you would prefer to teach adults or continue on with your degree program to receive post-graduate degrees that would qualify you to teach in a university or college.
Most universities in the country offer the degree program you need to become a French teacher. You can also obtain your degree by attending a university in Quebec, Canada, where you can become immersed in the French culture by living in a city where French is the official language. Many universities in the US have agreements with Canadian universities under which students can study at a Canadian university for a year and have the courses counted toward their degree program at their home university. You can also choose to study in France and be sure you get the French language training you need. There is an alternative that you can take of which many French students may not be aware. The island of St. Pierre, off the east coast of Canada, is actually a colony of France and is a typical French community. The international school there, called Francoforum, caters to students from all over the world who want to immerse themselves in an intense French program.
If you receive your credentials as a French teacher from outside the country, you will still be eligible for teacher certification in any state. When you apply for certification, you must submit your transcripts of university and teacher training programs. For the credentials from outside the country, the state licensing agency will have to verify that you have met the requirements. This may take a little longer, but you will still meet the requirements.