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Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official

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What Does it Take to Be an Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official?

Position Description 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.

Daily Life Of a Sports Official

  • Confer with other sporting officials, coaches, players, and facility managers in order to provide information, coordinate activities, and discuss problems.
  • Compile scores and other athletic records.
  • Judge performances in sporting competitions in order to award points, impose scoring penalties, and determine results.
  • Start races and competitions.
  • Teach and explain the rules and regulations governing a specific sport.
  • Inspect sporting equipment and/or examine participants in order to ensure compliance with event and safety regulations.

Sports Official Required Skills

Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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

  • Paddock Judge
  • Race Starter
  • Horse Race Timer
  • Clerk of Scales
  • Horse Show Judge

Is There Going to be 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. The BLS estimates 3,000 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials in U.S.

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.

Average Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials Salary

The salary for Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials ranges between about $18,220 and $59,240 a year.

Salary Ranges for Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials

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 different U.S. states?

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 & Technology do Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials:

  • 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 do I Become a Sports Official?

Individuals working as an Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official have obtained the following education levels:

Sports Official Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Sports Official Work Experience

Where Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials Work

Sports Official Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials employed by various industries.

Sports Official Industries


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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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