So you’re ready to jet-set to the land of the ancient Romans for gainful employment teaching English in Italy – but you’re not sure of the best strategy. Here’s how to do it right.
About Teaching English in Italy
As far as richness of culture and history goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find a superior ESL destination – on the European continent or elsewhere. The food is pretty legit also (more on the perks of being a teacher in Italy in the “What’s It Like” section below).
We’ll explore the details of teaching English in Italy as a foreign guest in-depth below, but here are a few highlights:
- Contracts generally run between September/October through May/June (9 to 10 months) with opportunities for summer camps in the off-season
- General requirements include native speaking status, 4-year degree, and an accredited TEFL course certification*
- A standard salary is in the €1,000-€1,500/month range (about $1160-$1740/month). Upper-tier schools pay more but those positions are harder to come by
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What Are the Requirements to Start Teaching English in Italy?
The requirements to teach English in Italy are pretty standard, albeit more rigorous (given its inclusion in the EU) than in some areas of Eastern Europe, South America, Asia, etc.
The hiring schools (and governing authorities) are likely to require the following from applicants to land the job and get the necessary visa:
- Minimum of a bachelor’s degree (BA or BS)
- Native speaking status (passport holder of a country recognized as native-English-speaking)
- TEFL certification (how to get TEFL certification)
- Previous teaching experience (sometimes)
That said, many of these conditions are flexible. An individual school may be willing to nonetheless hire a candidate they like even if he or she doesn’t meet all of the above criteria – so if you see a job you like, apply anyway. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, as Wayne Gretzky said.
Don’t have a degree? Teach in Thailand! Find out how to teach English in Thailand without a degree.
What Visa Do You Need to Teach English in Italy?
Good news/bad news situation here: if you’re a passport holder of an EU member state and thus within the Schengen Area, you enjoy visa-free access to Italy. As a result, the bureaucratic hoops to jump through are fewer. If not, the process is tougher.
Here’s the breakdown:
- EU citizen: no work visa or work permit required, just legal working status under EU laws (super easy, one of the perks of political integration)
- Non-EU Citizen: Unfortunately, as most of our readership is North American, British, or Aussie/Kiwi, chances are you’re going to need a visa to visit and work in Italy. This may be difficult to obtain and sometimes an easier alternative may be to enroll in classes and stay on a student visa.
Let’s assume you’re coming from the UK or US (or anywhere outside of the Schengen Area) and you’re seeking an Italian work visa as a non-EU citizen. Here is what you can expect for the next steps from receiving your job offer:
- Employer applies for a work permit at their local immigration office
- Upon granting the work permit, the employer will send it to you and also notify the Italian consulate or embassy in your home country.
- You will apply for the work visa as well as the Italy Visa Application Form and other additional necessary documents in person at the Italian embassy or consulate.
Given the infamous machinations of Italian bureaucracy, you would be wise to cross all your t’s and dot your i’s by rounding up all of the above before you visit the office.
Types of English Teaching Jobs in Italy + Salaries
A cornucopia of different types of ESL jobs are available in Italy, often with different requirements, salaries, and relative advantages/disadvantages.
Here, we’ll take a survey of several varieties of jobs with real-world examples of such advertised positions.
ESL in Italy Option #1: Language Schools
If you’ve spent any time in Asia, you are undoubtedly familiar with the “language school.” These institutions are known by various names (“cram schools” in Taiwan, “eikaiwa” in Japan, etc.) but they all pretty much do the same thing: supplement English education at “regular” daytime school with private after-school and weekend instruction.
In the ad below, Naples language school Speakeasy is looking for a teacher to help with test prep – a common focus for many students hoping to land a spot in an international school of higher learning abroad and adults in need of English certification for their careers.
The summary of the job specs (which are par for the course with these types of jobs):
- 25 hours per week
- “After-school” hours (3-8 pm or so)
- Ages 6-adults
- Preparing for the Cambridge English exams
- Majority of lessons held at language school but some are offered in partner public schools or online
- TEFL/CELTA certificate, minimum 1-year teaching experience required
- 3-bedroom shared apartment offered for free
- Saturday and Sunday off
*Salary notes: The gross figure is €1269/month. After taxes, you can expect to keep about €1,000. You also get 12,50/hr ($14.50/hr) for each extra hour beyond 25.
