Obtaining an English teaching position without EU citizenship will be a daunting task. Those few non-EU citizens who manage to find a job teaching ESL should be prepared for the fact that their salary will not stretch nearly as far as in other ESL markets.
Individuals can teach ESL in Italy through private language schools, universities and colleges, businesses, and freelance tutoring. Italian schools have two semesters; the first semester starts in September and the second in January. As in the United States, higher qualifications are needed for teachers seeking positions in universities or colleges.
Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Italy
Public and Private School System
The school system in Italy is a mixture of public and private schools, with the school year running between September and June. Students attending public schools are divided into three age groups: primary school (scuola primaria or elementare), lower secondary (scuola secondaria di primo grado or scuola media), and upper secondary school (scuola secondaria di secondo grado or scuola superiore). Italian students are required to attend school until the age of 16, at which point they can continue their studies or join the workforce.
Classroom lessons and materials are delivered in Italian, so an understanding of the language is usually necessary for English teachers thinking of working in the public system. Most English teachers are more likely to find a job at a private school, such as an international school, than at a public school.
Private Language Schools
Private language school chains such as Berlitz typically hire a few months prior to the start of a new semester. Although some language schools operate year round, the main teaching season will be from September to June. However, peak hiring periods during one year may differ from the next year. Individuals interested in working for private language schools should contact them directly for exact details regarding the hiring process. For a list of the most common chain schools in Italy, please see the Largest Chain Schools in Italy section.
Universities and Colleges
Italian universities and colleges operate on the same timetable as public schools, hiring a few months before each semester begins. ESL instructors interested in teaching in a university or college should have a minimum of a Master's Degree and preferably some college teaching experience. Some universities and colleges also require ESL teachers to have basic fluency in Italian.
Freelance tutoring can be an extremely challenging way to find employment in Italy. That said, resourceful and determined ESL teachers can make it a career. Freelance tutoring will focus on teaching conversational English, which is one of the most popular forms of English instruction in Italy. Those wanting to freelance tutor must specialize in creating an individualized curriculum and individualized lesson plans tailored to student needs.
In-Company English Teacher
Some companies provide in-office English training. In-company teachers will be hired by Italian companies to help mainly with conversational English by focusing on proper pronunciation. Curricula are rarely provided so, again, in-company teachers should be prepared to create this based on company needs.
Hiring periods for in-company English teachers and freelance tutors vary depending on the supply and demand.
Jobs Teaching English in the Summer in Italy
Italy's school year is split into two semesters, making English summer camps very popular. Summer camps usually run from June until September, though duration and location can vary. Some employers will provide transportation, accommodation and meals; however, ESL teachers should not expect to have these benefits included. Again, many camps will only be able to hire English speaking EU nationals.
How to Find Jobs Teaching English in Italy
The majority of the newspapers in Italy contain job advertisements which can be accessed either in print form or online. The most widely circulated newspaper in Italy, Corriere della Serra, publishes a job insert on Fridays which claims to contain a diverse range of over 1,500 job postings. There are also specific newspapers containing information for job seekers such as Il Posto. The national newspaper, Il Sole 24 Ore, also publishes a weekly job supplement in their Monday newspaper for college graduates looking for their first job. The Internet is another large resource for job seekers. Keep in mind that Italian websites can be translated with tools such as Google Translate.
Other resources that may include ESL teaching jobs are:
- Oxford Seminars English Language Schools Directory
- The International Herald Tribune - http://www.iht.com/
- Wall Street Journal Europe - https://online.wsj.com/
- Wanted in Rome - http://www.wantedinrome.com/
- Dave's ESL Cafe - http://www.eslcafe.com/joblist/
- A detailed online guidebook on the city of Rome - https://www.aboutroma.com
- El Gazette (published monthly) - http://www.elgazette.com/
- Prospects-UK - http://www.prospects.ac.uk
Graduates of Oxford Seminars can access our Job Placement Service at any time to assist them in their ESL job search. Job Placement Advisors can provide valuable advice and resources to help prospective teachers make their search a successful one.
