top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

How much do key workers earn?

Driving trains, putting out fires or chasing criminals: we reveal their salaries

DRIVING trains, putting out fires or chasing criminals are common childhood dream jobs, but how much would you be earning today if you had gone ahead with them?

While the average gross salary in France, before deduction of employee’s social charges, is €2,753 a month according to the last set of official figures from national statistics body Insee, starting out in one of the key French public services will bring in little more than the minimum wage to start with.

Pay is normally quoted on a monthly basis, and some employers pay a 13th month at Christmas. Social charges are deducted at source, but income tax is paid separately.

Here are some of the salaries for key French trades and professions, based on official figures from trade unions and government ministries.

Police officer

According to the Alliance Police Nationale union, a new recruit in the national police will earn €1,372 net per month. The top rank, a local police chief (Responsable d’Unité Locale de Police) earns €2,840. Municipal police are paid less than their national colleagues: officers receive between €1,356 and €1,708 depending on their seniority.


Teachers start their career on €1,342 net and can earn up to €3,011 after 20-30 years of service. University lecturers are on anywhere between €3,000 and €6,015 net per month.

Armed forces

A single person with no children will earn €1,043.93 net per month as a soldier (militaire du rang), about double for a captain or commander, rising to €3,102.67 for a lieutenant-colonel. Fighter pilots receive e1,200 while training at the Ecole de l’Air, and €2,800 on graduation.

Train driver

TER (regional express train) drivers start on €1,700 to €1,900 net per month. Senior, experienced drivers who have spent years on high-speed TGVs can take home up to €3,400. There is extra compensation for night and Sunday work, but it is an urban myth that drivers are still paid a coal allowance: it was phased out in 1974.


Youth jobs advice body CIDJ says the minimum wage is a fair income estimate for a farmer (ouvrier agricole), but income can fluctuate massively depending on the size of your operation, the success of your harvest and wholesale prices. Farmers’ protests against falling prices are common and many say they are living in poverty.


A sapeur-pompier will start his or her career on €1,280 net per month, increasing to €2,780 for an officer. Volunteer firefighters are paid up to €10 an hour.


A trainee baker will typically earn the minimum wage (see box), with extra compensation for Sunday and bank holiday work. Running your own artisan boulangerie can net €3,000-€4,000 a month.

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France