And here’s a similar ad for British School Group in Melfi (with a lower pay rate of 900/month and only 18 hours/week):
Generally speaking, language school gigs are the most visible, the easiest to land, and the most plentiful in Italy. The pay, as you can see, isn’t super great. Accordingly, especially if you’re in a major city, you’re going to be pretty near subsistence-level without a huge opportunity for savings (unless you are extremely thrifty).
Look for perks like free accommodation, free transportation, and, sometimes, free meals to supplement the relatively meager income.
ESL in Italy Option #2: International Schools
International schools are, by far, the highest-paying ESL jobs in Italy. The students typically come from higher socioeconomic backgrounds and pay higher tuition rates. However, the premium salary comes at the cost of more intense competition for these jobs and more rigorous hiring standards.
Here is a posting from Milan International School:
The salary isn’t listed here (these schools are often discreet about advertising teacher pay) but you can expect to earn at least €1,500/month and often much higher. In virtually all cases, you’ll need a BA/BS, a TEFL certificate, and, often, a teaching license.
ESL in Italy Option #3: Summer Camps
As we explored earlier, the Italian school year runs from roughly September through May, leaving about three months of downtime for both teachers and students in the summertime.
Like in other parts of the world, parents often enroll their kids in summer learning programs to keep their skills sharp over the holidays.
These summer camps range from local, ad hoc ventures that rely on local ESL teachers and informal networks for teacher recruitment to multinational companies organizing camps across borders.
The good news is that getting onboarded with an ESL summer camp is easy. The bad news is that, unless you’re already plugged into a personal network, the vast majority of ads you encounter online will be volunteered (no pay).
English Camp Volunteering in Italy: Is It Worth It?
If you’re interested, you might consider volunteering with an outfit like The English Camp Company, which is already actively recruiting for Italian summer camp positions (as well as for similar programs in Austria and Germany) in 2022.
Although these types of positions are not paid, they do have some benefits worth considering:
- Free meals, accommodation, etc.
- Chance to gain valuable, hands-on experience (especially beneficial if you are a new teacher without a ton of teaching hours under your belt)
- Chance to network with other ESL teachers and industry professionals
- Very lenient requirements (18+ years of age + native speaking status)
How to Find an English-Teaching Job in Italy
Knowing where to look for an English-teaching job in Italy is half the battle; the other half is executing a strategy to get your resume in front of a pair of interested eyes, book an interview, and secure the position.
Here, we’ll break down both portions of the process.
Where to start
Where you start looking for jobs depends on whether you are currently inside Italy (or in another EU member state with easy travel access to Italy) or outside of the country.
If you’re outside of the country, landing a job from afar via the web is possible. Peruse the most popular job boards with regular ESL in Italy postings such as:
If you’re inside the country, your best strategy is a dual online/in-person approach. Keep up with internet job postings via the sites listed above and simultaneously hit the pavement. The primary benefits of physically knocking on schools’ doors in Italy are:
- Provides access to schools (especially public ones) that do not recruit online/have an online presence
- Demonstrates your work readiness
- Shows you are already physically present in the country, which eliminates any anxiety on the school’s part over importing their new teacher
- Displays your eagerness (most teachers wouldn’t bother physically visiting a school in the internet era; you will)
How to Get Hired
Identifying the job you want, as we said, is half the battle. Now it’s time to make an impression with the right people and get the ball rolling. To do so, follow these practical tips:
- Identify the actual decision-maker at the school and contact him/her directly. All too often, teachers with impressive resumes waste their time sending their CV to an administrative assistant or someone else who may or may not pass on your info to the right person. Cut out the middle man.
- When making contact via email, include every relevant document upfront to streamline the process. This includes your complete resume, headshot, copy of the first page of your passport, TEFL certificate, and diploma (if applicable). The same principle applies to visiting a school in-person: make sure you come equipped.
