With a cuisine and culture that is renowned worldwide, and more UNESCO World Heritage Sites than any other country (bar China, which it’s tied with), it’s little wonder Italy is so popular with both tourists and English teachers. The weather, the people, and the low living costs all make it an excellent destination to TEFL.
The TEFL jobs market in Italy is reasonably healthy, with plenty of opportunities to be found across the width and breadth of the country. Teachers with a TEFL qualification from an accredited
provider, a BA degree, and the right to work in Italy shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a teaching job in Italy. While a degree isn’t a strict requirement it’s preferable, so if don’t have one you’ll want to work on ensuring your CV stands out. Positions can be competitive and be prepared to work between several language schools, with full-time positions difficult to come by.
Where to find work in Italy
Like many TEFL locations in Europe, employers want to meet you face-to-face before offering work. Pounding the pavement and handing out CVs might not work in other countries, but it does in Italy. Approach schools directly, meet the director of the school and give them a CV, even if they’re not hiring at that time – it’s not uncommon for schools to get in contact a few months down the line when they’re looking for staff. With many TEFL teachers in Italy working on a freelance basis for several different language schools, this ‘dribs and drabs’ approach can actually work quite well. Schools also like it when reliable teachers can be found to take on extra work when needed – you might start out with just a few hours a week, but if you are there for them when they need you, your reputation will grow and your hours will quickly follow.
Once you’ve been accepted for a job, it might be several weeks (or months) before you actually start working and seeing some income. Being prepared is key when starting out in Italy – you’ll need some capital to tide you over, and plenty of job opportunities in the pipeline to make sure you’ve got a good chance of securing work. Many teachers spend time building a profile as an online TEFL teacher before they go to Italy, so that they can continue with online work while searching for something in country. Also, be realistic with what you expect to earn. It’s well-known that freelance teachers are often underpaid, but if you’re inexperienced and new to Italy, you’ll have to take it in your stride. Don’t try to negotiate inflated rates of pay unless you know you’re really worth it. Your salary will grow over time, so in the beginning you should expect it to be modest.
Searching online (and approaching in person) is one of the best ways to find jobs. In some big cities, there are English language newspapers, which will list adverts from local schools, but be quick about contacting them. Note that adverts asking for ‘mothers only’ means a mother tongue of English, sometimes written as EMT (English Mother Tongue) and you should always include this in your freelance adverts rather than ‘native speaker’. If you are hoping to acquire private students, word of mouth is crucial in Italy – the Italians are enthusiastic chinwaggers and will always tell their friends, neighbours and colleagues about great teachers. Once you’ve got a handful of loyal students, you won’t have to look hard to find more.
Employers in Italy
Associazione Italiana Scuole di Lingue
is one of the biggest employers of TEFL teachers in Italy. They are professional, accredited schools which look for elite teachers with decent experience, good qualifications and EU citizenship.
is a British and Irish recruitment agency and can offer full-time work on British contracts, making it a great way into the country if you haven’t taught in Italy before.
Visit The TEFL Org Jobs Centre
for listings in Italy and worldwide.
The Yellow Pages
are a good place to look for English schools, search for ‘language schools’ for the best results, and choose to search either by city, region or the whole of Italy.
is one of the best places to post an advert about freelance teaching, as well as searching for local positions.
Other big chain language schools you can find in Italy, as well as Italian schools with a good track record for hiring, are: Wall Street English, International House, Linguarama, Berlitz, Benedict Schools, Inlingua, Morgan Schools, Shenker Schools, and British Schools Group.