How to Become an Umpire

Written by

Ray Grant Walden


August 14, 2014


Sports of all types are an essential part of human activity and highly trained professionals are required to regulate the play of the game and enforce the rules and regulations. Umpires are trained professionals that officiate a variety of sports.

What does an umpire do?

Umpires officiate games, competitions, and other athletic events such as baseball, softball, field hockey, and Australian rules football. They start and end the event, observe play, enforce the necessary rules, make judgment calls on actions and plays, and deal with disciplinary issues. They typically position themselves in areas where they can best see the actions of the event to evaluate situations and determine if any violations take place. Umpires often work in groups, but some work independently in some sports. They work in a variety of settings such as spectator sports, school sports, and recreation industries.

What kind of training does an umpire need?

The training requirements for umpires vary by type of sport. Umpires typically need at least a high school diploma and a thorough knowledge of the particular sport and the related rules and regulations. Some complete formal training and most were athletes at some point in their lives. Many umpires begin their careers as volunteers for community, intramural, and recreational sports. Umpires that work for high school athletic events usually must register with the state and pass a written examination on the game rules. Umpires that work for college and professional sports teams typically must complete professional umpire training school, have several years of experience, and pass a thorough background check. Some sports teams require umpires to be licensed or certified.

What are the prospects for a career as an umpire?

Employment of umpires is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 10% through 2018 (1). The growing population and increase in a variety of sports will drive job growth.

Job prospects should with good with very strong competition for jobs in high-level sports. Umpires with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. Some job openings will stem from the need to replace umpires that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do umpires make?

As of 2011, the average annual salary for umpires is $54,000; average annual umpire salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as an umpire is a great choice for people with a strong interest in sports and directing the play of the game. Umpires must have a solid understanding of their sport and the related strategies, rules, and regulations. Patience, good vision, detail orientation, and good leadership skills are necessary characteristics. Umpires must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to interact with a variety of athletes, coaches, and other sports officials. They must also be quick on their feet and be able to make effective decisions under stress and pressure.

Becoming an Umpire Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming an Umpire? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Course Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Ray Grant Walden

Ray Grant Walden attended American University College and now lives in Houston. He has enjoyed a very exciting career and has experience in a wide variety of professions, including college counseling.

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