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What Are the Requirements to Teach English in Italy?
Written by: Paige Lee
Last Updated: September 21, 2020
Dreaming of chowing down on large bowls of delicious, home made pasta and washing it down with a superb glass of red? Or perhaps a traditional, wood-fired pizza with the fluffiest buffalo mozzarella you've ever sunk your teeth into is calling your name? Maybe you love great opera or Renaissance architecture. Whatever your reason for wanting to teach English in Italy may be, we've got the basic requirements covered for you.
1. TEFL Certification
Being a native or fluent English speaker is a key part of teaching English abroad but that alone does not qualify just anyone to take charge of a student’s future with the English language. Nearly all language schools and private families in Italy require their English teachers to hold a legitimate (accredited) TEFL certificate so that they know what training and skills a prospective English teacher possess.
To read more about what defines a legitimate TEFL certificate, take a quick detour to this article here.
2. 4-year College Degree (Typically, but not always)
Demand for English language education among Italian students remains high, and a native English speaker is the ideal educator for this language education. However, it’s common for language schools or families looking to hire tutors to prioritize a 4-year degree in addition to a TEFL certification when seeking an English teacher... even if it’s unrelated to education! Your 4-year degree can be in any field or subject matter. Note: Citizens of European Union nations may have an easier time getting a job without a 4-year degree, but most employers still typically require it.
Don't have a 4-year degree? Check out this article to learn more about your options: No Degree? No Problem - Top 6 Countries to Teach English Abroad without a College Degree
3. Understanding of the visa laws and common practices
Having the legal right to work in Italy looks different for a variety of passport holders. While EU citizens will typically automatically have legal working status, Canadians and Australians may want to consider applying for a Working Holiday Visa.
American English teachers are in high demand in Italy, but will almost never be provided with the legal right to work in Italy (a work visa). Therefore, a majority of American English teachers are working under the table and being paid in cash in order to live as an English teacher in Italy… sometimes for years at a time! This is not technically legal, but it is common. If you’re curious about what this looks like, make sure to read the ITA alumni firsthand accounts through their Q&A’s and articles on the Italy country profile.
There is a minority of American teachers in Italy working on a student visa, for which they are taking Italian classes to be eligible for. Read more about that approach to working in Italy here.
4. Knowing which cities have the most jobs
To no one’s surprise, Italy is rife with stunning countryside and quaint rural town scenes. However, nearly everyone who wants to teach in Italy imagines themselves waking up each morning to a terrace view overlooking one of these vistas. This means trying to teach in a place like this is going to be incredibly competitive and difficult to achieve. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find yourself living and teaching someplace that is a short trip away! The rule-of-thumb for teaching markets in Italy is that wherever the population is the largest, the level of opportunity for English teachers is the highest. Therefore, setting your sights on larger cities like Rome, Milan, Naples, and Turin is the right move.
One popular destination yet un-ideal teaching market in Italy to make note of is Florence. Florence is a moderate sized city and while there are some language schools, it is a city that is already saturated with a plethora of English teachers. This makes it a difficult job market, especially for Americans & other non-European Union citizens.
5. Be Financially Prepared & Having Savings for Start-up Costs
Start-up costs and monthly cost of living are the expenses you’ll want to plan for prior to your arrival in Italy. Interviewing for work in a language school or establishing yourself as a private tutor almost always happens in the first 2 weeks after arrival. After that, you should expect another 4 weeks to pass before you earn your first pay-check or until your schedule is comfortably filled with private tutoring clients.
Therefore, we recommend you plan to bring enough funds to cover your first six weeks of living in Italy. In USD, this amount should be somewhere between $2,250 and $2,700 for 6 weeks. In Euro, this amount should be about €2,000 to €2,500.
Financial Pro Tip! A great way to make and save money for start-up costs is teaching English online. You can begin making money (typically $10 - $20 an hour to start, or more if you have previous teaching experience and/or a degree in education) from home before you depart for Italy, and teaching English online enables you to begin making money as soon as you arrive in Italy. It also provides a great way to make extra money once you get a full or part-time job on the ground in Italy.
To learn more, read: Teach English Online: Your Guide on How to Make Money & Travel the World.
6. Last but not least - Talk to an ITA Advisor!
In order to make sure you are prepared to teach English in Italy you should plan to speak to an ITA Admissions Advisor! From salaries & hiring seasons to visas, ITA’s Advisors are experts in the nuanced details of teaching English in an incredible country like Italy, so they’re here to make sure your questions and concerns are addressed. To speak to an advisor today, give us a call at 773-634-9900.
Read more: 8 Ways Speaking to an ITA Advisor Can Help You Teach English Abroad
Born on a snowy Rocky Mountain-side but raised in the Chicago suburbs, Paige has lived and worked in Shanghai, China where she taught English and explored the Asian continent, as well as the "Land Down Under" in Australia. With more than 10 years of professional experience in the fields of teaching English abroad & TEFL certification, Paige is one of our most senior Admissions Advisors.
Want to Learn More About Teaching English Abroad?
Request a free brochure or call 773-634-9900 to speak with an expert advisor about all aspects of TEFL certification and teaching English abroad or online, including the hiring process, salaries, visas, TEFL class options, job placement assistance and more.
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