As an English teacher in France, you've probably heard about the CPF system, OPCO's and Qualiopi. The question is, is it worth doing Qualiopi now?
I just updated this article in September 2023, after the government's announcement to cancle the reste à charge for the CPF.
In this article:
What is Qualiopi?
Qualiopi is a quality audit that any organisme de formation (training organisation) in France that wants to offer training paid for by public funds (CPF, OPCO, FAF, Pole Emploi etc) has to do. It's quite a thorough audit of your processes and all the systems you have in place to ensure continuous improvement.
The first audit lasts one day and goes through 32 indicators (not all of them apply to organismes de formation) and there is a second audit de surveillance around 1.5 years later, which should last half a day. The certification is valid for 3 years, and then you have to do it all over again.
If you'd like to know more about the Qualiopi indicators, click here to download the list that I've adapted for English teachers.
How much does Qualiopi cost?
It costs around 1500€, which includes the initial audit and the audit de surveillance, although the prices depend on which company does your audit and how much they charge for expenses when they do an in-person audit. One of your audits will normally be in-person.
I've never done any of my own training - can I still do Qualiopi?
It used to be that you could be a brand-new organisme de formation and you could do your Qualiopi. Now you need to be in your 1st year of operations, which means that you have to have done some training (not as a sub-contractor, as your own company.) As far as I understand it, this is to make sure that you really understand the processes and have them all in place, and of course to limit the number of organismes de formation obtaining Qualiopi, which I think is one of the government's aims... Your audit de surveillance will be a full day to ensure that you are following the quality processes and you have proof of this.
If you are thinking about doing Qualiopi, I assume that you have done some training and you have some students. I would suggest putting in place all the processes as outlined in the indicators and making sure that you have at least one student you can show that went through all of the processes. Remember that it has to be adult training: Qualiopi doesn't apply if you teac children or teens.
Once I have Qualiopi I can offer CPF training, right?
Unfortunately, no. Just having Qualiopi doesn't qualify you to add your training onto the CPF platform. To put your training programmes onto EDOF (the CPF back-office) you need to supply several documents (your NDA, your BPF, your Qualiopi certificate etc) and you need to have an habilitation from a certificateur. This means going to one of the companies who offer certifications, such as Toeic, Chloe, Leveltel, English 360 or Bright, and going through their habilitation process. They will usually ask you to show your programmes, the number of students you intend to put through their test and evidence (like a website) that you are a genuine - and perhaps established - organisme de formation.
Besides CPF, what can I do with Qualiopi?
If you have Qualiopi but you're not yet on the CPF site, you can still offer training to companies and independents, paid by their OPCOs. Not all companies will use their OPCO for training, and each OPCO has different criteria for how much they will pay. In my experience, companies often ask me if I have Qualiopi so that they have the option to use their fund.
The benefits of Qualiopi
For me, the biggest benefit of Qualiopi has been the freedom to price my courses so that I can sub-contract to other teachers. This has meant I have scaled my business and have a much bigger client base than I would ever have been able to manage alone.
If you want to teach adults, another huge benefit is that you have a much bigger pool of potential students: most working adults have a CPF budget and they'd rather use it than pay for their training out of their own pocket.
The limits of Qualiopi
Having Qualiopi and having your training on the CPF site won't suddenly bring you a whole load of new students: you still need to market your offers. A very small percentage of my clients have come directly from finding me on the CPF site. The majority come from other marketing.
If you'd like to know more about marketing your teaching business and finding more students, I'm going to be running a new course very soon that you can join using your own training budget. Just register your interest here and I'll keep you updated!
Is it worth doing Qualiopi now?
Please note that these are my own opinions based on what I know of the current situation: hopefully you'll find it helpful, but please do not take this as me telling you what you should do.
Maybe if you are going to be working with or you already work with corporate clients. Even though more and more corporate clients are paying for training directly, there are still companies who use their OPCO's. It also means you can work with independents, using their training funds (usually Fifpl or Agefice). This could be interesting if you'd like to serve a particular niche who are independents, such as people in the medical industry or lawyers.
You can also access special training funds through the FNE or European funds if these are available. (At the moment, there are no funds for pure English training, although if your niche is sustainability, you may well be able to put something together to get FNE funding.)
No, if you already work for corporate clients and they pay you directly. In that case, I wouldn't bother with Qualiopi! Some people (especially in Paris) do extremely well without it. Again, it's all about niching and creating a brand (and thinking carefully about your pricing...)
It's a good idea if you already have clients, you've had several of them ask to use their CPF with you and you are established to a certain extent - with a website etc. In terms of cost, one training sold can cover the cost of your Qualiopi audit and you are more likely to get your habilitation with a certificateur if you can show that you are established. It also helps if you have a head for admin, or you afford to take on some administrative help (which is an excellent idea that I should talk about in another post!)
No if you are looking to continue working as a freelancer and not take on the extra stress that comes with growing a business . Getting Qualiopi is a big deal and you need to look at it as a long-term investment in your business. Growing a business involves so much more than just teaching some clients: you have to do sales, marketing, admin, finance...it's not a quiet life and you definitely need an appetite for entrepreneurship. If it's not right for you, you'd be better off looking for better paid freelance jobs (they do exist!) or going down one of the other routes I talk about here.
(In my new marketing course, we will look at how to find corporate clients - if you're interested, just leave your name and email here.)