Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials
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 the 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 Sports Official
Every state has their own requirements concerning the educational requirements for an umpire or referree. The sports association has its own requirements as well. Some states and/or sports associations require a high school diploma, but most insist on training sessions or seminars before, during, and after the season so umpires remain familiar with any rule change, improve their officiating, and evaluate their current knowledge of the game or event.
A high school usually requires an umpire to be registered with the state or other local agency that oversees athletics for high school. It is common for umpires and referees to be required to take and pass an exam.
Job Description of a Sports Official
Umpires and referees 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 making 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. An umpire 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, so that they can 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. 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.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics this career field is expected to grow 5 percent in 2014-2024 which is as fast as average for all occupations.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 5 percent growth in this career field in 2012-2022.