One question we’re often asked is how long does it actually take before you are a qualified ski instructor. Some think weeks, others months, and a few even thinks years.
To be honest, all of those answers are technically correct. Depending on your circumstance, the time you have available, the level of qualification you want to achieve, and the finances you have, the timeline to become a ski instructor is variable.
How long does it take to become a ski instructor?
- 1) Join a full-blown instructor package with us for 11-13 weeks, and gain your Level 1, Level 2 and even more in one season.
- 2) Join a short Level 1 course, which takes just a few weeks, with the plan to join a Level 2 course in the future / the following winter.
- 3) Don't participate in instructor courses at all - and work to complete the levels and requirements in your own time, over months or years.
All of these paths are valid and based on many personal factors. However, for those looking to fast-track the process and gain as much as they can from a course, as well as having an awesome experience alongside 30-60 other likeminded people (and future friends), then this article will explain the timelines you can expect in order to become an instructor with SnowSkool.
First thing: get to the required level of skiing
You can’t start a course if you can’t ski! However, the minimum recommended level that you should be at before joining an instructor course is not as high as you’d think; you’ll need to be comfortable skiing on European red pistes/Australian blue pistes. This gets you to the standard to head into training and towards your first exam: Level 1.
Some will get that experience over years skiing with family and friends, others over one season, others over one holiday. It’s different with everyone but, for those who’re dedicated, it can be possible to reach this level over a few weeks of consistent skiing.
If you think you're almost there but not quite then, in our case, if someone does not have quite enough experience - or lacks a little bit of confidence - then we can advise and help them to head to resort early (a week or more before the course begins). This helps to gain the extra experience and confidence needed for the course.
Long and short courses
Onto courses. At SnowSkool we have two different types of course: our short courses (2-5 weeks); and our long courses (11-13 weeks). And duration aside, these courses are quite different in terms of your opportunities on the course and what you are able to do post course.
This is an important distinction between the short and long courses. If you wish to work around the world with a considerable amount of freedom, you will need Level 2 status (for more on the differences between Level 1 and Level 2, see this post). But even between the two short courses, there are some differences, as I will explain below.
Short Level 1 courses – approx. 2-5 weeks of training:
You train for your CSIA (Canadian Ski Instructors Association) Level 1 qualification. If you pass this exam you get your certificate on course and you can officially call yourself a CSIA Level 1 Ski Instructor there and then.
On this shorter course, you train for BASI Level 1. The difference here is that even if you pass the Level 1 exam at the end, you are still not a qualified Level 1 instructor. Post-course you will be required to gain three additional elements to gain your full Level 1 certification.
- 35 hours of ski school work experience
- A valid first aid certificate
- Completion of an online child protection module.
Once you have completed all three requirements, and submitted them to BASI, you will then get your certificate (and you can call yourself a BASI Level 1 Ski Instructor).
Long Level 2 courses – approx. 11-13 weeks of training:
These courses are the full package. They will not just train you for your Level 1 but also your Level 2.
While on these longer courses you will also get the chance to take part in additional qualification courses, such as:
- Avalanche Safety Training Level 1 (AST)
- First Aid Course
- Freestyle Park certificate
- Race Couch
- Level 1 ski/snowboard (for those that wish to become dual disciplined).
The above courses are not available on every course - so please enquire directly if you have a keen interest in any of the above and wish to know which course you need to join in order to participate.
Choosing a long or short course
With SnowSkool, the quickest route to leaving a course with an official qualification is our 5-week course in Big White, with your Level 1.
The 2-week course in France may be considerably shorter, and more suitable for many people but (as mentioned earlier) you will need to go further in your own time to officially claim the title of ski instructor. This is still a fantastic option, though, for those wishing to take a slightly slower route with less time and financial input. It’s a route many take with SnowSkool each year.
For those that have a little more time, and more finance available to commit, you can look to become a fully-qualified Level 2 instructor within 11-13 weeks - depending on the chosen course. Which is no time at all if you’re looking to kick-start a global career in the industry.
For more information on which course to join and the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications, check out these articles:
And here are our courses again:
Short ski instructor courses – Level 1
>2 Week BASI Level 1 Course in The Three Valleys
>5-Week CSIA Level 1 Course in Big White
Long ski instructor courses – Level 2
>11-Week NZSIA Level 2 Course in New Zealand
>13-Week CSIA Level 2 Course in Banff
>11-Week CSIA Level 2 Course in Big White