2021–22 Instructor Survey Results

We’re excited to share the results of last season’s annual instructor survey. Our goal, building on results of previous years’ surveys, is to gain a better understanding of AIARE instructors’ demographics, compensation, and work environment. The 45-question survey was developed by an outside evaluator and AIARE staff, then delivered to all AIARE instructors through email, newsletters and reminders in the instructor portal. It was available for 6 months (June–November 2022). This season, we had a 26.7% response rate (167 out of 626 active AIARE instructors). On average, it took less than nine minutes to complete. Here are some a few key  from the survey results:


Comparison to 2020–21 Instructor Survey: Female course leaders went from 9% to 20%. Of all course leaders, last year, 91% were male; this year, 76% were male.  


Three days is the most common number of days Instructors and Course Leaders are paid per course, with the number of days ranging from 2 to 5 days of compensation for AIARE 1 and AIARE 2. Just over 42% of respondents stated they do not get any compensation in addition to their daily wage.  31% of Course Leaders and Instructors reported receiving paid travel (n=39); 16% stated they are paid for prep time (n=21). Just under 20% of respondents receive a per diem. Other things respondents are paid or reimbursed for include: 

  • Mileage
  • Lodging
  • Gear stipend
  • Tips
  • Salary
  • ITC tuition paid
  • Paperwork bonus


Instructors report spending an average of 4.6 hours on course preparation. Course leaders report spending 6.3 hours. Instructors and course leaders reported an average of 4.8 hours of paid prep time per year and 23.2 hrs of unpaid prep time per year. 

Of the 48% of respondents who said they worked for multiple providers, the average number of providers they worked for was 3, with a range of 1 to 6 providers per season. Of respondents’ primary providers:

  • 59% of those who answered the survey agree or strongly agree they were adequately compensated for their avalanche instruction
  • 68% strongly agreed or agreed they had enough work with this specific AIARE provider
  • 88% strongly agreed or agreed that risk was well managed
  • 88% strongly agreed or agreed they felt respected at work
  • 87% strongly agreed or agreed that they were able to voice their concerns 
  • The average length of a workday respondents’ primary providers is 9.6 hrs

Thanks again to those who took the 2021–22 Instructor Survey, who provided important feedback and information on the demographics, compensation, and work life and environment. This information will help AIARE understand what instructors and course leaders are experiencing, as well as ways to connect and improve. We’ll keep instructors and providers apprised as we make updates based on these survey results.