How to work as an English teacher in Italy

Teaching English can be a way to earn a living in Italy.

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Teaching qualifications

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If you are lucky you might be able to get a teaching job or a few private students based solely on your ability to speak English, but this is becoming harder, especially if you want to teach at a school. Most expats who teach possess a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) qualification. The most widely recognised is the Cambridge CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). Courses can be taken at centers around the world and involve intensive studying, normally full time for a 4 week period, although they can also be taken on a part time basis. To be accepted you will need a university degree and the cost is almost €2000. In Italy you can take the CELTA in the biggest cities, such as Rome, Milan and Naples.

Other reputable courses include the Trinity TESOL. Be wary of websites offering TEFL qualifications on-line as the certificates offered by these companies may not be recognised by schools.

Looking for work

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The best place to look for work is the Internet; there are many TEFL vacancy websites. Just type TEFL into Google and follow the links. If you are already in Italy you can try to contact local language schools directly. Ideally go to the school in person with a copy of your CV and ask to speak to the director. Don't you know any schools in your area? Contact our NGO.

You can also offer private lessons, putting an ad in the local paper is often free and you can try leaving business cards in your local bar, shop etc. However, keep in mind that Italy is a very competitive area with more and more teachers looking for work — and therefore less students looking for lessons.

Salary and conditions

Working for a language school is the most reliable way to earn a living teaching — if the school is serious — but pay is often low: expect not to earn more than €800 a month for a 25 hour week. Although 25 hours may sound very little, this is considered a full time job, often your teaching hours will be spread through the day so in effect you can work from 9am to 9pm with time off in between. You will also need to prepare your lessons, so allow extra time for this.

Teaching private students is more lucrative but less reliable. You can charge up to €25 an hour depending on your location and experience, but if students cancel and don't pay, you won't earn anything. Teaching school age children is your best bet and work is often found via word of mouth, so ask around your local area. Teaching in a company is also possible: to get this kind of job local contacts are essential, so let everyone you meet know that you are looking for teaching work.

Visa information

European citizens do not need a visa to teach in Italy. Other nationalities should check visa requirements, as schools will not employ teachers without proper work permits.