Largest Chain Schools in Italy
AISLi (Italian Association of English Language Schools)
The Italian Association of English Language Schools (AISLi) includes some of the most prestigious schools in Italy and has been providing English education since 1979. The company currently has over 40 branch schools in the country. AISLi schools are strongly regulated and generally offer a favourable working environment for their teachers. Teachers are often paid by the hour, so it is important to ensure that the contract guarantees a certain number of hours per week. Salaries may vary depending on performance and the boundaries established by AISLi. Preference for positions is often given to EU nationals.
Established in 1968, Inlingua is comprised of more than 300 branch schools in 40 countries worldwide, with over 55 of them located in Italy. Preference for positions is often given to EU nationals.
With over 128 years of experience and 550 chain schools throughout 60 countries, Berlitz is well-established among English language centers. There are currently multiple schools throughout Rome and Milan which provide favorable working conditions for ESL teachers. Preference for positions is often given to EU nationals.
Additional ESL Resources to Help Teach English in Italy
There is an abundance of ESL resources available for teachers to help them in their lesson planning. The difficulty lies in finding suitable resources that meet specific needs. Some examples of teaching resources are listed below.
- Oxford Seminars ESL Teaching Resources
- Dave's ESL Cafe Cook Book - http://www.eslcafe.com/idea/index.cgi
- Transitions Abroad Teaching English in Italy - http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/work/esl/italy.shtml
- ESL Resource Center - http://www.eslsite.com/
- TeAchnology - http://www.teach-nology.com/teachers/lesson_plans/
- Discovery Education - https://school.discoveryeducation.com/
- Using English - https://www.usingenglish.com/
- Songs for Teaching - https://www.songsforteaching.com/esleflesol.htm
- ESL Party Land - http://www.eslpartyland.com/teachers/Tinitial.htm
- The Internet TESL Journal - http://iteslj.org/
Tips for ESL Teachers in Italy
- In case of an emergency, dial 113 for police, 115 for the fire department, and 118 for medical rescue.
- Electrical outlets in Italy have a voltage of 230v which is higher than in North America (usually 120v). Electronics in Italy have plugs which feature two round pins. If a North American appliance can operate at dual voltages, then you will need to purchase a plug adapter (usually about 0.80 EUR at a local grocery store) to fit the electrical wall outlet. Appliances that do not have the option of switching between voltages will require a voltage converter. However, be warned that such converters may still cause overheating.
- Foreigners should always ask for a price before making any purchases from vendors to avoid being overcharged.
- Prices in restaurants double and sometimes triple when sitting down to eat as compared to taking an item to go. This is to cover the cost of service, dishes, utensils, etc.
- Bread is rarely served before a meal, as the main dishes take priority over filling up on bread alone. If bread is available, it is not free and is mainly accompanied by oil, not butter.
Visa Requirements for Americans in Italy
A long stay visa (type D) is required of anyone traveling to Italy and planning to stay for longer than 90 days. This is also the initial visa one would obtain if traveling to Italy to work, with this reason clearly indicated on the application form. When applying for the long stay visa, a teacher will need to submit the following documentation in person at an Italian consulate. (As visa guidelines can change without notice, applicants should confirm these requirements with their local consulate.)
- Completed visa application form
- A passport that will be valid for at least three months after the visa expiration date
- Passport-sized photo
- Proof of residency in the jurisdiction of the consulate
- Visa application fees
A residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) is required of those staying in Italy longer than 90 days. Within eight days of arrival in the country, the ESL teacher must report to the local police station in the town of residence and apply for the necessary permit.
Americans wanting to teach English in Italy may qualify for a work permit under two sub-categories: self-employment (lavoro autonomo) or employment by another company (lavoro subordinato). Teachers should note that there is a yearly quota on the number of self-employment permits granted and specific application periods that must be followed.
