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Can I work as a ski instructor without being qualified?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have skied for many years and am a high standard. I quite want to work in a resort this year as an instructor but am not qualified. Do I need to be qualified to instruct? Do the rules vary by country? Should I try and get a guide job instead?
post #2 of 14
 In the US, many ski areas offer instructor classes, usually for a fee, prior to season opening.  Usually those instructors will be assigned to the kiddie classes.  
post #3 of 14
Piggybacking on sibhusky's comments, in the US there is absolutely no set of rules that I know of that applies across the board.  I'm pretty sure it's entirely up to the individual ski area to set their own policies.  At many ski areas, you could very easily get hired to be a ski instructor with no prior training as long as you can demonstrate to the management of the ski school that you have the basic skills and can communicate those skills to others. Many (most?) ski schools hold tryout camps at the beginning of the season specifically for the purpose of hiring prospective ski instructors.

Also, there's "qualified" and there's "certified".  One can be highly qualified while not having any certification whatever.

The better your skiing skills going into the hiring process, the more likely you would be to pick up the movements and demos expected of you during the tryout camps.  That said, my own experience is that ski school managers are FAR more interested in a prospect who has people skills like communication, empathy, and an outgoing personality than in some hotsh#t skier whose primary interest is either getting a season pass or showing everybody on the hill how great he is. 

You also mention a guide job, but I'm not sure what you mean by that.  In the US, "guide" generally means one of two things.  The first might be someone who does complimentary "show-you-around-the-mountain" tours.  That type of job is often unpaid, with the only compensation being a season pass that would allow you to free-ski during the days and hours you're not on duty.  The second definition of guide would be a backcountry or out-of-bounds guide who is responsible for taking people outside area boundaries and making decisions about snow safety, routes, etc.  This is a paid position but it almost always is a very difficult job to land and involves a great deal of initial and ongoing training, apprentice work, etc.  At most resorts that I'm familiar with, that type of guide position is highly coveted and there's a ton of competition for the exceedingly rare openings.

Good luck with your search.
post #4 of 14
Ontario resorts require current CSIA &/or CSCF accreditation to work instructional programs.  Some areas allow uncertified "Instructors in Training" to assist with programs as long as they are directly supported and supervised by a fully certified instructor.  The requirements for certification are enforced for liability insurance coverage purposes.

All of the BC and Alberta areas that I've been to follow an equivalent policy.  In Quebec some years back, there used to be a number of non-certified pros, but I don't know how common that is today.  There is certainly no shortage of up-to-date CSIA instructors in Quebec, including a high number of Level 3 and Level 4 instructors.

If you want to coach sanctioned race programs (pretty much anything other than a local club race program) in Canada, you must be CSCF accredited and meet annual licence requirements.

CANSI certification is a requirement for Nordic instructors in Ontario.  I don't know how universal CANSI certifcation is in other Canadian provinces.
post #5 of 14
You don't have a location on your profile.  Perhaps if you posted where you are located, you could get some more specified advise.
post #6 of 14
I know of at least one state you could, but you probably wouldn't want to go there - IOWA!  I am assuming by qualified you mean certified.
Edited by MidwestPete - 7/24/2009 at 08:35 pm GMT
post #7 of 14
 Uncertified does not mean unqualified as stated in earlier posts.  I was uncertified when I was hired as were a lot of instructors I know.  New hires are strongly encouraged to get certification at the earliest opportunity  You get an immediate raise and a lot of recognition from your peers when you get the cert.  To my knowledge there has never been a new hire that passed the training clinic that didn't cruise right through PSIA level 1.  I think it would be very embarrassing to be the first.  Uncertified instructors have a very limited career path.  As for guiding...  Like Bob said...  You have a MUCH higher chance of getting an instructor position.
post #8 of 14
Jonno,

Where are you from? Where do you want to teach? How old are you?
post #9 of 14
Yes, you can teach without certification. PSIA does certification in the USA. If you get certified typically you can get paid more and might get priority choice over lessons at your resort. Some resorts do not require certification some do. You will have to look around and see what the resorts around you want. I taught for four years with no certification.

As others said people skills can be more important than skiing skills. If you can work well with people and also teach them you will have very little trouble finding a job.
post #10 of 14
Sure! Lots of ski instructors are totally unqualified,
post #11 of 14
I kind of wonder if perhaps Jonno was trolling.

post #12 of 14
PSIA1 = A couple of days social skiing, a welcome pack and a yearly invoice for your dues!

Level 1 CSIA is a must here in Alberta if you wanna get any lessons and get paid.... Pretty easy to obtain though.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by ramzee View Post

PSIA1 = A couple of days social skiing, a welcome pack and a yearly invoice for your dues!

Level 1 CSIA is a must here in Alberta if you wanna get any lessons and get paid.... Pretty easy to obtain though.
 

I've noticed all you really need is the will - I have seen people get it with little skill involved.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by MidwestPete View Post




I've noticed all you really need is the will - I have seen people get it with little skill involved.
 

It makes sense.... gets people onto the membership roll.... Level 2 and up is where the real stuff begins..... but does mean that a level 1 certification is a requirement for most teaching jobs.

When I did my CSIA 1, it cracked me up to see kids passing who had only learned to ski 4 weeks beforehand..... they still had snowplow fresh in their mind!!..... I was trying my hardest to demonstrate what I had been trying to forget for the last 20yrs!
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