- When attempting to make initial contact with a prospective employer, don’t be shy about following up after a week or two if you haven’t gotten a response. Oftentimes, the hiring manager you are attempting to reach isn’t ignoring you; he or she may have just overlooked your initial email or lost it in a flooded inbox.
- Follow up every interview with a brief thank-you note for the opportunity to talk. Never underestimate the power of this gesture for hiring managers who may be on the fence about your application.
- Apply to multiple places at once. The more schools you send your resume to, the better your chances of getting hired. The brutal reality is that the majority of schools you apply to will not hire you and may never even reply to your application. Ignore the failures and press forward. Set a quantifiable goal for yourself: for example, at least two new applications each day (whether over the web or in-person) until you find the right school.
- It goes without saying that Italian fluency could be a huge benefit. Learning just the basics with a free online course will help you build rapport with a potential employer.
What’s It Like Being an English Teacher in Italy?
Whether you come for the fine art, the food, or the beautiful people, a year (or more) spent teaching English in Italy is sure to leave a mark on your heart. It is among our list of the 6 Best Places to Teach English in Europe for 2023.
American expat Molly describes her experiences and offers an insightful breakdown of a typical day spent teaching in a big city like Rome or Milan.
Renee Lawrence, teaching in a smaller city in the north called Verona, takes a reality-based look at some of the benefits and potential pitfalls of teaching English in Italy.
FAQs about teaching English in Italy
Do you need to speak Italian to teach in Italy?
No, but it helps, especially with making headway into public schools with Italian-speaking staff.
Do you need a degree to teach in Italy?
For most positions, yes, you need a degree to teach in Italy.
Do you have to be a native speaker to teach in Italy?
Not necessarily, but it’s usually preferred for many positions in Italy.
Do you need a TEFL to teach English in Italy?
Most language schools list TEFL certification as a requirement.
European Alternatives to Teaching English in Italy
Teaching English in Spain
Teach English in Poland
Teach English in Portugal
Teach English in France
Teach English in Germany
To teach English in Italy, you'll usually need a 120-hour TEFL certification and some previous teaching experience. A bachelor's degree isn't a prerequisite, but many schools do prefer to hire degree-holders.Can I teach in Italy with an American degree? ›
To become a teacher in Italy as an American, you need to obtain a visa, hold a bachelor's degree (preferred), and have a recognized TEFL certification. You can find teaching jobs through language schools, public and private schools, and online job boards. Learning Italian is also helpful, but not a requirement.Do I need to speak Italian to teach English in Italy? ›
In the end, it's nice to know Italian while living in Italy, and it'll help you make the most of your experience, but it's definitely not a must. A lot of English schools like it when their teachers don't know Italian, so they won't use that as a crutch when teaching, making the class truly an immersion experience.Do I need a visa to teach English in Italy? ›
If you have a job offer from an Italian employer or an Italian school, they can sponsor you for a work visa. The employer would need to provide documentation demonstrating the need for your skills and expertise in teaching English. This visa allows you to work in Italy for the duration specified on the visa.Can an English speaker get a job in Italy? ›
It really depends on what you're looking for. If you're willing to put in the hard work and have relevant qualifications, you'll be able to find a job eventually. However, your options will be more limited if you're looking for an English-speaking job in Italy.What do you need to get a TEFL certificate? ›
- Minimum education requirements for online TEFL course: High school diploma/GED.
- Minimum education requirements for in-person TEFL course: Bachelor's degree.
- Proof of English proficiency for non-fluent English speakers.
- Scan of government ID.
- Written application and essay.
To teach English abroad in Italy you will need a TEFL or TESOL certification. A 4-year university degree is preferred but not always required. Native English language proficiency is also preferred. The average salary for an English teacher in Italy is about $1,200 - $2,100 USD per month.Can I teach in Europe with US license? ›
Can Americans Teach English in Europe? Yes - An American with a TEFL / TESOL Certification from International TEFL Academy can realistically find great opportunities to teach English in Europe. There are thousands of Americans successfully finding employment in Europe every year as English teachers.How do I get my US teaching license abroad? ›
- Contact the school you wish to teach at. ...
