Job description

Umpires officiate athletic or sporting events and ensure that all rules and regulations of games are correctly followed. They look out for infractions and place penalties if they notice a breach of game rules.

Umpires also check and control game times and are responsible for starting or stopping play when necessary. These professionals generally work at sporting events such as baseball or softball matches.


    • Officiate athletic or sporting events such as baseball or softball
    • Ensure all game rules and regulations are correctly followed
    • Look out for and signal athletes for infractions
    • Place penalties on athletes
    • Determine winners of games by evaluating athletes’ performances
    • Check and control game times and start or stop play
    • Inspect game equipment to ensure safety
    • Handle and settle criticism and complaints after placing penalties

Skills and qualities

Attention to detail
Physical stamina
Good vision

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2018 to 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 5%.


New jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2018 and 2028, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.


Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.


Career progression

Umpires usually begin their careers by officiating high school sporting events. Eventually, they may move on to junior, varsity or collegiate level.

There is also the prospect of officiating games at a professional minor level. Those who aspire to officiate professional baseball games, for instance, can enroll in a training school to enhance their careers. After 7 to 10 years of experience, umpires have the opportunity to advance to the major leagues.

Working conditions

Average hours

20h/ week

Typical schedule

Part Time

Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally

Umpires work in both indoor and outdoor environments such as football stadiums, baseball pitches or hockey rinks. They are usually exposed to all kinds of weather conditions and are often required to travel to the sporting event locations, on a local, national and international basis.

Physical stamina is needed for this role, as the majority of time is spent on your feet, running, sprinting or jogging to keep up with a game’s activities.

An umpire’s job can be stressful and filled with pressure, as they must make split-second rulings. Most often, they face criticism and disagreements from sports players, coaches and fans.


Bottom 10%




Top 10%


Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

High school

Educational requirements vary

Study time


Entry requirements to become an umpire vary by state and relevant sports association. While some require no formal education, others may need aspiring umpires to have at least a high school diploma.

You will also typically need to participate in training sessions and seminars before, during and after the season to learn about any game rule changes, and review your performances.

Those who are interested in working for high school athletic events must register with the state or local agency that manages high school athletics. They will also take an exam and umpiring classes.

Umpires must have extensive knowledge of the sport they are officiating. This is usually achieved through training sessions or camps. Experience playing the sport itself is also useful but not necessary.

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022

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