Sports Official

Umpires, referees, and other sports officials preside over sporting or..

Sports Official

What does a Sports Official do?

Median Pay $25,660
Growth Rate 5%
Citation Retrieved in 2017 from

Umpires, referees, and other sports officials preside over sporting or athletic events that are competitive in nature in order to maintain the fairness and standards of an event or competition. They must have a thorough knowledge of the game and its rules in order to enforce the fair play of the game or impending penalties that may apply.

How to Become a Referee, Umpire, and Other Sports Official


A high school diploma and training is usually required to become a referee, umpire, or sport officiant. Every state has their own requirements and some sporting association even have guidelines that must be followed. Training sessions or seminars are held before, during, and after the season so everyone remains familiar with any rule changes, improve their officiating, and evaluate their current knowledge of the sporting or event regulations.

Some work for high school athletic programs and usually are required to be registered with the state or other local agency that oversees athletics for educational settings. It is common for umpires and referees to be required to take and pass an exam once they have been trained to ensure efficiency and ethical practice.

Job Description of a Referee, Umpire, and Other Sports Official

Umpires, referees and sports officials officiate at competitions, sporting events, and other games. This means he or she is responsible for judging performances of the competitors to determine who has won an event.

He or she must inspect all equipment for safety and compliance as well as make sure the participants are safe to play. They need to keep watch over start and stop times, call attention to infractions when necessary, and regulate play. All sports officials must be prepared to settle disputes by participants and enforce any penalties according to the rules of the game. He or she is expected to be able to anticipate a play therefore place themselves into the best position to observe and judge a play.

In the case of a sporting event that calls for more than one umpire or referee, one must be able to give the correct signals in their area of play concerning fouls or other rules of the game to other sporting officials. This is considered to be a highly stressful occupation because of the requirement and ability to make split-second and sometimes, unpopular decisions, and rulings.

Most sporting officials work part time and work irregular hours. Weekends, evenings, and holidays are often required in addition to traveling to various sporting complexes or events. This can be local, in the state that they reside in, or across the country. They work indoors and outdoors pending on the sport or event that are working at.

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