Which ski instructor qualification?

Numerous countries provide professional and recognised ski instructor qualifications. Each country has its own route to certification, although the techniques and skills required are often the same. Many are part of the ISIA (International Ski Instructor Association), whose members adhere to strict standards and regulations. Each member recognises each other’s qualifications, and with over 37 nations, this allows you to work around the globe. The most regarded members are the following:

CSIA – Canadian Ski instructor Alliance

BASI – British Association of Snowsports Instructors

NZSIA – New Zealand Snowsports Instructors Alliance

PSIA – Professional ski instructors of America

Some operate outside the ISIA, such as the French, Austria and Italy. Their systems are highly regarded but run differently from the standard ISIA members and typically require you to have conversational language skills for that country.

For more in-depth information on the individual governing bodies and their Levels, go to our designated Qualification Page.


What Level of qualification do I need?

Levels generally run from 1 to 4 and are roughly equivalent for each ISIA member. In most cases, Level 1 will allow you to work in the country you were awarded your qualification. However, if you want to work internationally, you need to aim for Level 2.

Level 1 Instructors

An entry-level ski instructor qualification allows the instructor to teach complete beginners up to parallel turns. Instructors can find work via internships and at smaller resorts. However, the BASI system is limited to snow domes and dry ski slopes.

Level 2 Instructors

Level 2 instructors teach higher-level intermediate skiers. It is the qualification required to be a ski instructor in many resorts worldwide. It’s a significant step up from Level 1 and requires training and time practising teaching. If you want to achieve Level 2 in one season, look for 11-week Level 1 and 2 courses. On the other hand, if you’re a strong skier (12 weeks or more experience) and short on time or budget, consider a 7-week fast track.

Level 3 Instructors

This is a high-level qualification requiring greater skill, technique and teaching experience. Level 3 instructors can teach up to advanced skiers, including training level 1 & 2 instructors. To seriously attempt getting your Level 3, you need at least 1 season of teaching at Level 2 standard. It’s a tough ticket in any governing body with a typical pass rate of only 20%. However, once you have your Level 3, you’ll find it very easy to gain work worldwide, and more VISA opportunities will be available.

Level 4 Instructors

A respected professional qualification is only accomplished by instructors who have exceptional standards across all areas. Level 4 instructors train advanced skiers and the higher levels of instructors (level 3 training and level 4 training). They are the top instructors, and you will only get to this standard after numerous seasons of work and training.

Where can I use my qualifications?

Suppose you choose a governing body that is part of the ISIA. In that case, your qualification will be accepted in any member country. It’s worth noting that the BASI level 1 is not an all-mountain qualification, which means you can only work on dry ski slopes and snow domes. Other Level 1’s such as the CSIA’s and NZSIA’s will allow you to teach on the mountain straight away and are excellent qualifications when combined with a Level 1 internship

Level 2 will allow you to work all around the world. However, one country will always be harder, and that’s France! You can work there with a BASI level 2 but only as an apprentice. To do so, you must pass an extra speed test, and it takes significant training. After this, you may join the French system and train towards your level 4. However, you have to pass Level 4 and the Euro Speed test to officially teach in France. It’s incredibly tough but possible if you commit to it. Read more on How to become a ski instructor in France.

Can I transfer my ski instructor Qualification?

The simple answer is yes (and no!). Within the ISIA, most members will both accept your qualification and allow you to continue your training in their system. The CSIA and NZSIA make the process extremely easy. They are happy to accept nearly all qualification levels like for like. BASI can be a little more complicated and may require you to complete a conversion exam or will drop your Level by 1.

Do I need any other qualifications to become a ski instructor?

Not really, although it does help to have some experience of teaching children or small groups. You don’t need to be qualified, but showing some form of sports coaching or roles where you took responsibility for a group can help when applying for jobs. Any first aid ticket is also a bonus.


Still wondering how to become a ski instructor? Then read our blog Which is the Best Ski Instructor Course?