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Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official

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All About Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials

Sports Official Example Officiate at competitive athletic or sporting events. Detect infractions of rules and decide penalties according to established regulations. Includes all sporting officials, referees, and competition judges.

Sports Official Responsibilities

  • Research and study players and teams in order to anticipate issues that might arise in future engagements.
  • Teach and explain the rules and regulations governing a specific sport.
  • Judge performances in sporting competitions in order to award points, impose scoring penalties, and determine results.
  • Inspect sporting equipment and/or examine participants in order to ensure compliance with event and safety regulations.
  • Resolve claims of rule infractions or complaints by participants and assess any necessary penalties, according to regulations.
  • Report to regulating organizations regarding sporting activities, complaints made, and actions taken or needed such as fines or other disciplinary actions.

Sports Official Needed Skills

These are the skills Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials say are the most useful in their careers:

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

Types of Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official

  • Racetrack Steward
  • Racing Secretary
  • Handicapper
  • Scorer
  • Horse Show Judge

Job Demand for Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 21,100 jobs in the United States for Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7.6% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,600 new jobs for Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 3,000 job openings in this field each year.


The states with the most job growth for Sports Official are Nebraska, New Mexico, and Florida. Watch out if you plan on working in West Virginia, South Carolina, or Oklahoma. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for a Sports Official

The average yearly salary of a Sports Official ranges between $18,220 and $59,240.


Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials who work in Kentucky, Washington, or West Virginia, make the highest salaries.

How much do Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $20,110
Alaska $36,900
Arizona $42,170
California $32,780
Colorado $32,890
Delaware $30,960
Florida $32,630
Georgia $24,120
Idaho $22,500
Illinois $34,860
Iowa $29,250
Kansas $34,160
Kentucky $46,930
Louisiana $30,400
Maine $26,170
Maryland $36,980
Massachusetts $47,300
Michigan $28,460
Minnesota $40,660
Mississippi $25,930
Missouri $33,560
Montana $22,160
Nebraska $27,730
New Hampshire $40,220
New Jersey $39,490
New Mexico $24,440
North Carolina $35,460
North Dakota $32,370
Ohio $28,670
Oklahoma $37,870
Oregon $28,300
Pennsylvania $29,750
Rhode Island $33,250
South Dakota $28,850
Tennessee $34,010
Texas $34,750
Utah $21,980
Vermont $34,400
Virginia $37,390
Washington $39,130
West Virginia $40,450
Wisconsin $30,860

What Tools do Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Database software
  • Video editing software

How to Become a Sports Official

Education needed to be an Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official:


What work experience do I need to become a Sports Official?


Where Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials Work


Below are examples of industries where Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials work:



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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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