- Inquire if the school of your choice will have an opening for you. ...
- Complete the American Board program.
Rome is the best place to teach in Italy because it's expat-friendly and has many private language schools that cater to English learners. Naples, Milan, and Turin also offer many job opportunities through private language schools and private tutoring gigs.
How Hard is it to Get a TEFL Certificate? As long as you dedicate enough time to your coursework, complete your assignments on deadline, and respond positively to instructor feedback, you are very unlikely to fail your TEFL certification course.How much is rent in Italy? ›
|Milan||€606 (US$656)||€1,306 (US$1,413)|
|Rome||€560 (US$606)||€1,210 (US$1,310)|
|Florence||€471 (US$510)||€1,061 (US$1,148)|
|Turin||€440 (US$476)||€846 (US$916)|
Licensed teachers who want to teach English in Italy will need a government-issued teaching qualification in their home country or state, and will generally need at least 2 years of full-time teaching experience. To teach English in Italy, teachers will need a recognized TEFL certificate.How do I get a teaching license in Italy? ›
In Italy a university degree in primary school education (Scienze della formazione primaria) is a requirement for obtaining teacher qualification at the primary and preprimary levels. The degree may be completed in five years and includes 600 hours of internship, beginning in the second year of the course.Can you teach English without a TEFL certificate? ›
No, you don't always need a TEFL certificate to teach English abroad. However, it depends entirely on where you'd like to work, what level you're interested in teaching, and your professional and educational background.Can an American get a job in Italy? ›
American citizens who have a job offer in Italy, or wish to work in Italy, either temporarily or permanently, must be provided with a work permit obtained by the prospective employer, and must obtain a work visa from the Italian Consular authorities BEFORE coming to Italy.
If you have an intermediate level, it'll probably take you around 6 months to a year to become fluent in Italian. If you already have an advanced level, it'll probably take you around 6 months.How long can an English person stay in Italy? ›
You can travel to Italy visa-free for a total of 90 days within a 180 day period. You'll need a visa and a residence permit if you're going to Italy for work, study, family reunification, or a simple visit of more than 90 days.How much does a TEFL course cost? ›
You'll see a range of prices when you browse online TEFL/TESOL courses – from $150 to as much as $1,500. The average 120-hour online TEFL/TESOL course with a tutor typically falls in the middle range of this, at around $300-$600. Check out monthly specials on Bridge TEFL/TESOL courses to take advantage of deals!Does TEFL expire? ›
A TEFL certificate is a lifetime qualification and doesn't require any additional training or coursework to renew it. It does not have an expiration date and you can start work immediately after receiving your TEFL certificate.
There's no single, standardized path to getting TEFL certified. Depending on the TEFL course and your own unique circumstances, it is possible to get TEFL certification in as little as a month. That said, it's recommended that most students set aside about six months to complete their chosen TEFL course.How many hours do teachers work in Italy? ›
Finnish teachers tend to have 32 hour working weeks and in Italy they only work 29 hours per week.Are teachers respected in Italy? ›
In Italy, 12% of teachers "agree" or "strongly agree" with the statement that their profession is valued in society, which is lower than the average across OECD countries and economies participating in TALIS. (26%).What country pays American teachers the most? ›
Switzerland ranks among the countries with the highest teacher salaries in the world. According to sources, a high school teacher is entitled to a compensation of 71,500 Fr (US $73,646.93) at the start of their career, including bonuses, overtime allowances, and tips.What country needs English teachers? ›
- South Korea ($1,850-$2,650 USD a month)
- China ($1,200-$2,600 USD a month)
- Japan ($1,700-$2,600 USD a month)
- Taiwan ($2,000-$3,000 USD a month)
- Gulf Arab States ($2,000-$5,000 USD a month)
- Honorable Mention: Vietnam ($1,500-$2,000 USD a month)
Generally speaking, there are no age limits to teach English abroad as long as you are over 21. Although many teach abroad programs target recent college graduates and people in their twenties, older adults can leverage their maturity and experience to secure jobs teaching abroad well beyond their sixties.Which European countries need English teachers? ›
- Teach English in Poland with English Wizards! Poland. ...
