The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Italy
Italy is a dream teach abroad destination for many drawn in by the incredible food, history, and natural beauty. From the impressive peaks of the Dolomites to the rolling hills of Tuscany and, of course, the hundreds of miles of coastline, Italy is brimming with an infinite number of adventures. And teaching English in Italy allows ESL teachers to soak up the nation's immense beauty firsthand.
However, teaching in Italy is best for those who can prioritize experience over income. The country does not offer the highest salaries, and although there is a demand for English, most teaching positions are reserved for EU citizens only. But teaching in Italy is not impossible if you have the determination and essential knowledge to make it happen.
Snapshot of Teaching English in Italy
Avg. Salary: $1,100-$1,700/month
Teaching Hours: 10-15 hours
Duration of contract: 3-12 months
Peak hiring season: Spring and fall
School term: September-June
Visa requirements: EU citizenship, work permit, student visa, working holiday visa (Americans ineligible)
Why Teach English in Italy?
Italy is up there as one of the world's top tourist destinations, and for good reason. Its location between the east and west means easy access to beautiful destinations around Europe.
And even though it can be challenging to secure a job teaching English in Italy, especially for Americans, it promises an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in Italian culture, history, and beauty.
Read More: Is Teaching Abroad Alone Safe for Women?
Typical Requirements to Teach English in Italy
To teach English in Italy, you must ensure you’re eligible. Most schools in Italy require teachers to have:
- Native English speaking proficiency
- A bachelor’s degree, preferred but not always required
- A reputable TEFL certificate of at least 120-hours
- The legal right to work in the EU
Additionally, Americans without EU citizenship often may struggle to find a school willing to sponsor their work permit. But it’s not impossible, and persistence is key.
Types of Teaching Jobs in Italy
Private Language Schools
Most private language schools are found in the big cities and cater to professional adults or university students seeking to advance their English. There is some opportunity to work with children, but it’s less common. Most private language schools operate nights and weekends and pay an hourly rate of €13-€18.
Summer Camp Counselor
Teaching at a summer camp in Italy is one way to avoid the need for EU citizenship or a work permit. Summer camps in Italy run between June to September and typically employ counselors for no more than 90 days, the visa-free period Americans are allowed in Europe.
As an English camp counselor, you often receive free room and board with a local host family or at the camp facilities, plus a small stipend for your work. Some camps are volunteer-based and may not provide a salary. On average, camps pay counselors between €150-€200 per week.
Private Tutor as a Student
Another unique way to teach in Italy is on a student permit as a private tutor. If you're enrolled at an Italian government-recognized language school or an Italian university, you're eligible to apply for an Italian residence permit. On a Permesso di Soggiorno or residency, you can work part-time up to 20 hours per week and 1,040 hours per year.
As a private English tutor, you need to be willing to market yourself and network extensively to meet clients. Handing out flyers at local language schools and universities or posting about your services online are great ways to get started.
Volunteer with an Exchange Organization
Many exchange organizations have teach abroad programs in Italy. These are often unpaid or require a fee to participate. However, they usually provide the excellent experience of staying with a host family who provides free room and board.
One example is InterExchange, which places native-English speakers with a host family in exchange for private tutoring services provided to the family. Greenheart Travel is another program that places participants as volunteer teaching assistants in public primary and secondary schools throughout Italy.
Where to Find Teaching Jobs in Italy
Finding a job teaching English in Italy is not always easy for non-EU citizens, but here's where you can start your search!
Apply to Schools Directly
Applying directly to private language schools is one of your best options for finding a reputable teaching job in Italy. ESLbase's directory of English language schools is a great place to start. This helpful resource lists the websites of English schools in Italy, allowing you to search for job openings.
Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.
Most job opportunities can be found in the country's largest cities like Rome, Naples, and Milan.
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.
Florence and Venice are highly desired destinations with few opportunities, which means that competition is fierce. You’re better off heading to the other cities listed above.
These helpful articles share some insight into what it’s like living and teaching in Italy.
- Teaching English in Italy: What’s It Like? By Luggage and Life
- 17 Things You Should Know Before Moving to Italy by MoveHub
- Moving to Italy: Tips & Mistakes to Avoid by Anna Everywhere
- 30 Fun Facts About Italy You Should Know! By The World Pursuit
- Helpful Tips on How to Teach English to Italian Students by Learn English
One of the most important requirements to teach English in Italy is to have a TEFL certificate. Hiring schools want teachers to complete a TEFL course with at least 120-hours and from a reputable provider.
CIEE TEFL’S 150-Hour TEFL Certification
CIEE TEFL is one of the best options for those dreaming of teaching abroad in Italy. As an internationally recognized and trusted brand, CIEE has a proven track record of helping graduates successfully secure teaching jobs in Italy.
Additionally, CIEE TEFL's 150-hour certification makes it easy to complete your TEFL training online in just three months. This comprehensive course includes:
- 130 hours of ACCET accredited coursework
- 20 hour TEFL practicum
- Instruction by highly qualified TEFL tutors
- Job search assistance
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. Therefore, many supplement their income by tutoring privately or teaching English online. As a private tutor in Italy, you can earn €15-€25 ($16-$27) per hour.
Cost of Living in Italy
The cost of living in Italy is relatively low compared to other EU countries. But as most English teaching jobs are in the big cities, monthly expenses can be pretty high, especially on a teacher's salary. As a result, many expats in Italy find their monthly cost of living to be about €600-€900+.
Rent for a private studio apartment can be as much as €600-€1,000 per month, but most ESL teachers in Italy rent a room in a flatshare which typically costs €300-€450 per month.
It can take time to find a job teaching in Italy, so coming with a large enough start-up fund is essential. Expats moving to Italy should come with at least €2,500 ($3,000).