Teaching English in Italy: Country Guide
Italy is somewhere you could easily spend a lifetime. Romantic cities, magnificent art and architecture, cutting edge fashion, centuries-old culture attracts those inclined to the urban lifestyle. For the outdoor lover, the glorious Alps host ski resorts, the coast is lined with Mediterranean beaches, and fields of vineyards are the quintessential feature of the Italian countryside. Of course fantastic food and wine is for everyone! Every year many tourists visit Italy on holiday, however teaching English gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a way that many tourists could only dream of.
Despite a sluggish European economy, TEFL teachers are in great demand. Most teaching jobs are found in the larger cities of Milan, Rome and Florence although there are abundant opportunities throughout the country.
If you have just completed your TEFL training, it is possible to teach English in both public school classrooms and private language schools without previous experience. English Summer Camps offer a great opportunity for those looking for short contracts during the summer. For the more experienced teacher, a classroom teaching job in a private international school is a lucrative option.
Rome is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and every year it hosts visitors from all over the world coming to admire the ancient Roman art and architecture such as the Coloseum and the Sistine Chapel. Food is one of the great attractions of Italy and in Rome does not disappoint. Walking around the city you will see that the traditional is also submerged with the modern, with sleek cafés and bars visible. Finally the city’s Mediterranean climate is another reason to teach English in Italy. Rome attracts visitors all year round, but you can expect this to peak during the summer months.
If Rome represents the old Italy, Milan represents the new. Milan is the global capital of fashion and design and there are plenty of TEFL jobs to be found in Italy’s economic powerhouse. Milan is known for high end dining and shopping as well as its sparkling nightlife, football and opera. The grand gothic cathedral, the duomo, sits at the centre of the city. This stylish city with its business like modernity, has a very different feel to the red-terracotta roofs of other Italian cities. Sometimes it can appear a bit brash and industrial, but under this veneer lies centuries of history and with a little exploring, you will come across a plethora of hidden gems in Milan.
Florence is the capital of Italy’s Tuscany region. One of the most recognisable sites is the Florence cathedral with its red dome roof. This surprisingly small river side city is a Romantic attraction for art and history. In terms of an Italian city it ticks all the boxes – great wine, food, fashion (Gucci was born here!). There are also great opportunities for TEFL teachers to find work in Florence.
Living in Italy
Whether it is riding a Vespa through the streets of Rome or a Gondola down the waterways of Venice, sipping on Cappuccinos in Milan, or revering in the artwork and history in the other great cities or enjoying a quiet moment in the countryside over a glass of wine or adventuring trough the alps, there is plenty to do in Italy. Activities which are all intrinsically chic!
Cost of living
The cost of living and wages offered will naturally vary from city to city. In Southern Italy you may find that the cost of living is lower whereas salaries are not reduced proportionality. Generally you should expect to be able to live comfortably on a teaching salary, however you should factor in that flights and accommodation are usually not included so you will have to budget for this.
Salaries for TEFL teachers in Italy will vary from region to region. On average, a TEFL teacher working 25 hours a week can expect to earn around 800 – 1,300 euros. Teaching private students can be more lucrative than working in a language school. TEFL teachers can charge up to 25 euros for a one hour lesson, however freelance teaching tends to be a less reliable source of income. Most TEFL teachers offer private lessons outside their normal working day in order to earn a little extra money.
As mentioned, housing is usually not included in teaching contracts, although employers will often offer assistance in finding somewhere to live. Additional savings may be required to cover rent and other living expenses if you are living on a teaching salary in Italy. Living in shared accommodation, often with a fellow teacher, is a common way to make accommodation more affordable.
Finding a TEFL Job in Italy
The main employment times are in September and October and then again in January, with most contracts ending in late June. You can apply for jobs through our TEFL Jobs Centre or alternatively you can apply for jobs in Italy by approaching schools in person, armed with your CV and TEFL certificate.
Applying to jobs
It is advisable to treat the process of applying for a TEFL job the same way you would any other industry. You will need a CV, a cover letter specific to the job and a reference (which we can supply you with). Interviews for positions can be done over skype, telephone or in person.
Recommended TEFL course
Italy is a popular destination and the competition for teaching jobs is high. For this reason you will want to be as qualified as possible with as many hours of TEFL training hours under your belt as you can manage, especially if you have never taught before. A minimum of 120 hours is recommended if you are looking for a TEFL job in Italy. Some positions may accept a lower number of hours, however because Italy is a popular destinations the 120 hour course will give you the best chance at finding employment.
Citizens of the UK, Ireland and other EU countries do not need a work permit or visa to teach English in Italy. For non EU citizens obtaining the correct paperwork is likely to be more difficult. Please check at your local Italian embassy for details of the application process. Regardless of whether you are an EU or non-EU citizen, you must have a passport with a minimum of six months validity to be able to work in Italy.
Interested in teaching English in Italy? Take the first step a book a TEFL course today!