Ski instructor certification: how to become a teacher

December 29, 2014

There’s more to becoming a certified ski instructor than knowing how to ski. It also requires patience and interpersonal skills to become a teacher. Here's how.

Ski instructor certification: how to become a teacher

Who provides training?

Ski instructor training programs are virtually the same everywhere you go in Canada. There are numerous ski schools to enroll in. You can usually take classes directly at the ski hill, but they're also provided through private institutions across Canada.

When you obtain certification, you become a member of the Canadian Ski and Instructors’ Alliance (CSIA), Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors (CANSI), or Canadian Ski Coaches Federation (CSCF). Annual dues and subscription fees are applicable. Programmes d'Enseignement Sportif du Quebec (PESQ) also offers, among other sports training programs, ski coaching certification throughout the francophone province.

Certification I, II, III, or IV?

Certified instructors teach different skiing techniques at alpine centers. Becoming an instructor means you have completed the required courses, have fulfilled the necessary hours of practical on-snow training, and have passed all your exams.

There are four levels of certification, based on expertise and athletic ability.

Keep in mind:

  • Anyone of a minimum age of 15 can enroll in a beginner’s level certification program.
  • Each level requires a few days of training, but it’s recommended to put in as many hours of practice as possible. This will insure the instructor has an adequate level of experience, knowledge and skill to pass the exam.In the event you fail the exam, it’s possible to retake it.

You’ll find that courses are not limited to skiing (alpine, cross country or telemark); other courses include:

  • Safety and security (for you and your students).
  • Customer service (communication skills).
  • Teaching methodology (teaching skills).
  • Skills for working with children.
  • Role playing for emergency situations.

Temporary job, secondary career or a true calling?

Specializedcoaches require additional training. For example, enriched courses are available for coaching children, helping intermediates improve their technique, learning new terrain, etc. If you’d like to focus on beginners or intermediate ski students, you don’t require level III or IV certification (the association refers to these as expert, performance levels).

Advanced certifications include leadership and management training to operate a ski school and oversee a team, or to become a professional teacher within one of the associations. Difficult qualifications at advanced levels require candidates develop a strict physical training routine in order to pass their evaluations.

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