To become a ski instructor in France, you need to be a ‘stagiere’ or fully qualified instructor. Unlike the British system of ski instructor training and examination, the French system does not have different levels of instructor. In the French ski instructor system, you are either formally recognised as a stagiere (which means trainee or apprentice), or you are fully qualified. There is nothing in between, no tiered levels representing differing degrees of competency. Stagiere status is achieved upon successful completion of the Test Technique – an entrance style slalom exam, which is then followed by a preformation course. With both of those boxes ticked, stagieres in the French system are able to instruct, but with limitations on what they can teach for up to 3 years, while they become fully qualified. If it takes longer than three years for them to qualify, then they will be unable to teach again until they have finished.
This is one of the main reasons that it is harder to work in France than in other countries. ‘Fully qualified’ level in the French system is equivalent to BASI Level 4, which too can take people many years to achieve.
However, individuals who do not hold their BASI level 4 can still work in France, they just need to achieve Stagiere Status. BASI qualified individuals can achieve stagiere status by successfully completing their BASI 2 and the French Test Technique. This then gives them the opportunity to work in France at a stagiere approved school for up to 3 years, while they complete either the BASI or French qualification system.