How to Become a Ski Instructor

Ski Instructor Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $21,480
Avg. Pay / hour $10.33
Education 0-6 Months
Job Outlook 6%

Are you interested in becoming a ski instructor? If you want to teach skiing, you have to be steady on your skis.

Above all, to become a ski instructor, you should be confident and comfortable regarding your profession.

Moreover, if you are in search of a job that would be interesting, adventurous and at the same time highly lucrative, the job of a ski instructor could be a great choice.

For those who are excited by the idea of working outdoors, in a fun environment, and with different kinds of people, the job of a ski instructor might be ideal.

However, you must be aware of all the intricacies involved in skiing, and be able to explain those techniques to your students in an easy to understand way.

Today, sports and recreation industry is flourishing, and there is always a demand for a qualified instructors to teach people how to have fun on the slopes.

Education Requirements to Become a Ski Instructor

Going through a ski course at a ski school can be an added advantage for you if you want to become a ski instructor.

Skiing is not only about riding over the snow, there are some specific rules that a skier needs to know and follow.

A ski instructor needs to be aware of all these rules in order to make the ride for the skier as enjoyable as possible.

Ski instructors need to undergo formal training and earn certificate of qualification before they can start their profession.

There are some institutes that offer people training to become a ski instructor.

Almost all the ski schools offer training before the annual ski season commences and instructors need to obtain a certificate before the season starts.

At the start of the winter season, instructors can make use of their certificate and can get associated with a specific mountain ski school, or can start a business of their own.

Ski Instructor Job Description

The main task of a ski instructor is to guide and instruct amateur skiers.

So, in order to become a ski instructor, you need to know the snow very well.

You need to have the ability to identify the best skiing slope and know what makes skiing an enjoyable activity.

A ski instructor needs to get in touch with the skiers and provide them a complete guidance for skiing.

It includes interacting with the skiers, checking the skiing equipments, answering the questions of the skiers, taking care of the skiing activity, arranging for the treatment of the skier in case of an accident down the slope and finally making sure that all goes well.

It is to be kept in mind that amateur skiers are more vulnerable to accidents and so it is essential to instruct them properly so that they can minimize the risks and can have a complete skiing experience.

In the unfortunate event of an accident, ski instructors need to be trained in CPR and basic medial procedures.

For more information, visit Professional Ski Instructors of America & American Association of Snowboard Instructors

Ski Instructor Salary and Career Path

The career path of an average ski inspector travels through instructing people on rules of skiing to running a ski school.

As a ski instructor you may have to make a humble beginning (anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 per season) but you can easily make a good salary after a few years if you work up to becoming an advanced ski instructor.

Though most of the mountains have specific skiing season, there are also many places where you can ski all year long.

Hence, finding the job of a ski instructor is not at all tough nowadays if you know where to look.

The salary of an instructor largely depends on his experience and qualification.

As a result, if you are qualified and have quite a few years of experience on the slopes you can easily earn a decent salary.

In addition to regular salary, ski instructors can also earn tips from clients and if a client returns and request the service of a specific instructor, you can easily earn some extra cash.

On average, full time ski instructors can earn anywhere from $30,000 to $40,00 per year depending on your location and experience.

The job of a ski instructor is both challenging as well as adventurous.

If you like riding down the snow and if you want to turn your hobby into a lucrative career, the job of a ski instructor is your best choice.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
District of Columbia$53,050
New Hampshire$25,180
New Jersey$29,310
New Mexico$25,560
New York$33,810
North Carolina$22,440
North Dakota$23,450
Rhode Island$33,170
South Carolina$24,570
South Dakota$25,060
West Virginia$21,970
Puerto Rico$20,840

The top earning state in the field is District of Columbia, where the average salary is $53,050.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

District of Columbia - $53,050
Hawaii - $47,360
Alaska - $38,660
California - $35,890
New York - $33,810
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers, OCC Code 33-9092, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a ski instructor do?

A ski instructor is a professional who helps those who are just getting started to learn the basic techniques of skiing and those who already know how to ski – increase their level of ability and improve the skills.

Ski instructors can teach individually or in groups.

The typical duties of a ski instructor usually include ensuring that the mountain is safe to ski on; attending meetings at the ski school; teaching individuals; helping raise confidence levels; ensuring that the equipment is well-maintained; administering first aid (if necessary); observing the weather conditions; filling out paperwork, and so on.

Some professionals choose to make ski instructing a seasonal job, while others work throughout the whole year.

How much do ski instructors make?

On average, a ski instructor can make a little less than $23.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $18.000 and $32.000 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the client, the location, how many hours have been spent teaching, and so on.

The job usually includes some additional benefits – free insurance, transport to the resort, accommodation, and discounts on numerous services.

An entry-level ski instructor can earn around $8.00 per hour, while a top-level professional with plenty of experience can make $27.00 and more per hour.

How much does it cost to become a ski instructor?

You do not need to earn a degree to become a ski instructor.

All you would have to do – is get qualified; however, there are 4 levels of ski instructor qualification and reaching the final level can be challenging.

The cost of the courses can vary a lot depending on a wide range of factors (in most cases, anywhere between $2.000 and $8.500).

Before starting the qualification courses, aspiring ski instructors should already be able to control speed and maintain parallel turns (on blue runs).

What is the demand for ski instructors?

The competition for this job is extremely high.

In the United States, for example, only about 6% of the population ski and only 10% of those take instruction.

The candidates who have previous teaching experience will have better chances of getting a job in ski resorts.

Bear in mind that the number of ski instructor opportunities varies every year.

How long does it take to become a ski instructor?

You have to already be a good skier, before attempting to gain an instructor qualification.

The only other requirement for aspiring ski instructors – you have to be at least 16 years old.

The initial step on your career path is acquiring Level 1 ski instructor qualification (you will then be able to instruct other skiers to a basic level).

The Level 2 qualification will help you improve your own skiing and, ultimately, open doors to all the mountains in the world.

Level 3 and 4 can be attempted after a few sessions of training experience.

The courses usually take 11-13 weeks.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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