Wow! You've asked a lot of questions! I'll do my best to answer them, although I am not sure how enlightening my responses will be!
agreeable wrote:What is the difference between Celta, TESL and TESOL? I was told the Cambridge Celta has the most respected reputation.
CELTA is the brand name of a specific certificate whereas TEFL, TESL and TESOL are simply acronyms used to describe the industry.
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) is used to talk about teaching English in countries where English is not the primary language; TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) is used to talk about teaching English in countries where English is the primary language, and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) is used in both cases.
agreeable wrote:How long does CELTA certification last and would I need to take refresher courses to keep certification valid between work assignments?
Once you have the CELTA, you have it for life, although if you didn't use it for 20 years, employers might expect you to take some sort of refresher course. While the certification lasts forever, investing in professional development is never a bad thing. When you have around three years' full-time experience, you might consider doing the DELTA.
The answers to the rest of your questions are not so clear cut. What benefits you get will be country-, region- or even employer-specific, e.g., Asian employers frequently reimburse airfares, while European ones almost never do.
Talking of Europe, assuming you only have an American passport, Italy (and the rest of Western Europe) is pretty much a no-go. Eastern Europe is a whole other ball game, although jobs tend not to be found from abroad. You really need to be on the ground handing out CVs at the right time. As a non-EU citizen you would enter the region on a Schengen visa, which is essentially a tourist visa that gives you 90 days in the entire Schengen area. Failure to convert your visa into a valid work visa in those 90 days (or at least to get the process started) means having to leave not just the country you entered but the entire Schengen zone for a further 90 days before being allowed to re-enter. This is why timing is crucial.
agreeable wrote:Hierarchy of the powers to be, conflict management, what to expect of the language centers abroad, and what will be expected of me? And how does one handle grievances after arriving to language centers abroad?
The TEFL industry is pretty much unregulated, thus no two countries, regions or schools, even those within the same chain, are alike. The short answer is that schools vary, employers vary and expectations vary. Lesson-planning, marking and admin duties come as standard, but as a newbie to the market, don't be surprised to be asked to work split-shifts and weekends. You might also have early starts and/or late finishes, and you may have to travel around the city to teach in different locations.
A good school will provide you with a copy of their grievance policy as part of their contract. Working for a chain school, such as International House or similar, gives you somewhere else to go if your grievances are not properly dealt with in-house, although contacting Head Office does not mean your complaints will be listened to!
agreeable wrote:What should be my expectation of standard of living?
Again, the standard of living varies from country to country and even city to city in the same country. Generally speaking, EFL is not that well paid. In South America and Europe, wages tend to be subsistence level, that is, you should have enough to live on in-country, but you are unlikely to be able to save or to travel abroad. If salary is important, you should consider doing a stint in Asia where there is a better salary-to-cost-of-living ratio.
agreeable wrote:Do agreements with employers abroad contain provisions for medical emergency treatments?
I can't speak for South America because I have never taught there, but once you start paying into the pot as it were in Europe, you are entitled to healthcare. However, having your own private health insurance is never going to be a bad thing. Just make sure that whoever you go with covers you for working abroad.
agreeable wrote:Generally speaking are teachers paid by the hour or salary? Does any part of my earning go to retirement or am I solely responsible for retirement investments?
As with almost everything else, whether you are paid a set salary or by the hour depends on your employer. If you are paid a set salary, make sure that you are guaranteed a monthly minimum regardless of hours taught, and that you don't end up 'owing' your employer for the hours they've paid you for but that you never actually taught. If you are paid by the hour, make sure you are guaranteed a minimum number of hours (say 18 or so), so that you can budget. Check also that the contract does not prohibit you from taking on private students.
It is up to you to make provisions for your future, although a teacher’s salary, especially in South America and Eastern Europe barely covers the present, never mind the future!
agreeable wrote:Do agreements with employers abroad contain provisions for airfare and transportation costs?
As I said above, it is very rare for European employers to reimburse airfares or other getting-to-country costs. You might be provided with a local travel card if you have to travel around the city to get to classes, but that's not guaranteed. I suspect that employers in South America don't provide airfare either. It's pretty much standard in Asia though.
agreeable wrote:Living arrangements-do agreements usually come with private studios or is it a normally a dorm setting? I am a lifetime member of Hostels International; but, I am no longer a teenager.
Again, this depends on your contract. Asian employers tend to provide single apartments, often as part of the package. In South America you will almost certainly have to make your own arrangements. With Eastern European employers, you may have to find your own apartment or you may be provided you with a shared apartment, although this usually only happens when the salary is far too low to live on. Caveat emptor!
agreeable wrote:How does one get a teaching job abroad and how does one stay working after completing a job assignment?
For jobs in Asia, you can apply from your home country. The process can take a long time as you may need to get your documents translated and apostilled. Jobs in South America and Europe tend not to be found from abroad. You need to pick a country/region, book a flight and some accommodation and visit schools, CV (resume) in hand. Contracts are usually for 9 months to a year, after which you can renew the contract or move on.
agreeable wrote:What about jobs in the USA?
Being British and too old for a visa, I am ineligible to work in the US and thus I have never researched the market. I suspect that the jobs available are poorly paid, but I don't know for certain.
Hope that helps,