A Guide to Teaching English in Italy

A Guide to Teaching English in Italy

The abode of the ancient Romans, Italy has been a lucrative destination among travelers for its cultural heritage, exquisite food, fashion, art, and music. It is also a major hub of research and development in education and home to some of the world’s oldest universities. As a result, the number of teaching opportunities in the country has grown exponentially, including increased demand for English teachers.

So, if you’ve ever dreamed of living “la dolce vita” while expressing your passion for the English language, teaching English in Italy could be a great option. In this article, we’ll look at the essential requirements to be an English teacher and provide valuable insights to make a lasting impact on ESL learners.

Teaching English in Italy is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture while making a real difference in people’s lives. Enjoy! “Buon divertimento!”

Are English teachers in demand in Italy?

There are fantastic prospects for English teachers in Italy as the ESL job market is always expanding with a growing demand for TEFL certified teachers.

Business English and private tutoring provide ESL teachers a lot of opportunities as the locals are constantly in search of ways to increase their market value through skills like proficiency in English Language.

Although a teaching job in Italy would not necessarily make you the richest person in the country and the ESL job market is quite competitive, there are opportunities for teachers with a TEFL certificate to earn and live comfortably even in the expensive Italian cities. The major attractions for ESL teachers are in Rome, Milan and Naples where you will find most of the high paying teaching opportunities.

For a chance to make extra income, most ESL teachers in Italy take private tutoring classes for individuals or groups of students at a reduced rate.

What are the requirements to teach English in Italy?

Let’s take a quick look at the essential requirements to teach English in Italy

  • Educational qualification: A bachelors degree
  • TEFL certification: Yes, preferred
  • Work experience: Yes, preferred
  • Italian language proficiency: No, not necessary
  • Knowledge of Italian culture: No, not necessary
  • Visa requirements: Work visa

One of the primary reasons why most aspiring teachers prefer Italy is the country’s comparatively relaxed norms and requisites for providing English classes.

Educational Qualification

The most important eligibility criterion to teach English in Italy is a bachelor’s degree in any field from an accredited university. Individuals with a master’s degree or above can also apply for senior-level teaching positions.

Having a bachelor’s degree is typically the minimum education requirement if you’re looking to teach English in Italy. Having a degree in English, literature, or something related can give you an advantage while applying for jobs. But even if your background isn’t specifically in those areas, don’t worry – any degree will likely be accepted!

Info: English teachers with a degree will have an advantage when applying for work visas in Italy – especially if you’re a non-EU citizen.

If you have a master’s degree, that could open up more senior positions or higher-level teaching opportunities at universities and professional training programs. The exact requirements differ depending on the employer and role you’re applying for – some prefer practical experience, while others value advanced degrees more.

TEFL Certification

Another important credential for those looking to teach English in Italy is TEFL Certification. The exact requirements for TEFL certification vary depending on the employer, but generally speaking, most employers look for certifications such as Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL with a minimum of 100 hours.

Having teaching practice under your belt is also advantageous, so make sure to highlight any relevant experience you have when applying for English teaching positions in Italy.

A reputed TEFL certification is what I recommend for all non-native English speakers looking to teach English in Italy. A good TEFL certification demonstrates your language proficiency and gives you the necessary qualifications and skills to effectively teach English as a foreign language.

The certificate also shows that you understand the techniques required to communicate effectively with students with different levels of language ability. With the right TEFL certification, employers can be confident that you are well-equipped to help their students learn English in an engaging and interactive way.

Work Experience

In addition to a bachelor’s degree and TEFL certification, ESL employers may also look for teachers with some relevant work experience. This could be for both permanent and temporary teaching positions.

For example, they might look for teachers with experience in Italy or other countries, volunteer experience working with children or adults learning English, prior tutoring experience, or a combination of the above. Hence, such work experience can demonstrate your practical knowledge of teaching English and make you stand out from the competition.

Though teaching experience can be beneficial when applying for positions in Italy, it is not always required. For new teachers, entry-level positions at smaller language schools or private tutoring gigs may be good starting points and can provide valuable experience within the field.

