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Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official

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What is an Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official?

Job 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.

A Day in the Life of a Sports Official

  • Inspect sporting equipment and/or examine participants in order to ensure compliance with event and safety regulations.
  • Report to regulating organizations regarding sporting activities, complaints made, and actions taken or needed such as fines or other disciplinary actions.
  • Verify credentials of participants in sporting events, and make other qualifying determinations such as starting order or handicap number.
  • Resolve claims of rule infractions or complaints by participants and assess any necessary penalties, according to regulations.
  • Judge performances in sporting competitions in order to award points, impose scoring penalties, and determine results.
  • Verify scoring calculations before competition winners are announced.

Qualities of a Sports Official

Below is a list of the skills most Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials say are important on the job.

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.

Other Sports Official Job Titles

  • Steward/Stewardess
  • Horse Identifier
  • Clerk of Scales
  • Dog Track Kennel Manager
  • Sports Clerk

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.

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.

Salary for a Sports Official

The typical yearly salary for Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials is somewhere between $18,220 and $59,240.

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.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials 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

Tools & Technologies Used by Umpires, Referees, and Sports Officials

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 to Become a Sports Official

What kind of Umpire, Referee, or Sports Official requirements are there?

Sports Official Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Sports Official Work Experience

Where do 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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