What Do Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials Do?
The focus tends to be on the athletes for sporting events, but in order for the games to be conducted fairly, they need high-quality umpires, referees and other types of sports officials. These professionals officiate at events to detect infractions or rules being broken. Based on the specific sport’s regulations, they will determine what the appropriate penalty would be. Slight growth is expected to take place over the next decade. For example, an increase of 8% will occur annually. That means there are going to be 650 job openings a year. Officiators are needed at every game, so look into how you can get involved in your area.
Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials Skills and Abilities
One of the most important skills an umpire or referee can possess is critical thinking prowess. This is needed so that you can quickly determine whether or not an infraction was made and then come up with the appropriate response. You need to be capable of monitoring your surroundings and the actions of others. A lot of people will be out there in the field, and you need to be able to keep an eye on all of them. The ability to see things at both a far and near distance is crucial to this line of work, and in general, you should be in good physical shape because chances are good that you will be spending a good amount of time running around with the athletes. Good judgment making skills are needed because when you make a call, you need to stick by it.
Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials Duties
You will need to be thoroughly familiar with the rules of the sport you are officiating, and you need to detect when one of those rules has been broken. If something has gone wrong, then you will be tasked with stopping the game and letting other officials know what was done and what the penalty will be. Part of making sure the rules are followed means that you will need to inspect all the equipment to make sure it meets all regulations. If there are any complaints by a player or a coach, then you will need to resolve them good-naturedly. Other responsibilities sports officials have include:
- Compiling athletic records and scores.
- Directing players to assigned areas.
- Starting races.
- Researching players beforehand to anticipate potential problems.
- Verifying a player’s credentials.
Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials Tools and Technology
It is very important for you to familiarize yourself with various types of sporting equipment such as:
- Headgear and helmets
- Ball inflators
- Elbow pads, shin guards and other protective gear
- Cross trainers
- Equipment scales
Education and Training for Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials
A high school diploma is all that is really required. However, many referees and umpires have at least a Bachelor’s degree, so pursuing additional education can be worthwhile. No matter what level of education you are coming in with, you should be prepared to go through a moderate amount of training on-the-job.
Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials Salary
The salary scales for sports officials can vary quite a bit with the bottom tenth percentile of professionals making $17,500 a year while the top tenth percentile makes $57,300. You could also make anywhere in between those two figures, and the median annual wage is $24,100.
Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials Jobs by Geography
Illinois, California and New York have the greatest demand for sport referees because they have the highest employment levels. These positions are generally hired by local governments and recreational industries, so see what sport teams in your area could benefit from a highly qualified officiator.