Italy is traditionally one of the most popular locations in Europe for teaching English abroad as there are always plenty of jobs available across the country. Every year thousands of foreign teachers are drawn here by a fabulous mix of culture, cuisine, art, history, and fashion. However, due to its popularity competition for jobs can be quite fierce, particularly in the most sought after locations such as Florence and Venice. Teachers with qualifications and plenty of experience are likely to have the pick of the jobs in these areas, while those with little or no experience might find more options in one of the big cities like Rome or Milan.
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The typical salary for ESL teachers in Italy varies considerably depending on the employer and the location, but you can reasonably expect to earn in the region of 1,000 to 1,500 EUR per month. In general, salaries in the northern cities such as Rome and Milan pay the most, while you may earn less in the south of the country. However, as the cost of living can often be significantly less in the south, the lower income is often not an issue. TEFL qualified teachers with plenty of experience have a good chance of earning the higher end of the scale or even more, while those without a TEFL certification are likely to earn substantially less. It is also common practice for teachers to supplement their income by teaching private students in their free time. Rates for private tutoring range from 15 to 30 EUR per hour.
Teaching jobs in state schools are very popular with foreign teachers in Italy as they tend to pay well and require fewer working hours than other employers. However, these positions are not widely available and are only open to teachers who have a high level of Italian language skills. For most teachers a more realistic option for employment is the network of private language academies that can be found all over the country. The majority of private language schools in Italy expect their teachers to possess a TEFL certification, although some do prefer to train new teachers using their own system. A typical working week involves between 20 and 28 classroom hours, with evening, weekend, and split shift work all commonplace. Pay rates are generally by the hour and can often be quite low in comparison to other employers, but the availability of jobs in this sector is widespread. Private tutoring is also a very popular option in Italy, particularly in university towns and cities. This option allows a great deal of flexibility as you are able to set your own hours and pay rate. By advertising in local newspapers and posting flyers in student areas many teachers soon find they have as many clients as they can handle. Also, private students generally pay cash in hand which teachers often choose not to declare to the tax office.
Other employment options for foreign teachers in Italy include English summer camps which offer short-term contracts during the summer months, teaching business related English in the corporate world, and assistant posts in university English language departments. These options are relatively small in number but tend to pay a good salary.
As the cost of living is relatively high in Italy you are unlikely to save a great deal of your salary during your stay. However, if you have a full-time teaching position and are able to teach private lessons in your spare time, you should have enough income to live a comfortable lifestyle. Accommodation is rarely included in a teaching contract so this is likely to be your biggest expense. In smaller towns and cities it should be possible to rent a studio apartment for around 400 EUR per month, while in Milan or Rome this figure is likely to be double or more. One popular option that can considerably reduce your expenses is to share an apartment either with other teachers or with local residents.