Career Advice on How to Become An Umpire, Referee or Other Sports Official

General Career Information

If you love the idea of getting in on all that sports action, but just can’t seem to, well, have the skill or physical size necessary to get onto the field or court, what can you do?  As it turns out, there is a way that a five-foot six guy from Toledo, Ohio can make it to the NBA.  He can be a referee and watch guys a foot taller than he is.  Yes, this is the world of the umpire, referee and other sports official.  Someone has to represent mere mortals on the field while hormone and steroid freak jobs slam into each other at high speed and scream like primordial men unleashed from the icky bounds of civilization.  If you dream of being “near the action,” then put this occupation on the top of your career planning or job search list.  And who knows?  Maybe some day soon you will get to witness the majesty and grace of one man biting another man’s eat off in a boxing ring or the splendor of the late tackle that paralyzes a man.  Ah, the magic!

Career Facts:

Hope you like stress and like it by the bucket load!  Umpires, referees and other sports officials are required to take a tremendous amount of abuse from players, coaches, fans, media commentators, and even team owners and politicians.  What’s not to love?  Make the right call and one group of people will hate you.  Make the wrong call and another group of people will hate you.  The most you can hope for is that you are forgotten like a piece of furniture.  This is a job that requires you to make your decisions quickly. Those decisions can lead to thousands of people wanting to kill you or at least punch you in the face.  Oh yes, it takes a very special type of person to want to do this job indeed!


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook- Very Good:

The expected job growth rate for the field will be twenty-three percent between 2008 and 2018.  Surprisingly, applicants can expect high levels of competition for these job openings as well. 
Job Outlook is Good

A Day in The Life:

Expect to spend your day making calls that could have you hated, but rarely loved.  When you make a call that the home team loves, they are very rarely cheering for you.  As an umpire, referee or other sports official, you will be expected to make a decision on close calls and close plays.  You will also be expected to determine the penalty for biting off an ear, for example, or hitting a batter in the head on purpose with a ninety-eight mile an hour fastball.

Average Salary:

The average salary for this career comes in at a whopping $24,000, with the lowest ten percent earning an average of $15,000 per year.  This is not a misprint.



Career Training and Qualifications:

One clearly needs to know the rules of whatever sporting activity he is responsible for judging.  Depending upon the sport, there are schools and academies where one can learn the tricks of the trade.
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