It is very difficult for a non-EU citizen to secure a position through an Italian employer as the employer must prove that the employee is an expert in their field and that they are not taking the position away from a qualified EU citizen. Most employers are not willing to go through the extensive paperwork in order to submit a work permit (permesso di lavoro) application. The process is also very lengthy as it takes time to send the application forms to the necessary bureaus in Italy and then back to the Italian consulate in the teacher's home jurisdiction.
To learn more about the visa/permit requirements for Italy, visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visa page at http://www.esteri.it/mae/en/.
Embassy and Consulate Information
American Embassy and Consulate Offices in Italy
United States Embassy in Rome
via Vittorio Veneto, 121
00187 Roma, Italy
Phone: 39 06 46741
Consulate General of the United States in Milan
via Principe Amedeo 2/10
20121 Milano, Italy
Phone: 39 02 2903 51
Consulate General of the United States in Florence
Lungarno Vespucci, 38
50123 Firenze, Italy
Phone: 39 055 266 951
Consulate General of the United States in Naples
Piazza della Repubblica
80122 Napoli, Italy
Phone: 39 081 583 8111
Consular Agency in Genoa
via Dante 2
16121 Genova, Italy
Phone: 39 010 584 492
Fax: 39 010 5533 033
Consular Agency in Palermo
via Vaccarini, 1
90143 Palermo, Italy
Phone: 39 091 305 857
Fax: 39 091 625 6026
Consular Agency in Venice
Venice Marco Polo Airport - General Aviation Terminal
viale Galileo Galilei, 30
30030 Tessera (VE)
Phone: 39 041 541 5944
Fax: 39 041 541 6654
Canadian Embassy and Consulate Offices in Italy
Embassy of Canada in Rome
Via Zara 30
00198 Rome, Italy
Phone: 39 06 85444 1
Consulate of Canada in Milan
Paizza Cavour 3
Phone: 39 02 6269 4238
Fax: 39 02 2901 3600
Hours of Operation: Monday to Tursday 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
British Embassy and Consulate Offices in Italy
British Embassy in Rome
Via XX Settembre 80a
I-00187 Roma RM
Phone: 39 06 4220 0001
Fax: 39 06 4220 2333
Hours of Operation: Monday to friday 9:00am - 12:00pm and 2:00pm - 3:00pm
British Consulate in Milan
Via S. Paolo, 7
20121 Milano MI
Phone: 39 02 723 001
Fax: 39 02 864 65081
Hours of Operation: Monday to friday 9:30am - 12:30pm and 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Australian Embassy and Consulate Offices in Italy
Australian Embassy in Rome
Via Antonio Bosio 5
00161 Rome, Italy
Phone: 39 06 8527 21
Fax: 39 06 8527 2300
Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm
Australian Consulate General in Milan
Via Borgogna, 2 (3rd floor)
20122 Milan, Italy
Phone: 39 02 776 741
Fax: 39 02 7767 4242
Honorary Consul in the Veneto Region
Via Brandolini, 29
31030 Cison di Valmarino, Italy
Phone: 39 04 389 761/ 39 0438 976 417
Fax: 39 0438 976000
Embassy and Consulate Information Outside Italy
Embassy of Italy in Washington DC
3000 Whitehaven Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 612 4400
Fax: (202) 518 2154
Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honorary consulates offer a limited range of services. A full list of Italian consulates in the United States can be found at:http://www.ambwashingtondc.esteri.it/Ambasciata_Washington/Menu/Informazioni_e_servizi/La_rete_consolare/
Embassy of Italy in Ottawa
275 Slater Street, 21st Floor
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H9
Phone: (613) 232 2401
Fax: (613) 233 1484
Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday 9:00am - 12:00pm and Wednesday 2:00pm - 4:00pm
Consulate general offices are located in major cities and offer full services including consular services. Honorary consulates offer a limited range of services. A full list of Italian consulates in Canada can be found at:http://www.ambottawa.esteri.it/Ambasciata_Ottawa/Menu/Ambasciata/La_rete_consolare/