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Stunning scenery, stylish Italian flair and the jaw-dropping remnants of the Roman empire – when you land in Italy, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve stumbled onto a film set.
This is the land of the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s David, a country whose vivid history is open for all to see at Pompeii and the Colosseum and home to a people who are passionate, warm and family-orientated – not to mention their ability to inspire amazing food that is far, far more than spaghetti and pizza. Little wonder that Italy is super-appealing to TEFL teachers.
There’s a demand for English language teaching too – from school age children with their eye on exams and travel, to businesses wanting to brush up on their language skills to help with an increasingly international business market. Teaching salaries aren’t brilliant but you should earn enough to live reasonably. In fact, pretty much the only downside to this amazing country is that other TEFL teachers feel its draw too – making Italy one of the most competitive TEFL jobs markets out there. Unless you have a good TEFL qualification, a bachelor’s degree and solid teaching experience, you may struggle to bag a job.
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£850-1,700 per month
Good TEFL certificate
Degree highly desirable
Cost of living
TEFL certificate needed
120 hours +
Main job types
Private language schools
Public schools (fluent Italian required)
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EU citizens don’t need a visa to live and work in Italy, making it straightforward for Europeans with the right qualifications to teach here legally. You’ll earn a reasonable salary too, although with high living costs you’re unlikely to put aside much in terms of savings. On the flip side, if you’re from outside the EU, there’s a lot of red tape to wade through.
Many employers simply don’t think it’s worth the effort when they have a strong supply of English teachers who can work without restrictions, although it’s possible this may change once the UK has left the EU.
If you’re not an EU citizen, you may be better looking for TEFL work elsewhere in Europe and exploring Italy during your time off. It’s also worth mentioning that Italian students aren’t of the quiet and studious variety. Expect energy and exuberance with your top classroom management skills needed…If you’re ready for that, you’ll have a ball.
A bachelor’s degree is not absolutely essential to teach English in Italy but you’ll have a far better chance of finding a job if you do have one. The Italian TEFL jobs market is highly competitive, which means that employers can pick and choose. Without a degree your application is unlikely to make it to the top of the pile, unless you have significant teaching experience plus additional, relevant skills that make your application stand out.
You won’t make your fortune teaching English in Italy but you should be able to afford a decent standard of living on your TEFL wage, particularly if you budget carefully, use public transport and cook for yourself rather than regularly eating out.
Accommodation is rarely included in teachers’ packages, so rent and utilities are likely to be your biggest expense – and can eat up 60% of your pay. The south tends to be cheaper than the north (although wages are also lower) and you’ll pay a premium in top destinations such as Milan and Rome. Move to the outskirts of cities and share with colleagues however, and your rent bill will drop considerably.
Food prices are on a par with other western European countries. A litre of milk costs around €1.10, a loaf of fresh bread around €1.50 and a half litre bottle of local beer around €1.20. If you fancy eating out, a meal in a relatively cheap, local restaurant could set you back around €15, and budget around €50 for a three course meal for two in a mid-range restaurant.
As there are no state-sponsored programmes in Italy, most TEFL teachers work in private language centres, which deliver lessons to both children and adults. Many TEFL teachers also top up their wages by doing private tutoring.
Either way, you’re likely to teach across a range of levels and age groups – from children hoping to learn their first few words in a foreign language, to teenagers preparing for exams or holidays, to adults learning, either for personal enjoyment or to help with their employment prospects.
There also are a few jobs available for English teachers in Italian public schools. However, you will need to be fluent in Italian and have a formal teaching qualification to find one of these.
If you’re looking for a shorter stint in Italy, or for additional work during the school holidays, there are also teaching jobs in summer camp. These are mainly aimed at children aged 11 to 15 years old and can be a good way to get a taster for the country. If you’ve already worked for a language school during the year, check if they run any summer camps – you’re in a brilliant position to land a teaching role if they already know you. If not, look out for job adverts as camps will take on additional staff over the summer.
EU citizens can live and work in Italy without a visa. This means that there are no specific eligibility requirements for EU citizens to teach English in Italy – other than stipulations by the schools. However, the fierce competition for jobs means that you will normally need a good TEFL certificate, a bachelor’s degree and, ideally, previous teaching experience in order to find work.
Without an EU passport, it can be tricky to teach English legally in Italy. If you’re under 30, you may be able to get a working holiday visa as Italy has bilateral agreements in place with a number of countries, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Otherwise, you’re likely to need sponsorship from your employer – and in a strong TEFL market, most employers simply don’t want the hassle.
If you’re working in a language school, you’ll normally have between 20-25 teaching hours per week, plus lesson preparation. As the peak periods for private language schools are slots outside of the school and working day, you’ll often have classes in the afternoons, weekends and evenings, leaving you with time off to explore during the mornings.
Class sizes vary in Italian language centres. A typical class has around 15 students – but then again, you might be asked to teach one-to-one or deliver sessions to a group of professionals at their place of work.
Most private tuition is either one-to-one or with small groups. If you’re tutoring privately, you’re free to set as few or as many hours as you like and can decide what hours in the day you are available. However, don’t expect to have too many students if you’re very limited in what you offer!
If you’re looking to make a fortune, then teaching English in Italy is not the way to do it. However, if you budget carefully, you can earn enough to live comfortably and may even have a small amount left over to save.
As a teacher at an English language centre, you can earn £850-£1,700 per month depending on how many hours you work and where in Italy you teach. In general, wages are slightly higher in the north – but the cost of living also increases, making your overall standard of living and potential to save money pretty much the same throughout the country.
Most contracts run for nine or ten months (September / October to June).
Completion bonuses aren’t usually offered for teaching jobs at private language centres and you’re unlikely to be paid for holidays. However, most language centres offer additional work at summer camps in July and August, which can be a great way to top up your salary after the end of the school year.
As budgets are pretty tight for TEFL teachers in Italy, many top up their salaries with private TEFL lessons. You’ll be in charge of setting your own fees but could earn between 15 to 30 Euros per hour. Teaching business English tends to be particularly lucrative, so if you’ve had previous experience in this area it could be a good market to target.
TEFL jobs are available all year round in language schools. However, the peak hiring period is in February and March as this is both when summer camps recruit and when schools start to get an idea of who will be returning to the next school year. If you’re ready to start work immediately, it’s also worth trying for last minute vacancies at the start of September.
You can find TEFL jobs all over Italy but the highest concentration is in the main cities of Rome, Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples and Bologna, where there are more schools and businesses. If you fancy a life by the sea, there are also opportunities along the gorgeous Amalfi Coast.
Although there is a high level of English teaching job opportunity in Italy, competition is fierce. The more flexible you can be on location and the type of teaching role you’re willing to take on, plus the more hours of TEFL training you’ve completed, the better chance you will have of successfully finding a job.
TEFL teachers demand
Reasonable demand - competitive
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