A recent thread got me thinking about certifications and what they mean in the real world verses what they are perceived to mean in the ski world. Perhaps the best way to describe Certification and the training that goes along with each level of certification is to first give a brief overview of what each certification means. Mind you I am going to use a PSIA RM framework and other divisions and national organizations may be slightly different. I would invite Bob and others who write the test content, establish the performance criteria and define the grading curve for each level to share their insights as well. I also want to limit this thread to basic cert levels, at least at first. I understand that Trainer Accred through examiner tests exist as CEC's in our system, I would assume most folks training for those accredidations should already know what that next step involves. Maybe not but at least at first I am hoping to help those going through the cert process understand what that involves and what they can expect to accomplish along that learning path. That disclaimer being given here are the first three basic levels.
- As a newbie joining PSIA gets you a registered status and after about 25 hours of teaching and earning some educational credits you can apply for the level 1 test. This certification deals mainly with lower level teaching skills but involves the candidate demonstrating some basic maneuvers at a relatively low performance level. In other words you can do the maneuvers and show you understand the skill pool enough to do a reasonable demo. In the end it certifies you are capable and qualified to teach through level 4 (basic wedge christies). So for a new instructor working in the beginner corral it doesn't change your job duties all that much but it opens the door to the next level of certification and the chance to teach lower intermediate levels.
- As a Cert 2 you have another teaching requirement of about 25 hours and you must earn even more educational credits. Again it's not a lot of time and educational credits but on the free skiing side you must perform at a higher level and show more precise demos. You also need to communicate a deeper understanding of each skill pool and how those skills are expressed (featured) in each reference maneuver. For a new cert 2 you are now certified to have the skills needed to teach through the basic parallel stage as well as all levels below that. It's in this lower end that I see most coaches fail to work on the accuracy of those low end maneuvers as they prepare for that test. Bob is famous for pointing out the connection between those basic maneuvers and the higher end maneuvers.
- At level 3 you should be strong and accurate in your performance. Your understanding of how the skills are expressed and how a variety of interdependent skills are present in every turn. You also should have the ability to use one activity to teach multiple levels simultaneously and one activity to feature multiple skills focuses. On the real world side you can teach all but the most extreme lessons easily and confidently. Although that doesn't imply you will not be working in the beginer corral, it actually means you are even better at working there. On a free skiing and demo side you can be very accurate and adjust your demos to suit the student. if they are a level 7 your skiing demos are relative to that level, not a chance to show off.
That's a brief summary and by no means a complete and detailed description but I hope it's a conversation starter that will help our candidates understand each level as a milestone in their teaching career and day to day qualifications.