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Dues, Clinic, and Testing Costs for PSIA Level III

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am curious what are the typical/average cost of getting certified to PSIA Level III?

Cost of PSIA dues, clinics, and certification tests. I am not including the cost of skis, boot, clothes etc.

Sombody told me they thought it would cost a few thousand dollars to get from newbie all the way to PSIA Level III. That would be a lot for $10 - $20 per hour wages.

Next question is it worth it?
post #2 of 8
Ball park PSIA - W

Depending on your skill level going in and understanding it would take at least 3 years. Part timers usually take 7-10+.

At a bare minimum

Dues 75.00 per year, Clinics and exams. L1, figure about 150.
L2 figure on around 350
L3 figure also on around 350.

You will also need to factor in travel to exams and lodging.

Depending on the division, Clinics may be separate from Exams and may be required the division. PSIA W no longer requires the a prep portion for the L2 and L3. You do however have to pass the Skiing portion before going on to the written and teaching portion.

If you are going to have a chance at passing the exams plan on spending all of your free/non teach time skiing Take every clinic you can afford to get into. Find a mentor to work with you.. And don't expect to breeze through. My first attempt at L3, at the end of the prep clinic, we asked our Clinician "are we even in the ball park". My heart almost sank as he went around the group and gave us honest assesments of our skiing/teaching. He basicly said a "most full timers take 5-7 years to go from new instructor to L3 if they really work at it. Part timers generally need to do a few years of full time teaching to get there and figure on 10 years. Part timers that don't ever do a few seasons of full time teaching rarely achieve their L3"

Is it worth it?

I don't know, I'm not quite there yet.

But the journey has been very well worth it. You are not going to get rich as an instructor but if you enjoy the sport and really want to share it with others, there are other rewards worth a great deal more than the money.

The smile on a Child's face when they "Get it" regardless of how simple the task was will make you forget all the rest.

post #3 of 8
PSIA-E dues are $95/year. Once you are certified, the minimum number days of PSIA clinics will cost you roughly $100/season in fees. Add $100 minimum per season for clinic travel expenses. Figure $100 for the level 1 exam and $250 each for the 2 and 3 exams plus another $500 for travel expenses. Throw in another $600 (fees+expenses) to have enough prep clinics to actually have a shot at passing each exam. If you did it in 3 seasons, the minimum cost would be about $1500. Very few people pass with the minimum cost spent. Many people have spent 10 years and over $10,000.

If you work full time for 35 hours per week for a 16 week season, that's 560 hours/season. Out West, you could make up to $5 more per hour for a level 3 cert. My bet is that most 3 years of experience Level 3's would do well at a $2/hour difference. So maybe you could make it back in 2 seasons. But the odds are heavy against it.

My rule of thumb is to answer NO to anyone who asks this question because the intangibles are really what makes level III certification worthwhile. If you teach part time, you generally spend money to teach. If you're going to teach full time as a career and want to have some pride in the work you do, getting certified is ONE way you can grow yourself into the best instructor you can be. If you're going to teach full time and really need to do the math to see if certification is a worthwhile investment just because full time ski pros are usually dirt poor, then it's going to boil down to how much work you are going to put into the effort, what the pay scales are where you work, how much you can minimize expenses, how fast you can pass, how long you plan to teach, etc. It is most certainly possible for certification to make financial sense for career ski pros. Certification can open doors for you. Nonetheless, when the FIRST question is "Is it worth it (financially)?", that's the clue that the answer is going to be no. When you first ask the other questions about what happens to your teaching and the other things that certification lead to, THEN check finances, then there's a chance your worth it answer will be yes.

I teach part time. It's not likely that I'll teach full time until I can retire from my day job. I will never recoup my PSIA expenses in higher wages. But a level 3 cert would still be doubly worth it to me in the value of the improvement to my skiing and the value of the improvement to my teaching. I don't mind paying to see people smile as a result of what I teach them. My objective is to get more people to love the sport more. I intend to pay more in order to get better at this. And yes, I am completely and totally nuts. Skiing can do that to people. Crazy people don't ever have to ask "Is it worth it?".
post #4 of 8
Depends on what your definition of "worth it" is. Money wise, probably not. Satisfaction and sense of accomplishment? I'd say so.
Bob Aliva, one of the best examiners I've met, said "it's the closest thing we have in the States to a college degree in skiing".
I noticed that the people who used to scoff at me suddenly were interested in what I had to say.(even though it was the same thing I said before I had "the pin")
One of the Central Ed Staff, that I used to coach with, said "how's it feel to be in the good old boys club?" when I mentioned that.
Bottom line, it's a never ending journey. Level III is just a bump in the road, not the destination.
post #5 of 8

Is Level III like a college teaching degree?

I know a few people who were smart enough to attend college, but instead answered the door when opportunity knocked. One of them retired at age 40. College was not worth it for him. Most later regretted the long term loss for the short term gain they got. Some worked hard to get their degree before the lack of it caught up with them.

Before college I was under the impression that college was where you learned stuff that you would actually use in the real world. After college I realized that all they really did was force you to teach yourself how to learn efficiently. After graduation I was a good enough learner that someone was willing to pay me to learn instead of the other way around.
Except after college, I'm still paying to learn via the trade journals that I read and the books that I buy, etc. I'm especially paying via the TIME I spend off the job to get better at my job.

When I was in high school, going to college was just something everyone did as long as they were able to. When I started teaching, the vast majority of the people who were good at teaching were PSIA members. Joining PSIA and getting certified was just something you did as long as you were able to and planning to stick around for a while.

I guess Level III is a lot like going to college on a coop program or going to college part time after work. It takes a lot of time and money, but at the end of the process you are lot more capable of doing your job than when you started. Comparing a college graduate to a high school graduate is a lot like comparing a Level III to a rookie pro.
post #6 of 8

Financially? You've got to be kidding!

Originally Posted by SLATZ
Level III is just a bump in the road, not the destination
If you're interested in money, don't go into ski instruction.

If you're interested in skiing, L3 means that you've just begun to understand skiing enough to really start to learn to ski.

Go play!
post #7 of 8
you're interested in money, don't go into ski instruction.

If you're interested in skiing, L3 means that you've just begun to understand skiing enough to really start to learn to ski.
Well put, jhcooley. A few thousand dollars is over the course of 3 to 5+ years to get to the point of passing LIII is probably accurate. In many cases, it takes more than 5 years to get there. Where else (in America)would you get the educational background in skiing to get to that level of instructor. I've found that the clinics available from PSIA are well worth the money and time spent. As implied in this thread above, it's the journey and not the destination that is of real value.

Once you achieve LIII, you have the credibility to make a difference in your ski school. You may become a staff trainer, clinician, or possibly someone that redefines how the lessons are taught. This will not make any more money for you, but there is satisfaction that you are a valuable and looked-up to member of the staff.

LIII is not a goal, but a starting point as a ski professional.

post #8 of 8
Excellent posts---on "worth".
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