Is my snowboard qualification recognised in…?

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So you’ve qualified as a snowboard instructor, you’ve got your Level 2 and you want to know what happens next.

First things first, even snowboarder instructors can not operate above the (employment) law. You must have the right to work in the country in which you wish to work. Citizens of the UK are, by birth, allowed to work in the EU but working visas are required for countries such as Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the USA. Some are tougher to get than others and so you are advised to research and submit your application in good time.

Next you should consider the qualification that you have obtained. Most training courses these days take place in Canada, France, New Zealand and the U.S.A. In all four countries, you will be trained and sit the examinations of different snowboarding regulatory bodies; in New Zealand, it is all about the SBINZ (Snowboard Instructors of New Zealand) where in France, you’ll be buying British with the exams of the British Association of Snowsport Instructors (BASI). Over in Canada, you will be trained to teach snowboarding by CASI (Canadian Association of Snowboard Instructors) and in the States, you will work towards the exams of the AASI (American Association of Snowboard Instructors).

In reality to explain the differences between the exams is to bore down into some very technical snowboarding detail that would turn off even the most avid shredder. But it is true that some employers will favour particular qualifications over others. One rule of thumb is to train and pass your qualifications in the country in which you would most like to work. But, of more importance, is the level of qualification that you hold.

Snowboard Instructors
Snowboard Instructors
Photo: SnowSkool

ISIA has established a criteria by which all snowboard instructors can be given equivalency but this does not kick in until the higher levels of the qualification (generally Level 3 or Level 4) and we know that most of you reading this email will be qualified to Level 1 and Level 2 so let’s focus:

1.       Can I work with my Level 1 qualification?

Yes. With your Level 1 instructor qualification, you can work as snowboard instructor in a few countries throughout the world including Andorra, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Spain, UK (snowdomes) and the USA. You will be paid the hourly rate of a Level 1 instructor and will be lower in the pecking order for work than higher level instructors. You will be restricted to teaching children and beginners.

2.       Where can I work with my Level 2 qualifications?

With your Level 2 instructor qualifications from BASI, SBINZ, CASI or AASI, you are entitled to work in many different countries throughout the world. In practice, the Level 2 instructor qualifications are well-recognised and Level 2 graduates of SnowSkool instructor courses have gone on to work in Andorra, Argentina,  Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK (snowdomes) and the USA. Your hourly rate will be higher than that of a Level 1 instructor and you will be able to teach intermediate riders.

As a Level 1 and Level 2 instructor, most Snowboard Schools will offer professional development (known locally as “session”) where senior snowboard instructors will take out the less-experienced instructors for rider development…a good Snowboard School should be pushing the skill bases of its individual instructors and promoting higher levels of the qualification. It makes sense – you become a better snowboard instructor, the Snowboard School hires you out at higher rates and your hourly wage increases as you get more qualifications.   

The glaring exception as to where a Level 2 snowboard instructor can work is, of course, France. And that is a whole new can of worms – check out my article: World Peace or Working as a Snowboard Instructor in France. What is the most difficult to achieve?

--ABOUT THE AUTHOR--

As well as instructor training, SnowSkool operates an instructor recruitment database and has connections to over 150 Snowboard Schools in 14 countries spread over two hemispheres.