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Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials Job Outlook

Employment of umpires, referees, and other sports officials is expected to increase 20 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. A larger overall population that will continue to participate in organized sports for entertainment, recreation, and physical conditioning is expected to boost demand for umpires, referees, and sports officials.

Population growth is expected to lead to more schools, and more schools should result in more jobs for sports officials. However, funding for athletic programs often is cut first when budgets become tight. Still, the popularity of interscholastic sports often enables shortfalls to be offset with assistance from fundraisers, booster clubs, and parents.

In colleges, most of the expansion is expected to be in women’s sports.

Job Prospects

Overall job prospects for umpires, referees, and sports officials are expected to be good. Job opportunities should be best for people seeking part-time umpire, referee, and other sports official jobs at the high school level.

Officials in women’s sports may have better job opportunities and face less competition for positions. Competition is expected for higher-paying jobs at the college level and will be even greater for jobs in professional sports.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition