<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>PSIA insists that its training and examining program is the only true "certification"<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
David--I'm surprised--Where did THAT come from? No, I don't know anyone who would buy that statement! (If there are any PSIA instructors here among the Bears who would, please correct me.) CSIA (Canadian) certification, Austrian, Swiss, French, New Zealand, Australian, British--ANY of these is a valid credential. So is a USSCA coaching credential. Or a Mahre Training Center coach. Or an Olympic medal. And I'd value a degree in education, physics, engineering, psychology, physical education, history, even medicine. All of these credentials are relevant to teaching skiing. If you've got a choice, ask for someone with ALL of these credentials!
But NONE of these guarantees a good lesson, does it?
No, a person is NOT required to be certified in order to teach skiing. Indeed, there is no training requirement whatsoever! All the more reason to ask for an instructor who IS certified, isn't it? At least you can be assured that he/she has SOME training! And you can be sure that that training is relevant to teaching skiing.
I'm not sure why you disagree with the physician analogy. It doesn't really matter, I guess. But what difference does it make whether a physician is required by law to have an MD--it's still just a credential--a piece of paper that verifies a certain level of training, experience, and demonstrated skill--just like PSIA certification. It still doesn't guarantee someone who cares.... If physicians--or plumbers, or electicians--were NOT required to have licenses, wouldn't you want to pay even MORE attention to their credentials?
And by-the-way--I did not specify "MD" anyway. Doctors, like ski instructors, can have many different credentials--MD, OD, DDS, chiropractic, you name it. Then there are all the alternative health care practitioners. As a patient, you can choose to ignore these credentials, or not--it's up to you. I'll bet you don't!
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>In this country an M.D. is universally recognized whether it comes from Harvard, Stanford, or the University of Vermont. Accredited medical schools recognize each others' graduates as "doctors". No single school insists that its degree is the only legitimate M.D.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
In this country, a PSIA Level 3 is universally recognized too, whether it comes from Vermont, Colorado, Michigan, Utah, or California. Each regional PSIA division recognizes a certification from another division. And no division insists that its certification is the only legitimate credential, either.
PSIA was formed, as you probably are aware, largely to assure some degree of uniformity and consistency of instruction across the country--much, I suppose, like the A.M.A.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>We also have a number of adults who teach weekends or a couple of evenings a week, and have been doing so for years, These are people who practice law or install carpeting or sell insurance or own grocery stores. For these folks certification is both impractical and irrelevant.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Perhaps, but irrelevant for whom? The relevance of any certification, in any field, is to the CUSTOMER, not the pro! These people may well be great instructors--I'm sure some of them are. But I'm sure some of them aren't, too, and given a choice, I'd choose the lawyer, carpet installer, or grocer who has some ski-teaching credentials over one who has none. The certificate may tell the instructor--or physician, or plumber--nothing he doesn't already know about himself, but it tells ME something about him!
Certification is impractical for these people? Well, here I'm afraid you may be right, at least for now. But it will become quite practical if people demand it! And AS people demand it, they are giving valuable feedback to us that will only improve the certification and training process!
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Some of the best lessons I've ever witnessed (best from the point of view of the success in satisfying the students' needs) have been taught by teenagers with a whole lot more enthusiasm and energy than technical knowledge. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
No argument there. And if you really think that, for you, an untrained teenager or uncertified part-time instructor will do a better job--then by all means ASK for one--DEMAND it! Go to the ski school desk and insist that your instructor be an uncertified instructor in her teens, if you want to. Some people prefer that their health-care professionals are not MD's too. Ask for an aroma therapist, or a Wizard in a starry robe with a magic wand, if you think it will help you ski better!
PSIA does its best to make certification a relevant, valid, indication of expertise. But if you (anyone) think something else is more important or relevant, then ask for that! Want to learn more about the physics of skiing? Ask the ski school desk if any of the instructors is a physicist. Want an instructor who speaks Romanian? Ask for one! Want a teenager? The choice is yours.
<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>I would go so far as to say that they do a BETTER job than a Level 3 instructor because they unencumbered by some of the techno-babble and false ego that often accompanies full certification<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
Techno-babbling and false egotism are NOT required to pass certification, obviously. And I share your disdain for these attributes. But certification doesn't always weed such people out either. Well, actually, the unrestrained techno-babbler who can't get a point across simply and clearly isn't likely to impress an examiner. It's a well-known fact that techno-babblers in an exam are more likely to dig their own graves than anything else. But again, certified or not, if you get a lesson from an egotistical babbler, and you don't like it, complain to management. Certification verifies skills and knowledge. It's still up to management to hire the right people!
Anyway, David, I'm not trying to give you a hard time here. I completely agree with you that many great lessons have been taught by uncertified instructors, and that many lousy lessons have been taught by certified instructors. And as I said, if you think other criteria are more valid, then by all means you should ask for THAT at the ski school desk. And the specific criteria that should be verified by PSIA certification are always open to reasonable debate.
Certification is what it is, nothing more--nothing less. It's an ongoing process--and often a struggle--to maintain its relevancy. The most important principle underlying the foundation of PSIA's American Teaching System, since its inception, is to serve the needs and motivations of the skiing public. Some may argue--I often do--about the specifics of the certification standards, but the goal remains to validate the skills that are important to teaching skiing. It's not perfect. What is? But we're working on it, and will continue to do so.
So I'll modify my original suggestion, for you, David. To find a quality instructor, decide what criteria and/or credentials--or lack of credentials--are important to you. And ask for THAT at the ski school desk. My SUGGESTION is that, for most people, in the US, PSIA certification is a very good bet over an instructor who is uncertified. It will dramatically improve your odds for a qualified, competent, dedicated instructor.
But you pay your money. You're entitled to take your choice!