I don't even know if it is possible to get certified without already having a job. I know at our mountain we hire between 20-30 new instructors every year. We train them in our beginner and day 2 and 3 progressions and other appropriate knowledge and skills and then they go to work over the holiday. We encourage our instructors to get certified but usually we are doing good if we get 8-10 out of 20-30 to go for level 1. We give small pay raises at level 1 & 2, and a $2 dollar raise at level III. We offer multiple clinics every week and work one on one with anyone who is interested, but sadly, many just don't see the return on time and money to stick with certification.
In recent years we have seen many of our full certs leave after they get their 3 to places where they can make better money. This is a new challenge and I understand that our director is having conversations with top management on how to get better retention.
We log tens of thousands of training hours in our SS, but sadly many who should be coming regularly can't because of scheduling conflicts or just don't put in the effort. Mandatory clinics require pay, and at this time we just don't have the managerial will to support this.
Does PSIA influence how and what we teach? Certainly, in that all of our Bridger training staff are level III certified, with many of us having served as division Clinicians and or Examiners at some point in our careers. We train at the division level every fall and train as a group all year long. Our fall training always has at least one day spent training with a visiting D-team member, and another day spent with a top division examiner for another day. It is through us, our SS training staff that our rank and file instructors get exposed to the latest psia concepts and evolution of the skills concepts and it is our responsibility to control and improve the quality of the products we offer.. We take this task very seriously and strive to be the best at what we do.
Our training staff doesn't get paid for our own training, we only get paid when we are conducting scheduled clinics for our staff. I know that I personally put in hundreds of training hours every year with no gain other than the personal development and growth. It also shows my director that I am dedicated and serious about staying current and am valuable to our SS.
My guess that this situation is typical of many areas that have a budget to have a training staff. The bottom line is that our SS training staff is most responsible for the product our instructors put out. Even with a dedicated training staff, there are many instructors on our staff who don't utilize the training resources we make available to them. We do everything within our sphere of influence to keep our product current and the best it can be. Paying our instructors would improve our training participation, and there are some areas that do this. We don't. There are also many areas that have little to no real training program. Yet all of them can simply pay SS dues to psia and put up a psia plaque. There is no skin in the game for any SS to perform better as there is no credible standard to hold them to or any competition. I know in our division psia and the area management committee, works hard to positively influence SS in our division, but this is a tough row to hoe.
So, as many should be able to see, blaming psia for our on snow product and the teaching and skiing ability of our staff is off target. I recognize that psia has it problems but the conversation should really be about upping the accountability of snowsports schools, and developing greater respect for the snowsports profession.