To build up your experience before applying, consider volunteering, teaching internships, or teaching English online before applying for positions in Italy.

Italian Language Proficiency

Having fluency in the Italian language to teach English is not mandatory, but it can certainly be beneficial for you. Try to possess at least basic Italian language skills in order to communicate better and build rapport with your students. Additionally, being able to speak Italian will make it easier to navigate daily life in Italy.

Knowing some of the most common Italian phrases (like, ‘thank you’, ‘welcome’, and ‘excuse me’) and being able to talk to your students in Italian can also go a long way in making your students feel comfortable while interacting with you.

Knowledge of Italian Culture

Being familiar with the Italian culture is helpful and sometimes essential to connect with your students. This includes an understanding of common Italian customs, festivals, and traditions. Getting an idea of the nearby locations and destinations will also be useful.

Showing a little interest in their culture will also make you more approachable and relatable to your students.

Visa Requirements

Well, here comes some real work! To legally teach English in Italy, non-European Union (EU) citizens typically require a work visa, while EU citizens can work without one. Here are the general steps and requirements for obtaining a work visa as a non-EU citizen:

  • Secure a job offer: Before applying for a work visa, you must first secure a job offer from an Italian employer. They will provide you with an employment contract, a prerequisite for the visa application process.
  • Nulla Osta (work permit): Your Italian employer will request a Nulla Osta, which is a work permit, on your behalf from the local immigration office (Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione) in Italy. The application may take several weeks or even months to process.
  • Work visa application: Once the Nulla Osta is granted, your employer will send it to you. You’ll then need to submit your work visa application at the nearest Italian consulate or embassy in your home country. Required documents generally include:
    • A valid passport
    • Passport-sized photos
    • Completed visa application form
    • Nulla Osta / work permit
    • Employment contract
    • Proof of accommodation in Italy
    • Additional supporting documents as required by the consulate
  • Residence permit (Permesso di Soggiorno): After arriving in Italy with your work visa, you must apply for a residence permit (Permesso di Soggiorno) within eight days. This application is usually submitted at the local police station (Questura) and may require additional documentation.

Please note that visa requirements and processes are subject to change. Therefore, always consult the Italian consulate or embassy in your home country for the most up-to-date information and specific requirements.

If you hold EU citizenship, no visa is required, as you can have unrestricted access to the country. However, you might have to register your stay with the local authorities if you plan to reside there for over 90 days.

Financial Preparation

You will need to have some financial preparation before moving to Italy. This includes saving up enough money to cover your living expenses for at least the first few months, as well as having health insurance. Typically, settling down in Italy will take around two weeks after arrival. Then, as you start working, the next 4 – 5 weeks will pass in receiving your first paycheck. Hence, financial stability before flying off is crucial.

At the same time, ensure that the insurance plan covers any medical expenses incurred during your stay as an English teacher.

List of cities offering the most job vacancies

Italy offers numerous opportunities for English teachers nationwide, with some cities having a higher demand for English instructors. Here are some of the top cities in Italy with the most teaching English jobs:

  • Rome: As the capital city and a major tourist destination, Rome has a high demand for English teachers. You can find opportunities in language schools, international schools, and businesses offering English courses for professionals.
  • Milan: Known for its fashion and finance industries, Milan has a significant demand for English teachers, particularly in the business English sector. Language schools and international schools are also common employers in the city.
  • Florence: This beautiful, historic city attracts many international students and tourists, resulting in a steady demand for English teachers. Language schools and private tutoring are popular options for employment in Florence.
  • Naples: Naples offers English teaching opportunities in language schools, public schools, and private tutoring settings. The city’s rich history and vibrant culture attract tourists and locals interested in learning English.
  • Turin: As a major industrial and cultural center in Italy, Turin has numerous language and international schools seeking English teachers. There is also a demand for business English instructors due to the city’s strong economic presence.
  • Bologna: Home to the oldest university in the Western world, Bologna boasts a strong educational sector. English teachers can find opportunities in language schools, universities, and private tutoring.

