From the grandeur of Rome and the romance of Venice to the Renaissance treasures of Florence, and the sun-kissed shores of Sardinia and Sicily, the allure of living and traveling in Italy is undeniable. Luckily for English speakers, demand for English teachers in Italy is huge, which means that those who gain an accredited TEFL certification can very realistically gain employment and live in this fantastic nation.
You don’t need to be a professional teacher or hold an education degree to teach English in Italy, but TEFL certification is key as it provides the skills you need to become an effective teacher (and schools in Italy seek such a qualification when hiring English teachers). You could earn your TEFL certification in advance in your home country, but why not take your certification class in Italy, where there are numerous courses that will provide you with the necessary training and in many cases, help with gaining employment right after the course?
When considering your options for TEFL certification in Italy, bear in mind that schools and language institutes in Italy (and around the world) seek to hire those who hold at least a 120 hour TEFL certification that is from an accredited provider and includes live practice teaching. This equates to a four-week intensive class or a part-time equivalent.
The majority of accredited TEFL courses in Italy that provide a professional level TEFL certification accepted by schools and language institutes that hire foreign English teachers are four-week intensive classes that incorporate 120-130 hours of training, including at least 6-10 hours of live practice teaching with local ESL students. All of these classes will cover critical teaching skills including teaching methodology and practices, lesson planning and classroom management.
There are also some shorter classes (some even as short as one weekend), however if you want to teach professionally, a four-week course is recommended.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look:
You should plan your TEFL class around the primary hiring seasons in September and January, though it is certainly possible to gain employment during other parts of the year, particularly in big cities, and those who take TEFL classes in the spring can often find great opportunities to start teaching right away in English language summer camps. Job opportunities will be concentrated in larger cities such as Rome, Milan, and Florence.
Most TEFL certification programs in Italy are open to fluent English speakers, ages 18 and older. However, those without a degree and non-native English speakers may be required to write an essay and/or interview with the course director.
Before enrolling in any TEFL class in Italy (or anywhere else for that matter), you should inquire about job placement assistance, which can make or break your efforts to gain employment after your course. Top quality TEFL courses should be able to refer you to local language schools seeking to hire teachers and also to provide assistance in areas, such as resume development or coaching you on the interview process. Well-established TEFL training organizations also provide worldwide job placement assistance for gaining employment teaching English in other countries.
English teachers in Italy are typically paid by the hour (and in cash). Expect to make €12- €15 ($16.50 - $20 USD) an hour to start. You should look to work 25 hours per week (class time) to make €1200 - €1500 a month, which is enough to live comfortably and cover your expenses. Giving private lessons, for which you can usually receive €15- €20 an hour, is a great way to make extra money for travel and other pursuits.
Cost of Living:
About €1000 (approximately $1,375 USD) will typically be enough to cover monthly rent and living expenses both during your TEFL course and while living and teaching English in Italy – of course, living costs will vary by city and region. Housing is not typically included with tuition for a TEFL course, but most providers can assist with making housing arrangements in a local apartment (often shared by multiple students), a hostel, or a home-stay with a local family. The local course staff can usually provide some guidance when it comes to finding a place to live after the course. Many English teachers share an apartment with other teachers, and given that English teachers are constantly coming and going, it’s usually easy to find somebody looking to share a flat.
Expect to pay approximately €300 - €500 ($400 - $650 USD) per month in rent; getting a roommate will cut down on costs and note that rent will vary from city to city and from neighborhood to neighborhood. Note that most apartments are furnished. Lastly, you should count on needing €500 ($650 USD) per month to cover other expenses like food, transportation and recreation. As a local, you will learn how to eat, drink and have fun on a modest budget.