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Investment vs. Financial Rewards

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
In the 2001 ski season, one of the instructors at Okemo was planning a trip to a teacher training camp at Whistler. Although she had been skiing and teaching for many years, she still had some issues with challenging terrain, which I found interesting.

In 2002, she was my instructor, and not only had her skiing style changed, apres Whistler, but she seemed to have grown in many ways on a personal level.

I'm sure the workshop, airfare and hotel fees were a pretty penny, but I doubt she got any significant increase in salary for going to this clinic.

In my own industry, I attend a minimum of 6 workshops and conferences a year, many of them at places I have to travel to. When the sports medicine organization that I'm certifying with sent out an email about their proposed masters degree program: Injury prevention and Athletic performance enhancement, I admit I did think twice, even though the estimated $4500 fee is way out of my budget.

And consider the fact, that Physical Therapists who choose to work in the fitness industry, do not get paid any higher than the basic AFAA/ACE certified instructor.

From time to time, I like to look at the course offerings given by PSIA East. All this stuff sounds so fascinating. But for ski instructors, calculating the costs, compared to the meager salary that has been discuused here at length, where does one draw the line?

Like some of the ski instructors here, I feel I am lucky that my work is also my hobby. So when I spend on education more than I can possibly hope to earn, there's always the knowledge that part of what I'm learning is also for ME.

So for those of you who teach ANYTHING that you love, is there a limit to the investment you are willing to make, if you know it will never be COMPLETELY compensated, financially?
post #2 of 8
A financial return on my education investment is my last consideration.

What I look for is an experience (you might call it educational) return. My goal in taking up teaching skiing was to learn to ski better for myself and to share my enthusiasm for the activity with others.
post #3 of 8
Remember when people went to college to learn the liberal arts? It was to lay a foundation for future learning, to teach callow youth how to think clearly, and to enable the privileged classes to build a lifelong network of contacts that would be useful in their future careers in business, commerce, and the learned professions.

Today most colleges and universities operate like glorified trade schools. In other words, kids go to college today for career training, not for personal enrichment, widening of perspective, and depth.

Damn right they want the education to pay for itself.

I think that this is the essential difference between a renaissance man like Kneale and the average 20 year old who joins AASI/PSIA...

That's why I am pounding the "economics of instruction" drum. We must live in the world of the 20 year old if we want to be part of the future, not the world of the "old white guys" who make most of the decisions which affect the 20 year olds.
post #4 of 8
well-said, NB.

if you want to learn, you must pay the price in time sacrificed, travel, materials, and/or money spent.

I don't want mercenaries teaching me. I want those who, like me, care about learning PERPETUALLY and for its own sake.
post #5 of 8

My niece is a PT, living in Arizona right now, and gets an excellent salary and benefits. Often the firm she works for will pay for all the educational conferences that she has time for, if it enhances her skill and knowledge levels.

I think that it is time to get a return on your life long learning investments.
post #6 of 8
Oh, I see... it's those "old white guys" again. Let's blame everything on Ott!

The way I see it, if you want financial rewards, you are in the wrong business. If you don't find it rewarding in other ways, get out. Now.
post #7 of 8
Many of the career instructors I know (and when I was one) wouldn't go to many educational events. Usually just the one credit even every other year to keep up the membership, and a few others if you are prepping for an exam.

The reasons were almost always financial. They don't go because of the cost of the event (which is actually fairly cheap unless you're living on a ski instructor's salary) and travel, and the cost of missing a few days or a week of income (no paid vacation in this occupation). There are some exceptions. Some ski areas will pay for the instructor to attend exam prep events and exams. But they still won't compensate you for lost income.

Also, the PSIA devisions (at least East) have "scholarships" for which you can apply, and PSIA will cover part or all of the registration fee for an event. The first time I ever went to a PSIA ITC (now the Snow Pro Jam : ), was on a scholarship. PSIA-E paid my whole fee. However, they got a lot of bang for their buck. I have only missed one since then (8 or 9 years now), and all the rest, I paid for.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am always both amazed and appalled at fitness instructors who take the bare minimum amount of CECs to retain their certification, nothing more. Often, a really good, cutting edge, affordable workshop comes to town, and people don't go because they "don't need the credits". :

Sad to see that this happens in the ski industry, too.

Another annoying phenomena, and I am curious as to whether this also happens in the ski industry: The fitness industry decides to "give" a bit and pay a higher rate for instructors with specialty certifications [Pilates, prenatal, etc.} Then, somebody thinks up a loophole, and starts offering ONE DAY specialty certifications. All of a sudden, everyone and their grandmother has a specialty certification, and instructors who paid for one year of training are once again getting paid the same amount as instructors who took a one day certification!

But in my industry, things have changed a bit for the better, but I'll tell you one thing. Changes did not start happening until IDEA, the fit pro's educational org., started to put pressure on IRHSA, the fitness management's org.

Perhaps PSIA needs to put some pressure on SAM?
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