Some of the other popular cities in Italy that offer English teaching jobs are:

Palermo, Genoa, Catania, Venice, Pisa, Verona, Bari, Trieste, Taranto, Ferrara, Reggio Calabria, Modena, Padua, and Livorno.

These cities represent just a few of the many options for teaching English in Italy. Remember that demand for English teachers can also be found in smaller towns and more rural areas, although the available positions may be limited.

Type of jobs for English teachers in Italy

There is a fair variety of teaching jobs for ESL teachers in Italy. The most popular job types are found in the private language schools, English language summer camps and private teaching classes. Let's take a look at some of these options: 

Language schools:

In Italy, language schools are private institutions offering structured English courses to students of all ages, often focusing on conversation and practical usage. Italy being home to incredible regional diversity, each city has language schools. Working in language schools allows you to experience local dialects while teaching English. Here you'll be teaching to students of all ages and proficiency levels, offering courses like Business English, conversational classes, or exam prep. Whether you're in bustling Rome or picturesque Verona, you'll be immersed in rich cultural experiences while enjoying your teaching in local Italian language schools.

Public schools:

Italian public schools are government-funded educational institutions, where English is a mandatory subject taught to students from primary to secondary levels. Italian public schools place great emphasis on foreign language education, and by teaching English here, you'll not only be helping students gain valuable skills, but also contribute to the strong multilingual tradition in Italy. You'll be immersed in the local culture, working alongside Italian colleagues and helping students from primary to secondary levels. Plus, you'll get a firsthand taste of delicious Italian cuisine during lunch breaks!

Private tutoring:

Private tutoring in Italy involves teaching English one-on-one or to small groups, typically at the student's home, a public location, or online, and hence it is the most flexible option. Italian families are known for their warmth and hospitality. As a private tutor, you'll have the chance to experience this first-hand. Build strong connections with your students and their families, and enjoy some homemade pasta as you bond over language learning!

Summer camps:

Italy boasts breathtaking landscapes, from sunny beaches to majestic mountains. English summer camps in Italy are immersive, short-term programs combining language learning with recreational activities in picturesque settings. Imagine teaching English on the Amalfi Coast or in the rolling Tuscan hills – it's an experience you'll never forget. These programs combine language learning with sports, arts, and other exciting activities. It's a fantastic way to engage with young learners and create unforgettable memories under the Italian sun.

Corporate training:

Italy is a hub for fashion, design, and automotive industries. By providing English corporate training, you'll not only help professionals enhance their communication skills, but also gain insights into these fascinating sectors. You'll provide tailored lessons to employees, helping them improve their communication skills in professional settings.

From language schools and public institutions to private tutoring, summer camps, and corporate training - discover the variety of English teaching jobs in Italy, each offering unique experiences and rewards. Find your perfect fit and thrive in bella Italia!

Salary for English teachers in Italy

Although you cannot expect to become the richest individual in the country on your ESL salary in Italy, a comfortable lifestyle and some active social life is plausible.

ESL teachers with TEFL qualifications can earn between 1,200 to 2,100 euros per month teaching English in Italy with the major determinants being your qualification and the city you settle.

The salary rate is higher in cities like Milan and for teachers with qualifications such as the TEFL and a degree. If you decide to stay in smaller cities like Naples, you will most likely earn lower but also incur a lesser cost of living.

An additional job taking private tutoring classes can fetch you between 10 - 25 euros per hour and this should be enough to help you break even or save.

Can you save money while teaching English in Italy?

It’s no doubt Italy is one of the best places to live in in Europe with its friendly people and electric cities. However, the country is often perceived as an expensive place to live although in reality, your cost of living as an English teacher in Italy is largely dependent on your lifestyle, budget and where you choose to live.

This means your monthly cost of living will be about 1,000 euros monthly if you live in the big cities and just about 800 euros per month in areas away from the city centers and tourists hotspots.

Accommodation Options: Italians are very friendly and kind people and so it is easy to find an apartment with the help of the locals or even find people willing to share.

