How much can you earn as a ski instructor? This is possibly one of the most important questions that we never get asked. You may be amazed to realise that as well as a fun way to spend a season and earn beer pocket money you can actually make a career out of ski instruction.
As with the rest of the ski instructor system there are layers of progress which impact the work you can get and the wages you can earn. There are great differences between the BASI Levels so we will do our best to break it down simply for you here.
The BASI 1 is the first rung on the instructor ladder and so a great and essential place to start but not necessarily a money making career option.Qualifying you to teach on dry slopes and snowdomes you can expect wages between £8 and £10 an hour. As you are not yet qualified to work in a mountain environment you are restricted to the busy times at UK ski centres, meaning this is a great qualification to give you interesting weekend/ holiday work and to hone your teaching skills but hours can be limited and full time jobs rare.
With the BASI Level 2 you are now qualified to work in a mountain environment and will have opportunities across Europe. As a level 2 Instructor working in Switzerland you could expect to earn between CHF20 and CHF25 an hour. While this is a reasonable amount of money you may find your potential income is limited by the number of hours that you are allocated with priority reserved for those with higher qualifications.
In Austria you would most likely be offered a flat salary equivalent to €1300 – €1800 per month regardless of how many hours you teach. There are also schools which offer packages inclusive of accommodation and food meaning the cash received is minimal but your reasons expenses are covered. In America hourly wages tend to be slightly lower but are often made up for with tips.
In the summer you can then head to Australia or New Zealand, giving you year round work, with pay averaging around $16 – $22 an hour.
The BASI Level 3 holds the ISIA (International Ski Instructor Association) stamp and is considered to be the highest level of qualification in many parts of the world. Because of this hourly wages increase by 10% – 20% and work tends to be more plentiful and varied with ISIA instructors finding themselves higher up the priority list in most ski schools.
Combined together this can really increase your earning potential. With this level of qualification you will be able to start making a sustainable living and as such a career in the industry.
The BASI Level 4 gives instructors the ISTD – International Ski Teaching Diploma. Once you have achieved this the world is your oyster! Your qualification is recognised everywhere in the world and hourly wages increase dramatically. If you are working in Europe you can expect around £50 per hour – between €40 and €60 – and up to 600 hours of work in a winter season. You can of course then either head to the Southern Hemisphere for more work year round or take advantage of the European glaciers and the coaching opportunities there.
As you can see the wage range varies dramatically depending on the level of qualification that you hold. The lower levels provide great opportunities for interesting part time work or a fun way to spend winters in the mountains doing what you love. But that is certainly not the be all and end all of life as a ski instructor – with the BASI 3 ISIA and BASI 4 ISTD you can really make a career out of ski instruction. Earning good money and with interesting and varied work opportunities – as we said the world is your oyster!
If this sounds like the career path for you then check out the courses that can get you there.