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Become an Italian Language Teacher: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Italian language teachers are in charge of developing lesson plans, grading homework and training students in both Italian language and culture. These foreign language teachers usually need education commensurate to the academic level they intend to teach.

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Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Typically, the minimum amount of education an Italian high school teacher needs is a 4-year degree. Students majoring in Italian studies must become proficient in the language. They need to be able to read, write and comprehend informal and formal Italian verbal and written communication. Additionally, students often learn about the unique culture of Italy, including the art, literature and history of the country.

Students might also consider participating in college programs and organizations, like an Italian club, school trips, summer programs in Italy or international study abroad programs. Extracurricular affiliations can be beneficial to students who wish to immerse themselves in the culture and language of Italy as well as help students improve their language proficiency.

Step 2: Obtain Teaching Experience

In addition to earning a degree in Italian, aspiring public school teachers need to complete a teacher education program. Some schools include this as an add-on program that can be taken in conjunction with or immediately following completion of the Italian major. Teacher education programs usually take a year or less and often include practical experience components that give students a chance to observe and participate in lesson planning, instruction and administrative duties they'll encounter in their own classrooms. Additionally, graduates can obtain experience by substitute teaching for local high schools.

Step 3: Become Licensed

All states require public high school teachers to be licensed. Eligibility criteria varies by state, but most require at least a bachelor's degree, teacher education and practical experience. After meeting academic requirements, individuals generally need to pass a series of tests that include teaching practices as well as topics within the subject they'll be teaching. Many states use the PRAXIS exams, though some issue and administer their own exams. To maintain a license, teachers could need to complete continuing education.

High school teachers earned a median salary of $55,050 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports employment prospects for teachers at this level should increase by seven percent between 2010 and 2020. Individual state budgets have an impact on the number of teachers hired. Job availability and salary expectations can vary based on location and the subject taught.

Step 4: Consider a Graduate Degree

Community colleges could hire Italian language teachers who have earned a master's degree. Programs, such as a Master of Art in Italian Studies, can provide courses in Italian literature, language, art and culture. Study abroad opportunities are also available at the graduate level and could involve affiliated Italian universities. Students that have no prior teaching experience can also find Master of Education programs that infuse Italian studies with teacher training.

Universities might also accept a master's degree for foreign language teachers, though a doctoral degree is a more common requirement. Doctoral programs in Italian studies can take 3-7 years to complete. Students must be fluent in Italian, though some schools could require proficiency in at least one other foreign language. At the doctoral level, students engage in research of Italian history, literature, art, culture and various other topics. Though teaching assistantships might be a requirement at some schools, all students interested in a teaching career should apply for these experience opportunities.

Individuals teaching at the postsecondary level are likely to see a 17% rise in demand over the 2010-2020 decade, based on the BLS' figures. The median salary for foreign language and literature teachers at postsecondary institutions was $58,670 as of 2012, as shown by data from the BLS.

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