Most baseball enthusiasts are armchair umpires. If you love the sport of baseball and have some free time, there’s no reason you can’t be an umpire for real. There are many little league, high school and college leagues that hire umpires part-time and with a little training, hard work and the right availability, you can be the one calling the shots on the field.
Doesn’t that sound like more fun then screaming at the television?
How Much Do Umpires Make?
As with any part-time job, your pay is going to be tied to how much you can work. Generally, umpires are paid per game that they officiate. Thanks to the structure of baseball tournaments, especially for little league, it means that you might be able to call several games in a single day.
The pay scale depends on the level of play that you are umpping. Little league pays between $25 and $50 per game. High school starts at around $50 or more. College ball pays over $100 per game.
Availability is also an essential element to earning more money as a part-time umpire. While little league usually runs concurrent with a normal work schedule, high school and college games can occur in the middle of the day. If you have a flexible schedule, you will likely be called to ref more games.
Requirements for Becoming an Umpire
Rules are going to vary from state to state and league to league. However, at minimum you will need to take a test to demonstrate your knowledge of baseball rules.
Other common requirements include:
- Certification: especially for high school umpires
- Umpire classes and clinics
- Background check
- Registration and fees for membership in a regional or national umpire association
In addition to meeting all the knowledge and background requirements, you also need to be able to meet the physical demands of being an umpire. You must have good vision and quick reflexes. You must be able to make quick decisions and maintain an authoritative presence in public. Often, you need to be able to handle tense situations.
Where to Start
Have I sold you already? If you think you are ready to make a little extra money officiating baseball games, you probably want to know where to start.
Little league is the best place. As you gain experience and network, you’ll find opportunities to expand into high school and college.
Most little leagues run through a local town or county athletic department. You will want to speak with a program director. For high school and college levels, there is usually a head umpire, known as the Umpire in Charge, that handles assigning games.
There are a number of umpire associations that are relatively inexpensive and offer resources for finding jobs. One of the largest is the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). There is also the Amateur Baseball Umpires’ Association (ABUA). These groups offer certifications, trainings and a connection to other umpires in your area.
Game on! Would you umpire a baseball game for extra money?