- Guaranteed Placements in Barcelona, Spain with TEFL Certification, Orientation & 24/7 Support. Spain. ...
- Teach English in Spain with RVF International | Get paid while you travel and explore new cultures! Spain. ...
- Teach English in Madrid!
Getting Your Visa Sponsor
The US Department of State has very specific requirements for work visas. For J-1 visas, there are approved "sponsor" agencies allowed to recruit, screen and place teachers in US schools from overseas.
A typical teacher education program is set up to be completed in four years. During your first two years, the bulk of your coursework will be general education requirements such as math, history, and English.Can you teach in other countries with a US degree? ›
You can have a successful teaching experience virtually anywhere. A lot of what will factor into your decision is the country's demand for teachers, the opportunities they make available and the benefits they offer. Asian countries are usually the most popular among American teachers because they pay the most.
Lombardy is the most popular region
Lombardy, which boasts the largest job market in the country and includes Italy's financial powerhouse, Milan, is home to some 9,000 native English-speaking residents, making it the most popular region for Anglophones.
Naples. With its Mediterranean climate, coastal location and relaxed culture, Naples has a lot to offer expats moving to Italy. As one of Italy's major cities, Naples has a long list of advantages with a large British expat community and of course, its wonderful landscapes and unbeatable cuisine.What is the most English-speaking region in Italy? ›
Lombardy is the most popular region
The northern powerhouse is the only Italian region that's home to more than a million foreigners all on its own and, by our estimate, around 200,000 of them come from English-speaking countries. Italy's economic capital, Milan, is the most popular part of Lombardy by far.
The certification is awarded only if you receive a passing grade, so once you achieve 70% you will achieve a TEFL qualification. You will receive regular grades on assignments and tests, you must get 70% on each one. If you fail a test or assignment, it is possible to re-attempt coursework as many times as you need.Can I take TEFL test without course? ›
There is no single exam that must be passed to obtain TEFL certification. Instead, you must complete a certified TEFL course with at least 100 hours of coursework, which can include lessons, exercises, tests/quizzes, and summative essays.Is the 120 hour TEFL worth it? ›
120 hours is considered the baseline for a professional-level TEFL certification for teaching English abroad or online. Not all 120-hour TEFL courses meet international standards, so it's essential to seek out those that are accredited and include live practice teaching.Is it cheaper to live in Italy or USA? ›
It's the primary reason many people first consider moving overseas. In general, the COL in Italy can be 30% to 70% lower than the cost of living in the U.S., depending on where in Italy you want to live, and how you want to live.Can a US citizen move to Italy? ›
Living in Italy as a US citizen is possible if you have the right permit. There are 2 types of residence permits in Italy: 1. Permesso di Soggiorno: a temporary, renewable residence permit with varying durations of validity.How much money should I save to move to Italy? ›
On average you're looking at around 1500 euros or 1900 USD a month to move to a small city or larger town. That doesn't include the moving costs, which would be around 6,000-10,000 USD depending on your situation for the plane ticket, deposit on an apartment, help with a visa, etc.What qualifications do I need to teach English in Italy? ›
Meet the basic requirements: To teach English in Italy, you'll need to be a native or fluent English speaker, have a bachelor's degree, and have a clean criminal record. For competitive jobs, you may need to be TEFL certified and/or have prior teaching experience.
In short, a TEFL course will suit you best if you want to teach English online and abroad to students who aren't native English speakers, for example, Chinese students. A TESOL course will be better if you want to teach English in an English-speaking country.Does Italy pay teachers well? ›
The average pay for a Teacher is €38,684 a year and €19 an hour in Italy. The average salary range for a Teacher is between €27,698 and €46,614. On average, a Bachelor's Degree is the highest level of education for a Teacher.