A typical one room apartment in Italy costs about 600 euros in big cities and as low as 300 euros in other areas.

It is important to note that the areas with very low accommodation costs also offer very low salaries most of the time and as such, most of the ESL teachers choose the big cities where they take private lessons to augment their salaries.

Hiring season and process for English teachers in Italy

ESL jobs are not readily available all year round in Italy as the schools have hiring season and teachers are not likely to be hired mid-session. The peak hiring period in Italy is between September and October and then in January.

The hiring process in Italy gives teachers an opportunity to visit the country and explore some of the famous tourist attraction sites or even get familiar with the city you intend to live in.

For most of the English teaching jobs in Italy, you will be required to attend the interview in person and begin the job as soon as you are hired.

Fun and travel activities while teaching in Italy

Traveling around Italy as an English teacher can be a fulfilling experience, allowing you to explore various destinations during your time off or between teaching contracts.

Italy is one of the most fantastic places to be for ESL teachers due its bubbly lifestyle, ancient sites and beautiful architecture. As an English teacher in Italy you get to live in the country and enjoy the amazing adventures longer than any tourists can dream.

You can savor the tasty cuisines, experience the culture, and enjoy the climate for as long as you reside in the Italy and you do not necessarily need to travel for vacation as Italy has some of the most amazing vacation destinations in the world.

The list of fun things to do and places to go in Italy is unending so prepare to fall in love with the country for a lifetime. If you start in Rome, you can begin by visiting the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, Vatican Museum and the Pantheon.

Moving to Florence, a great adventure will be to climb the Duomo, take a tour of the Uffizi Gallery and see Michelangelo’s famous David.

The hill towns of Tuscany are also a must see, with their scenic and picturesque views that would leave you with lasting memories. See the Lake Como, Saint Mark’s Basilica, the canals in Venice and so much more.

Teaching English in Italy: FAQs

Is it possible to teach English in Italy without a degree?

In most cases, a university degree is required to apply for an English teaching job. However, some schools and organizations may hire you without a degree based on your work experience, teaching skills, and TEFL certification.

Do you need to be a native English speaker?

While it is not a mandatory requirement, non-natives with a bachelor’s degree, an internationally recognized TEFL certificate like the Trinity CertTESOL or the Cambridge CELTA, and fluency in the English language will definitely give you enough chances of being hired. Remember that for non-natives, your fluency in the language will be assessed during the interview process.

Should you know Italian to teach in Italy?

No. It is not mandatory to know Italian to teach English in Italy. However, knowing the language can help make the most of your experience, providing authentic Italian exposure. Also, locals feel happy communicating with people who understand their language, dialect, or accent. So, I recommend that you learn some basics of the Italian language.

How much experience do I need to become an English teacher?

While no such specification exists, individuals with at least two years of work experience can look for better job roles, positions, and salaries. However, this is not mandatory, and you may get hired based on your skills, qualification, and abilities.

What is the average salary for teaching English in Italy?

On average, TEFL teachers can earn around €1200 to €2100 euros per month in Italy. It largely depends on the employer, location, experience of the applicant, teaching positions (full-time or part-time), and other factors. Nevertheless, this is a good figure, especially for first-time English teachers in Italy. The amount can often cover your cost of living because cities like Rome or Milan typically offer higher wages due to their higher cost of living compared to smaller towns with lower salaries.


Teaching English in Italy is a great way to grow professionally and personally. With the increased demand for language teachers, it can be a very lucrative career move that provides plenty of opportunities for cultural experiences that can last a lifetime. Educational qualifications and TEFL certification are key prerequisites for teaching English in Italy.

Keeping up with requirements and understanding regulations is important when applying for jobs. Though there may be some challenges, having the right knowledge and support can help you get started on a rewarding journey as an English teacher in Italy!

Remember that your teaching schedule and workload may affect your travel plans. To make the most of your free time, plan trips during weekends, public holidays, and school breaks, balancing your teaching responsibilities with your adventures.

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