Rich in history, culture, and tradition, it is no coincidence that Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. From the magnificent art and architecture of Florence and Rome, to the lush landscapes and panoramas of the countryside, one could easily spend a lifetime in Italy.
While many people visit and vacation in Italy every year, teaching English provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in this tantalizing region the way that most tourists can only dream about. Teachers remain in demand in Italy, and living and working in this fascinating destination can easily become a reality. The average salary for teaching in Italy is $1,000-$1,800 (€900-€1,600) per month.
Private Language Institutes
Most teaching jobs in Italy are in private language institutes. Public schools typically look to hire EU citizens and fluent Italian speakers, so private institutes are generally the best bet. The positions can take a variety of forms whether a Montessori school, a private boarding school, or one for business professionals. Business English students that make up the majority of adult ESL classes in Italy are eager to learn and take their lessons seriously, as English is an increasingly valuable skill for locals. Private schools in Italy may also run summer programs, which you could work for after the school year is over.
Summer camps in Italy like EDUCO provide ample opportunity to pick up work over the summer. These are typically short term opportunities in private institutes or educational companies. There are opportunities to teach older students who are looking to diversify their skill-set in the Italian job market or to work with younger kids in a full immersion English setting.
Many teachers choose to supplement their income by teaching private lessons as well. Private lessons can earn a teacher anywhere from €15-€30 per hour (many choose to offer a discount to groups of university students if they refer their friends). Because the job market in Italy can be pretty tight, and the cost of living fairly high (especially in cities), teaching private lessons on the side can be a great way to cover the gap in your monthly expenses.
When and Where to Look for Jobs in Italy
Language schools typically start in September or October and finish up in June, with the average teaching contract lasting 9-10 months. Starting in February, it’s usually a good time to start looking for work, as schools will have a better idea of who is returning for the following year. However, plenty of jobs open up closer to the start of the school year, and there are always emergency openings throughout the year as well. If you're in Italy, it's a good idea to go door to door and apply in person.
If you’re looking to work at a summer camp, start looking for opportunities a few months before. Camps usually start in July or August.
Average Salary of Teaching Jobs in Italy
Your English teaching salary in Italy will vary based on your experience and the type of institution you work for. However, you can expect to earn between €900-€1,600 ($1,000-$1,800) per month teaching English. Most English teachers in Italy who work at private language schools will earn between €15-€30 per hour. If you want to teach a few students private English lessons, the rate per hour could go up to €40 per hour. However, make sure you are allowed to take on private students as part of your work visa.
Having a TESOL/TEFL certificate is a must in order to teach English in Italy. A bachelor’s degree helps as well, though it is not absolutely necessary. While schools in Italy will typically recognize online or in-person certificates, an on-site TESOL course in Italy such as LanguageCorps might give you the best chance of establishing yourself in locally, and finding desirable work in a timely manner.
Work Visas & Sponsorships
It is difficult for non-EU citizens to obtain a work visa for Italy. If you're an EU citizen it's much more likely for you to obtain a visa that gives you work privileges. However, many schools are willing to negotiate and make arrangements to accommodate foreigners. Once you are hired, you are responsible for navigating the visa process and making sure you are working legally in the country. Many times you will not be able to get a work visa while in-country, you will have to apply and get approved while outside Italy's borders.
There are people who decide to overstay their tourist visa and working on a cash-in-hand basis. However, you run the risk of getting deported and you may get fined when you decide to leave Italy. Others, obtain a student visa that allows you to stay in Italy legally for six months while you teach and take a few classes. Don't let this deter you from teaching and living in Italy -- most people are able to navigate around the visa issue and still stay in Italy successfully.
Culture & Living
While teaching English in Italy probably won’t make you rich, living in Italy for an extended period of time is reward enough for most travelers. From five-course meals in some of the best restaurants in the world to a quick between-class espresso, Italians know how to enjoy life like no other culture in the world.
Western standard business casual attire is a safe bet for the classroom, and Italian language knowledge is typically not a requirement for the teacher in private language schools.
Most ESL teachers in Italy live in shared apartments with fellow teachers, local residents, and/or students from other schools. A bedroom in Italy typically costs €300-600 per month, with bigger cities having a higher cost of living than rural areas.
Contributed by Steve Patton
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How much do English teachers make in Italy?
Typically, an English teacher in Italy can earn between $1,000-$1,800 (€900-€1,600) per month. Those at private language institutes can expect an hourly rate between €15-€30 per hour.
What qualifications do you need to teach English in Italy?
The job market for English teachers is quite competitive, so it's necessary to have your TESOL/TEFL certificate to teach in Italy. However, it's not a requirement to have a bachelor's degree -- it's possible to find opportunities that do not require a university education. If you don't have a teaching certificate of some sort, you can consider taking one in Italy before applying for jobs.
Can I teach English in Italy without a degree?
Although it may open up your chances to more job opportunities, you can teach in Italy without a college degree. If you don't have a degree, make sure to have a teaching certificate such as a TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA.
How long does it take to get an Italian visa?
The processing time to obtain a visa for Italy varies by the type of visa. A tourist visa may take between one to two weeks, while a work visa may take up to a month.