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New instructor - PSIA vs CSIA vs BASI [Australian]

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

'Sup everyone,

 

Looking to get a level 1 ski instructing qualification (haven't instructed or done a course before) over the northern hemisphere winter. I don't want something really long, around 3-4 weeks would be ideal.

 

It's hard to find information on how the Canadian, American and British certification systems compare - which would you recommend for a new instructor, taking into account international employability and the types of skiing each allows you to instruct? Are there any specific providers that stand out for training and assessment?

 

Working a season up at Mount Hotham, Australia, this year - looking forward to really fine-tuning my skiing ability.

 

Cheers,

RiptoRises

post #2 of 14
Having looked into this from the reverse perspective (training in the southern winter) level2 certification seems to transfer internationally, but level 1 won't.

I suggest CSIA for ease of visa and proximity to the entirety of Australia's 19-24 year olds at Whistler wink.gif
post #3 of 14

I think the CSIA level 1 takes 3 days not 3-4 weeks. And yes you would need a CSIA level 2 before anyone outside of Canada is interested in hiring you.

 

Based on the large number of Aussies that work at resorts in Canada vs the small number in the US I would guess it is a lot easier to find work for an Aussie in Canada. It helps that if you are from OZ and under 32 years Canada will grant you a visa good for 2 years and renewable that allows you to work or travel as much or as little as you want.

post #4 of 14

I take it you mean you want to do a training course before the exam? No level 1 exam I have heard of takes 3 weeks. If you are doing a season in Aus, why not do APSI qualifications? 

 

If you are set on doing a training course, which system you do depends on where you want to work, and how long you want to be an instructor. If you want to work in Europe, and make instructing your career, BASI is the choice, but it is expensive, and takes a long time. If you just want to do a season or 2, CSIA is your best bet, as it's easy to get a visa there (assuming you are under 30 and from Aus). PSIA is only good if you are from the US because visas into the US are hard to get, and the qualification doesn't mean much in Europe. 

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magi View Post

Having looked into this from the reverse perspective (training in the southern winter) level2 certification seems to transfer internationally, but level 1 won't.

I suggest CSIA for ease of visa and proximity to the entirety of Australia's 19-24 year olds at Whistler wink.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

I think the CSIA level 1 takes 3 days not 3-4 weeks. And yes you would need a CSIA level 2 before anyone outside of Canada is interested in hiring you.

 

Based on the large number of Aussies that work at resorts in Canada vs the small number in the US I would guess it is a lot easier to find work for an Aussie in Canada. It helps that if you are from OZ and under 32 years Canada will grant you a visa good for 2 years and renewable that allows you to work or travel as much or as little as you want.

Good to know, thanks! Seems like CSIA might be the way to go if I had to choose. I guess I'll need to look for some level two courses as well - it's frustrating that there isn't just an international, or at least continental, standard for instructor training!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim. View Post
 

I take it you mean you want to do a training course before the exam? No level 1 exam I have heard of takes 3 weeks. If you are doing a season in Aus, why not do APSI qualifications? 

 

If you are set on doing a training course, which system you do depends on where you want to work, and how long you want to be an instructor. If you want to work in Europe, and make instructing your career, BASI is the choice, but it is expensive, and takes a long time. If you just want to do a season or 2, CSIA is your best bet, as it's easy to get a visa there (assuming you are under 30 and from Aus). PSIA is only good if you are from the US because visas into the US are hard to get, and the qualification doesn't mean much in Europe. 

Oh, OK. I guess I've been looking at training courses for exam prep, focusing on PSIA. Looking up CSIA instead yields 3-day exams like you suggested: http://www.snowproab.com/skipro/level1dates.html (presumably this will update with this year's dates).

 

After some Googling, I found out that there's a three-day APSI level 1 course and exam near the end of the Hotham season, for $880, which I didn't know about! Doing that while on-mountain could be an awesome option: http://www.apsi.net.au/media/5001/alpine_pdf.pdf . Is APSI (presumably level 2) accepted in Canada/the US?

 

Also interesting information regarding employability; I'm certainly not dismissing the idea of making instructing into a career, so perhaps BASI would be worth investigating. Maybe I should start by getting CSIA or APSI, and consider upgrading if I love it enough that I want to work seasons in Europe.

