With incredible cuisine, history, and cultural sites, the draw of teaching English in Italy is more in the ability to experience living here long-term and less on making a high salary that allows for saving. One benefit to getting TEFL certified in Italy is that many programs provide assistance finding jobs after the program is complete too. At the end of the day, getting TEFL certified is the first step to landing a teaching job in Italy.
Some language schools in Italy will allow individuals with only a bachelor’s degree under their belt to apply for teaching jobs, but most will want their teachers to have full TEFL certification. Obtaining a certification in the city or region where you’d like to find a teaching job in Italy is highly recommended. You’ll be able to build connections in the local community that could eventually result in jobs, so the location where you earn your TEFL certification will influence where you end up teaching.
Traditionally popular cities might offer more job opportunities, but there will also be more competition from other English-speaking foreigners. Top locations in Italy for finding a position teaching English include Rome, Florence, and Milan. The size of these cities along with their statuses as important political, financial, and commercial hubs make them ideal spots to find TEFL employment.
Other ideas would be to try smaller cities, such as Bari, or a location that might not be immediately thought of as a location for TEFL certification in Italy, such as Sardinia. If you are flexible on destination options and open to teaching children, adults, or teens, you will have the most success in finding a teaching job abroad.
Consider investigating areas in Southern Italy - the cost of living and competition for jobs will be lower. If you are experienced and looking for work in July or August after TEFL courses, consider applying for employment as a short-term teacher at a summer holiday destination, such as Sardegna.
Courses & Programs
TEFL certification courses in Italy are intensive and can require long days of focus in order to absorb all of the information. Most TEFL courses in Italy last four weeks, which is a good amount of time to balance lessons with time to relax and explore the country. Previous experience is not required in order to enroll in most TEFL programs.
It is recommended that you apply for your TEFL program two to six months ahead of time, this allows you time to officially be accepted to the program and plan your trip. Organizations are sometimes able to arrange enrollment in TEFL courses in a shorter amount of time depending on the timing and capacity of their programs.
The training program should cover the methodology and skills needed to effectively teach English in a classroom setting. Many courses are structured to focus on lesson planning, group activities, and core elements of successful teaching, such as English Grammar. TEFL certification should also include classroom teaching practice, observation, and sometimes discussions with other participants to facilitate understanding. Most programs will also offer job placement assistance, but be sure to get a clear idea of what this really means before committing to program enrollment.
It is important to consider the timing of your TEFL certification before enrolling in a course. Most schools in Italy have hiring rounds in September and a smaller round in January, so it can be a good idea to coordinate so your certification is complete by these months. Contracts will typically run for nine or ten months, wrapping up in June or early July. August is mostly a holiday month for Italy, so this could be a great time to spend getting certified or to get acquainted with the country.
There are opportunities for you to get TEFL certified online, which is an excellent option for some people. This can be a way to balance earning money at home with obtaining the necessary training, and also allows you to complete the program at your own pace. Most placements want to see a TEFL certification program with at least 120 hours of training and actual classroom teaching experience as a part of the program.
Salary & Costs
Most TEFL certification courses in Italy range from $1,700 to $2,200 USD, which usually covers classroom, books, internet access, and job assistance. This is outside of any accommodation or living costs, which are typically not included in TEFL programs abroad. Once you have your TEFL certification, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll find a job in Italy, so it’s recommended to bring enough money to cover an additional four to six weeks for job searching (probably between $2,000 and $3,000 USD depending on your lifestyle). If you have friends or relatives in Italy who would let you stay with them, this is an excellent way to save on costs. Otherwise budget options, such as hostels, can be a good option.
Salaries for English teachers in Italy can range from $1,400 and $2,000 USD a month, while the cost of living is usually $900 to $1,300 USD per month depending on your location. Cost of living in Italy is pretty typical of Europe, you can expect to spend $2 on a cappuccino, $20 for a basic restaurant meal, and $40 for a nice shirt or dress.
Private English lessons can be an excellent option to supplement teaching income, bringing in between $15 and $40 per hour - you just have to find the clients. Most English teachers in Italy are in the classroom between 20 and 30 hours per week, and lesson planning and evaluation takes extra time on top of this. Keep this in mind if planning to take private students.
Accommodation & Visas
Most teachers live in shared apartments with other foreigners, either English teachers, people getting TEFL certified, or travelers working in Italy for a short or long time. As with most countries, housing is more expensive in larger cities compared to rural areas. However most of the programs and positions are in metropolitan hubs.
Americans and other foreigners not from the EU need to obtain a visa in order to work in Italy. It is possible to legally teach 20 hours per week on a student visa. Most Americans choose this option or work under the table on a tourist visa, since it is rare for a school to sponsor a visa for a teacher. There may also be an option to work as an independent contractor, depending on your situation. TEFL program providers can outline the visa requirements or answer any questions, but actually deciding what to do and working through the logistics will be up to you.
If you have grandparents from Italy or other countries in the European Union and can look into obtaining EU citizenship, this is an extremely beneficial asset and can greatly assist you in finding a position. Citizens of the EU do not need a visa or any sort of work permit to legally teach English in Italy.
Benefits & Challenges
By getting TEFL certified in Italy, you’ll become better acquainted with the Italian culture - while extremely laid back and welcoming, it may still take some adjusting.
Use your time spent getting TEFL certified to learn the Italian language. In general Italians are impressed and flattered when you can converse in Italian rather than making them speak English. This is an incredible benefit when building connections with local employers, and eventually students. Also, proficiency in Italian can help you better understand the details of your job as contracts are sometimes written in Italian.
Italy is an incredible destination for any TEFL teacher, with amazing work-life balance and the chance to earn a good living teaching English. It is also a top destination for students, tourists, and other foreigners because of the culture, food, history, and incredible sights. This means long-term jobs that allow international workers to live here are pretty competitive.
Along with offering some of the world’s most famous destinations for travelers, including Florence, Rome, Venice, and Milan, language schools are sometimes reluctant to commit to long-term positions because of a varying economy.
Some tips for converting your TEFL certification in to a job in Italy:
- Take a part time job (or two) if that’s the first thing you get
- Build a community of other English teachers in your area and ask them everything you want to know about local jobs and the hiring process
- Look for schools that are in your ideal city but may be in less popular neighborhoods or on side streets
- Consider taking a summer teaching position at a summer camp or holiday resort
- Be prepared to apply for lots of jobs - translate your resume into Italian, take your TEFL certification and prep with you for any interviews, and get a phone with an Italian number to add to your resume
- Dress for success - this is Italy, after all!