The hardest part of getting your license in Italy is the theory test. It is tough even for Italians, they aren't trying to just trick you because of the language. Unfortunately, you also cannot take this test in EN, only IT, FR, or ES. There are 30 questions, all multiple choice, and you can only get 3 wrong.What countries can teach English without TEFL? ›
Countries that do not require a degree to teach English abroad: The best countries for where to teach English abroad without a college degree are Cambodia, Costa Rica, Spain, Argentina, Mexico and Myanmar. These countries do not require a college degree to teach in, and are popular among TEFL teachers.Is an ESL certificate the same as TEFL? ›
For example, if you were to move to France as an English teacher, where the main language spoken is French, and people learn English so they can communicate when traveling abroad – then this would be considered TEFL. TESL (or ESL) on the other hand refers to Teaching English as a Second Language.Can anyone get a TEFL certificate? ›
Entry requirements for in-person TEFL courses
You'll need to: Be at least 18 years of age. Meet minimum educational requirements of a high school diploma/GED (or equivalent) Interview with a TEFL course advisor over the phone.
- Native or fluent level of English.
- Valid passport (or the ability to apply for one)
- Bachelor's degree in any subject.
- TEFL/TESOL certificate.
- Clean criminal record.
To teach English abroad, you will need an ESL teaching qualification like a TEFL certificate and a valid passport. Though some programs require a bachelor's degree, many countries hire English teachers without a degree or teaching experience as long as they speak English fluently and have a TEFL certification.Do I need TEFL if I have a teaching degree? ›
You don't need to be a state certified teacher to teach English abroad. However, if you're a certified teacher looking to teach English abroad, you should get a TEFL certification. A TEFL certificate will prepare you for the unique challenges of teaching English as a foreign language.How much does Italy pay English teachers? ›
A full-time ESL teacher in Italy can earn between €1,000-€1,500 ($1,100-$1,700) per month. This salary is often just enough to cover the cost of living. Additionally, many ESL teachers initially work part-time as they get established.
- South Korea ($1,850-$2,650 USD a month)
- China ($1,200-$2,600 USD a month)
- Japan ($1,700-$2,600 USD a month)
- Taiwan ($2,000-$3,000 USD a month)
- Gulf Arab States ($2,000-$5,000 USD a month)
- Honorable Mention: Vietnam ($1,500-$2,000 USD a month)
Can Americans Teach English in Europe? Yes - An American with a TEFL / TESOL Certification from International TEFL Academy can realistically find great opportunities to teach English in Europe. There are thousands of Americans successfully finding employment in Europe every year as English teachers.How long does it take to get TEFL certified? ›
There's no single, standardized path to getting TEFL certified. Depending on the TEFL course and your own unique circumstances, it is possible to get TEFL certification in as little as a month. That said, it's recommended that most students set aside about six months to complete their chosen TEFL course.Is Celta or TEFL better? ›
The main difference is that while with a CELTA, the quality of the course you're paying for is pretty much guaranteed, with a TEFL, you'll need to do a bit more research to make sure the program is offering what you're looking for.Can I teach English with only a TEFL certificate? ›
Yes, you can teach English in the United States with your TEFL certification. There are millions of non-native English speakers living, working and studying in the United States and the demand for English language instruction is huge.Where can I teach English without a TEFL certificate? ›
While most teach abroad destinations require it, there are a few places where you can teach English abroad without a TEFL certificate, like Spain, Thailand, and Japan.Where is the best place to get TEFL certification? ›
- International TEFL Academy. ...
- International TEFL and TESOL Training. ...
- The Language House TEFL. ...
- i-to-i TEFL. ...
- Premier TEFL. ...
- myTEFL. ...
- TEFL Worldwide Prague. ...
- Maximo Nivel.
The pay to teach English abroad varies, but you can expect to earn a decent salary. In top-paying countries, teachers can get paid a salary of anywhere from $2,000 to over $5,000 USD per month. Your TEFL salary will depend on your position, qualifications and the country you teach in.