Teaching English as a foreign language has always been a lucrative industry, however the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated its growth to new heights over the past couple of years. According to recent estimates, the industry is now worth over $10 billion, with over 1.7 billion students learning English around the world.
And whilst the rise of online learning has contributed hugely to this growth, the opening up of the world post-pandemic is once again set to become a crucial arm of the industry once again. Italy has been one of the most popular regions for TEFL jobs over the years, offering competitive salaries and a way for people to immerse themselves in one of Europe’s most stunning countries.
For those looking to kickstart an exciting career, here’s everything you need to know about getting started with TEFL jobs in Italy.
Roughly 95 million tourists visit Italy each year, with Venice still remaining the most popular destination, making it the fifth most visited country in the world. Whether it be the fashion icons in Milan, the antiquity of Rome or the culture of Florence, there is no end to the amount of beauty in Italy, which makes it such a popular destination to visit.
However, with the country being so popular, the demand for TEFL jobs in Italy are some of the most competitive in Europe to find.
With the fashion, automotive and tourism industries so crucial to Italian society and the economy, the need for business English skills is incredibly high right now, especially in Northern cities such as Milan, Rome, Venice and Florence. However, despite the developed economies and strong presence of foreign visitors, the general understanding of English as a second language isn’t as high in Italy as it is in other countries in Europe, helping to keep the demand for EFL teachers high.
How To Get A TEFL Job In Italy
To get ahead of the competition and find your feet inside Italy’s borders, one of the best tips we can offer is to consult with the Pagine Gialle (Yellow pages) for all the local contacts and connections you need.
The best time to look for a TEFL job in Italy is either between the months of September and January (the start of the academic year), and July and August when the majority of summer camps take place. One thing to keep in mind is that there is a dramatic dropoff when it comes to demand for EFL studies during August, where schools shut for the month.
Contracts for TEFL jobs in Italy tend to average between 25-28 hours per week, which are generally spread out between the day and evening classes. With the exception of summer camps and very specific private institutions, there generally aren’t the same level of benefits offered to TEFL workers in Italy in regards to things like accommodation or any other benefit packages – you’ll have to source those yourself.
Further on from that, the cost of living and average salary those in EFL studies are offered are comparable. In the North of the country, TEFL wages are usually around €1,000-€1,300, but that number will drop the further south you go where the cost of living isn’t as high.
The reality of EFL jobs in Italy is that the cost of living, the average salaries and lack of any major benefit packages means that most teachers will be able to live fairly comfortably in the country, albeit without the room to save as much as in other countries.
It goes without saying, but planning and saving before jetting off to Italy is a fundamental part of starting up a successful TEFL career. Save up and bring as much money before travelling, as accommodation alone can easily stretch to around half $1,000 a month. Deposits are the equivalent for two or three months’ worth of rent, and there can be extra agency fees on top to always look out for.
Flatsharing is a good compromise for those looking to cut some of the costs down, and it can be a good way of settling in and making some new social groups. Taking some Italian classes can also be a good way of making friends and immersing in the culture – learning a little Italian will help hugely in a day-to-day routine.
TEFL Requirements In Italy
Despite the competition for TEFL jobs, Italy’s requirements are fairly par for other European countries.
The typical students EFL jobs cater towards are typically business professionals and children in private and public schools, with most asking for a EU citizenship or work permit, as well as a BA/BS degree to begin teaching.
For sure, Italy can be a demanding and potentially stressful place to start up and begin carving out a TEFL career; however, with the right amount of research and planning, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Italy is a magical place to visit, live and teach, and everything should run smoothly once the hurdle of the first few weeks is overcome!
Looking to learn more about moving to Italy? Read more in our Lifestyle section.
Article by James Metcalfe, TEFL teacher and trainer.
Featured image, the town of Bogliasco in the Italian region of Liguria, located about 11 kilometres southeast of Genoa. / CanvaPro