 

Thanks all, any more information is appreciated. In your experience, is it worth spending the extra money to do a couple of weeks of pre-exam training?

 

Cheers,

RiptoRises

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiptoRises View Post
 

Good to know, thanks! Seems like CSIA might be the way to go if I had to choose. I guess I'll need to look for some level two courses as well - it's frustrating that there isn't just an international, or at least continental, standard for instructor training!

 

Oh, OK. I guess I've been looking at training courses for exam prep, focusing on PSIA. Looking up CSIA instead yields 3-day exams like you suggested: http://www.snowproab.com/skipro/level1dates.html (presumably this will update with this year's dates).

 

After some Googling, I found out that there's a three-day APSI level 1 course and exam near the end of the Hotham season, for $880, which I didn't know about! Doing that while on-mountain could be an awesome option: http://www.apsi.net.au/media/5001/alpine_pdf.pdf . Is APSI (presumably level 2) accepted in Canada/the US?

 

Also interesting information regarding employability; I'm certainly not dismissing the idea of making instructing into a career, so perhaps BASI would be worth investigating. Maybe I should start by getting CSIA or APSI, and consider upgrading if I love it enough that I want to work seasons in Europe.

 

Thanks all, any more information is appreciated. In your experience, is it worth spending the extra money to do a couple of weeks of pre-exam training?

 

Cheers,

RiptoRises

APSI is pretty well respected worldwide, but if you want to switch to BASI, you will typically have to redo the level you are at or maybe the one below that, so if Europe is your goal, you should probably start with that. Visas make it difficult as well though, are you Aussie? CSIA is a good option, only problem is that the pay there is low compared to almost everywhere else. 

 

If you're already doing a season you shouldn't need to do a training course, but it might help anyway if you want to do more than a few seasons instructing. I did a 6 week course for my L1 and 2 (NZ), but then I had barely skied before, so it was necessary. Going straight to level 2 can make the job a lot more fun as well, having L2 means you generally won't teach as much beginner classes/young kids. 


Edited by Jim. - 5/18/14 at 2:46am
post #7 of 14

What are you doing up at Hotham?  They have a rookie instructor intake at the start of each season, it's a 3 day selection and any dedicated and intermediate to advanced skier will get selected.  Then you work for the ski school teaching snow plows all season, and they you can go for your level 1 APSI. Even without a qualification, the pay is much better than a Level 3 in Canada, but then again you can't beat the Canadian snow.

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by jthski View Post
 

What are you doing up at Hotham?  They have a rookie instructor intake at the start of each season, it's a 3 day selection and any dedicated and intermediate to advanced skier will get selected.  Then you work for the ski school teaching snow plows all season, and they you can go for your level 1 APSI. Even without a qualification, the pay is much better than a Level 3 in Canada, but then again you can't beat the Canadian snow.

 

At Buller we paid our non certs $19 an hour with level 1 going to $21 and level 2 at $23 with the possibility of getting at most 7 hours a day, and most non certs managing usually only 2-4 hours as work went to the more senior instructor...

Then cost of living in Aus is a lot higher (minimum wage being $19 as well.)

Add in the 29% tax for all foreign workers and that wage takes a fair hit....

My school pays CSIA level 3's a standard $156 a day wage, based on a 5 hour teaching day...plus commission starting at 10% which goes through certain thresholds, finishing at 40%...which was unavailable at Buller.. and a mere 15% tax...with minimum wage being only $9 an hour...

I would say the pay for a Level 3 in Canada is much better than being non cert 

post #9 of 14
And I'm sure many in PSIA land make much less at L3.... Sadly. If more people had better lessons from higher certs, more would take lessons and more instructors would be motivated to improve their craft. Anyhow, sorry for the high jack.
post #10 of 14

I was thinking the same thing.  

post #11 of 14

From what I've heard, the pay at Hotham is some of the best around. They have a system similar to Aspen where your pay increases depending on the hours that you work, so by the end of the season an uncertified instructor can be making a very decent wage. I'm not sure how it compares to Canadian rates, but I bet it's favourable. 

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by rollo87 View Post
 

 

At Buller we paid our non certs $19 an hour with level 1 going to $21 and level 2 at $23 with the possibility of getting at most 7 hours a day, and most non certs managing usually only 2-4 hours as work went to the more senior instructor...

