Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials

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Also known as:
Athletic Events Scorer, Baseball Umpire, Diving Judge, Dressage Judge, Equestrian Events Judge, Handicapper, Horse Show Judge, Paddock Judge, Pit Steward, Placing Judge

Video transcript

These are the people sports fans love to hate. Professional and amateur sporting events require impartial officiating to make sure all the rules are followed. Umpires, referees, and other sporting officials keep a close eye on the game to keep all play fair.

The responsibilities vary depending on the sport. Before game time, these officials may inspect the grounds and equipment and even examine players. They check that safety and event regulations are observed and that eligibility requirements have been met.

Once the action starts, they may keep track of time, scores, and stats. They often serve as judges. You need a sharp eye and the ability to focus intently on the action while tuning out the distractions all around. Be prepared to be out in all sorts of weather, often at night, weekends, and holidays.

Umpires and referees detect infractions of the rules, often stopping the action to call the problem and assess appropriate penalties on the spot. This can cause some heated arguments. A cool head and a strong command of the rule book are essential.

Getting a job in sports is rarely a slam dunk. The field is so popular, competition is fierce, and entry level salaries tend to be low. To get ahead of the pack, officials need more training and expertise than ever. Even with experience and certification from various associations, many professional sports officials find only part-time work. But when they do, they've got the best seats in the house.

Officiate at competitive athletic or sporting events. Detect infractions of rules and decide penalties according to established regulations. Includes all sporting officials, referees, and competition judges.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Report to regulating organizations regarding sporting activities, complaints made, and actions taken or needed, such as fines or other disciplinary actions.

Verify scoring calculations before competition winners are announced.

Teach and explain the rules and regulations governing a specific sport.

Keep track of event times, including race times and elapsed time during game segments, starting or stopping play when necessary.

Confer with other sporting officials, coaches, players, and facility managers to provide information, coordinate activities, and discuss problems.

Judge performances in sporting competitions to award points, impose scoring penalties, and determine results.

Resolve claims of rule infractions or complaints by participants and assess any necessary penalties, according to regulations.

Start races and competitions.

Signal participants or other officials to make them aware of infractions or to otherwise regulate play or competition.

Inspect sporting equipment or examine participants to ensure compliance with event and safety regulations.

Direct participants to assigned areas, such as starting blocks or penalty areas.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.