How Much Can You Make Teaching English in Italy?
While most teachers don’t move to Italy with the intention of saving buckets of money, teaching English in Italy will usually provide you with a salary to live comfortably. Salaries will vary depending on the employer and location. In general, Northern cities like Rome and Milan will pay more but the cost of living in the South will be lower.
On average, a teacher will earn between €1000 and €1500 a month.
Different salaries by school
Public schools tend to pay higher salaries with the added bonus of fewer teaching hours. Sounds good, right? Unless you have a pretty decent grasp of the Italian language, you are unlikely to get a job in a public school. Teachers are also typically required to have teaching experience as well. If you do meet the requirements for teaching English in a public school, it is well worth applying.
Private Language schools
The majority of English teachers will find work in private language schools, where the availability of jobs is widespread. These schools do require teachers to be TEFL qualified but don’t require them to have experience.
Teachers are typically paid by the hour and work between 20 and 30 hours a week spread across a varied work schedule, including evenings, weekends and split shifts.
Type of school
€1400 – €1600
$1600 – $1800
Private Language School
€800 – €1200
$900 – $1400
For more information on the requirements needed to teach English in different schools in Italy, check out our section on teaching in Italy requirements.
How you can increase your salary
Having a TEFL qualification will not only make you more employable, but it will also increase your salary. If you’re considering getting certified you’ll have much more luck (and selection) doing a course online or in your home country. Trying to get work without a TEFL qualification will prove challenging and you will find yourself likely to earn substantially less.
If you have teaching experience and a TEFL, you’ll find yourself at the upper end of the pay scale. While teaching experience isn’t an essential requirement, it’s certainly a useful thing to have under your belt. If you have the opportunity to get some teaching hours in before arriving in Italy, it is definitely worth doing. Also, public schools will typically only employ teachers with experience whereas it matters less with private schools.
Speaking Italian will give you an advantage on other English teachers, especially when it comes to public schools who often require it. For other schools, it’s not an essential requirement, but it will make you stand out from the crowd and command a higher salary.
Many English teachers in Italy supplement their income through private tutoring. While it may appear a challenge to recruit students, demand for private lessons is high and it offers an excellent means to increase your earnings. The average rate per hour is around €20, with some experienced teachers charging up to €30. Most teachers advertise in local newspapers or post flyers to find students.
If you’re willing to work nights and weekends you will earn more money as there is more demand from students who work during those time periods.
ITTT FAQs video sums up how much you can earn as an English teacher in Italy pretty well.
The biggest perk of teaching English in Italy is the fact that you are in Italy! However, it’s also a downside as very few contracts include perks like paid airfare as many individuals are willing to come to Italy regardless.
Accommodation is usually not included either, but some schools will offer assistance in finding housing. Our section on cost of living in Italy has more information on finding accommodation.
In terms of insurance, if you stay in Italy for longer than 3 months, you need to apply for residency (see our section on visa requirements). This will allow you to register with the National Health Services (SSN – Servizio Sanitario Nazionale) which provides low-cost health care to everyone registered. It is worth checking the documentation you need for this. You will need health insurance to cover you until you have registered with the SSN.
Most foreign teachers do tend to find private health insurance more desirable, despite the higher costs. It’s recommended that this is obtained prior to moving to Italy. If you are an EU citizen, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will give you access to the necessary state-provided healthcare at a reduced cost until you apply for residency and the SSN. You will need to check what the EHIC covers and you need to make sure you have applied for your EHIC before arriving in Italy.
If you want to learn more, this Expat Arrivals article is pretty comprehensive when it comes to healthcare in Italy and the SSN.
Cost of living and saving money
Most English teachers don’t come to Italy in order to save lots of money, although some manage to save a small amount of their income each month. In general, cities are more expensive than rural areas, and the North is more expensive than the South. As mentioned earlier, job opportunities are more widely available and typically better paid in the North, especially in cities like Rome and Milan.
The biggest expense for English teachers in Italy is accommodation. If you want to live on your own in the centre of somewhere like Rome, for example, you could be looking at over €800 ($900) a month. Many teachers choose to live in shared accommodation with either other teachers/colleagues or with people they have found through flatshare websites in order to help reduce costs. The outskirts of cities will be cheaper, as will living in the South. On average, you are looking at about €260 – €600 ($300 to $700) a month for a room.
Easy Stanza is a good website for finding shared accommodation in Italy.
Food and going out
Shopping locally and eating ‘Italian” will reduce the cost of food. Most Italians tend to buy fresh produce on a daily basis, whether from markets or local supermarkets, and as such, fridges and freezers tend to be small which rules out buying in bulk to save money.
If you find yourself in the more popular ‘tourist’ areas, you will find your night out will be rather costly! On average, eating out at an inexpensive restaurant will cost you about €15 ($17) and a local beer €4.5 ($5.10).
Let’s look at some average figures for the cost of living in Italy, compliments of Numbeo:
Milk (regular) 1 litre
Loaf of fresh white bread
One way ticket (local transport)
Want to know how much Euros are worth? Check out XE’s currency converter.
While teaching English in Italy probably won’t make you rich, many teachers find that they are able to live a pretty comfortable lifestyle. The demand for teachers is high, and although it can be competitive, jobs are readily available. Various factors will influence your income and cost of living, so it’s worth doing the research before venturing out. It’s also important to note that a good number of teachers get their jobs once they have arrived in Italy, so it is worth bringing some money to tie you over until the first paycheck. You may not leave Italy a millionaire, but you will have spent time living in a country full of rich culture, fantastic food and excellent weather!