Then cost of living in Aus is a lot higher (minimum wage being $19 as well.)

Add in the 29% tax for all foreign workers and that wage takes a fair hit....

My school pays CSIA level 3's a standard $156 a day wage, based on a 5 hour teaching day...plus commission starting at 10% which goes through certain thresholds, finishing at 40%...which was unavailable at Buller.. and a mere 15% tax...with minimum wage being only $9 an hour...

I would say the pay for a Level 3 in Canada is much better than being non cert 


Wow $32 an hour is definitely good pay and I would think on the higher end compared to most Canadian mountains, but then again how much would a level 1 or no cert get paid?

 

Hotham is good because the more hours you work the higher your wage is at the end of the season. If you put the hours in you can make good money. 

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jthski View Post
 

What are you doing up at Hotham?  They have a rookie instructor intake at the start of each season, it's a 3 day selection and any dedicated and intermediate to advanced skier will get selected.  Then you work for the ski school teaching snow plows all season, and they you can go for your level 1 APSI. Even without a qualification, the pay is much better than a Level 3 in Canada, but then again you can't beat the Canadian snow.

Cool, I didn't realise the skills clinic was for non-certs. I'm working in tickets this season (don't have enough experience to go straight into instructing), so now I have to decide whether to get my APSI 1 at the end of the season from my own pocket, or go for the skills clinic at the start of next season as a non-cert - which do think would give me a greater chance of securing an instructing position? Would a mountain be inclined to employ an APSI 1 without any experience, if I'd already worked for them for a season in another department?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim. View Post
 

APSI is pretty well respected worldwide, but if you want to switch to BASI, you will typically have to redo the level you are at or maybe the one below that, so if Europe is your goal, you should probably start with that. Visas make it difficult as well though, are you Aussie? CSIA is a good option, only problem is that the pay there is low compared to almost everywhere else. 

 

If you're already doing a season you shouldn't need to do a training course, but it might help anyway if you want to do more than a few seasons instructing. I did a 6 week course for my L1 and 2 (NZ), but then I had barely skied before, so it was necessary. Going straight to level 2 can make the job a lot more fun as well, having L2 means you generally won't teach as much beginner classes/young kids. 

Interesting point - it will depend where I am over the northern winter, so maybe getting CSIA or BASI makes sense. Not sure, but I plan to get a few levels and seasons under my belt so entry-level pay differences aren't that important.

 

I thought that European visas weren't usually a problem - I'm an Aussie, and working visas are fairly easy to get for a range of countries. I assume that's what you'd use if instructing overseas.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by RiptoRises View Post
 

Cool, I didn't realise the skills clinic was for non-certs. I'm working in tickets this season (don't have enough experience to go straight into instructing), so now I have to decide whether to get my APSI 1 at the end of the season from my own pocket, or go for the skills clinic at the start of next season as a non-cert - which do think would give me a greater chance of securing an instructing position? Would a mountain be inclined to employ an APSI 1 without any experience, if I'd already worked for them for a season in another department?

 

Interesting point - it will depend where I am over the northern winter, so maybe getting CSIA or BASI makes sense. Not sure, but I plan to get a few levels and seasons under my belt so entry-level pay differences aren't that important.

 

I thought that European visas weren't usually a problem - I'm an Aussie, and working visas are fairly easy to get for a range of countries. I assume that's what you'd use if instructing overseas.

 

That's the point of the skill's clinic, you don't need experience otherwise they'd hire you as a cert instructor.  As long as you are an intermediate to advanced skier who can do a snow plow, who has a nice smile and some wits about you, you are good to go.  Either way you will need to do the hiring clinics if you have no cert.  Hotham makes CSIA 2 without much experience still do the skills clinics, unless you have a connection.  Your only chance without experience is via the hiring clinics, they are a bit picky in Aus.

 

If you are up North, do CSIA, 1 and 2 are doable in a season, it makes a huge difference if you get a ski school job though as you get free training to help you get better.  If you work outside of ski school, most resorts offer their staff free group lessons, so get on that.

 

In regards to Europe, if you can speak a European language then you have an advantage esp. German, Russian, Italian etc.  If you can't stick with Canada.

 

Have fun!  I hope the snow is good in OZ this year!

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