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Course / Sports

Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials

While officiating at sporting events, umpires, referees, and other sports officials must anticipate play and position themselves where they can best see the action, assess the situation, and identify any violations of the rules. Sports officials typically rely on their judgment to rule on infractions and penalties. Officials in some sports may use video replay to help make the correct call. Some sports officials, such as boxing referees, may work independently. Others, such as baseball or softball umpires, work in groups. Each official working in a group may have different responsibilities. For example, in baseball, one umpire is responsible for signaling balls and strikes while others are responsible for signaling fair and foul balls out in the field. Regardless of the sport, the job is highly stressful because officials often must make split-second rulings. These rulings sometimes result in strong disagreement expressed by players, coaches, and spectators. 1. Officiate sporting events, games, and competitions 2. Judge performances in sporting competitions to determine a winner 3. Inspect sports equipment and examine all participants to ensure safety 4. Keep track of event times, starting or stopping play when necessary 5. Signal participants and other officials when infractions occur or to regulate play or competition 6. Settle claims of infractions or complaints by participants 7. Enforce the rules of the game and assess penalties when necessary

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Why Choose This

While officiating at sporting events, umpires, referees, and other sports officials must anticipate play and position themselves where they can best see the action, assess the situation, and identify any violations of the rules. Sports officials typically rely on their judgment to rule on infractions and penalties. Officials in some sports may use video replay to help make the correct call. Some sports officials, such as boxing referees, may work independently. Others, such as baseball or softball umpires, work in groups. Each official working in a group may have different responsibilities. For example, in baseball, one umpire is responsible for signaling balls and strikes while others are responsible for signaling fair and foul balls out in the field. Regardless of the sport, the job is highly stressful because officials often must make split-second rulings. These rulings sometimes result in strong disagreement expressed by players, coaches, and spectators. Many umpires, referees, and other sports officials are employed primarily in other occupations and supplement their income by officiating part-time. The median annual wage for umpires, referees, and other sports officials is $25,660. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,150, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $58,160. The median annual wages for umpires, referees, and other sports officials in the top industries in which they work are as follows: Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries $30,240 Educational services; state, local, and private 26,920 Civic, social, professional, and similar organizations 25,970 Amusement, gambling, and recreation industries 23,020 Most umpires, referees, and other sports officials are paid on a per-game basis. Pay typically rises as the level of competition increases. Umpires, referees, and other sports officials often work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Many works are part-time.


Eligibility

Must typically register with the state or local agency that oversees high school athletics. Need to pass an exam on the rules of the particular game. Some states and associations may require applicants to attend umpiring or refereeing classes before taking the exam or joining an association. Other associations require officials to attend annual training workshops before renewing their officiating license.


Future Scope

Employment of umpires, referees, and other sports officials is projected to grow 7 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As the population grows, so will the overall number of people participating in organized sports. High school enrollment is projected to increase over the next decade, which could result in a rise in the number of student-athletes. As schools offer more athletic programs and as more students participate in sports, the demand for umpires, referees, and other sports officials may increase. However, funding for athletic programs often is the first thing to be cut when budgets become tight. Still, the popularity of interscholastic sports sometimes enables shortfalls to be offset with assistance from fundraisers, booster clubs, and parents. Participation in college sports also is projected to increase over the next decade, particularly at smaller colleges and in women's sports. Many small, Division III colleges are expanding their sports programs and adding new teams to help promote the school and recruit students. However, new rules allowing an increase in scholarship payments to student-athletes may result in funding cuts to smaller collegiate sports programs. The latter cuts could curtail the employment of umpires, referees, and officials if enough programs are eliminated. Job Prospects for Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials Overall job prospects for umpires, referees, and other sports officials are expected to be good at the youth and high school levels. Those with prior officiating experience will have the best job opportunities. However, competition is expected to be very strong for the collegiate and professional levels. Many people are attracted to working in sports, and the collegiate and professional levels typically have few job openings and low turnover. Employment projections data for Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials, 2016-26 Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Percent Numeric Umpires, referees, and other sports officials 21,100 22,700 7 1,600 Athletes and Sports Competitors Athletes and sports competitors participate in organized, officiated sporting events to entertain spectators. Coaches and Scouts Coaches teach amateur or professional athletes the skills they need to succeed in their sport. Scouts look for new players and evaluate their skills and likelihood for success at the college, amateur, or professional level. Many coaches also are involved in scouting.