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Career profile Athletics Official

Also known as Basketball Referee, Commissioner of Officials, Director of Officiating, Diving Judge, Horse Show Judge, Major League Baseball Umpire, Referee, Softball Umpire, Sports Official

Athletics Official

Also known as Basketball Referee, Commissioner of Officials, Director of Officiating

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$18,750 - $63,480 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Speaking
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Education and Training
  • Administration and Management
  • Customer and Personal Service
Core tasks
  • Officiate at sporting events, games, or competitions, to maintain standards of play and to ensure that game rules are observed.
  • Judge performances in sporting competitions to award points, impose scoring penalties, and determine results.
  • Inspect game sites for compliance with regulations or safety requirements.
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What does an Athletics Official do?

Athletics Officials officiate at competitive athletic or sporting events.

In addition, Athletics Officials

  • detect infractions of rules and decide penalties according to established regulations,
  • includes all sporting officials, referees, and competition judges.

What kind of tasks does an Athletics Official perform regularly?

Athletics Officials are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Officiate at sporting events, games, or competitions, to maintain standards of play and to ensure that game rules are observed.
  • Inspect game sites for compliance with regulations or safety requirements.
  • Resolve claims of rule infractions or complaints by participants and assess any necessary penalties, according to regulations.
  • Signal participants or other officials to make them aware of infractions or to otherwise regulate play or competition.
  • Teach and explain the rules and regulations governing a specific sport.
  • Inspect sporting equipment or examine participants to ensure compliance with event and safety regulations.
  • Report to regulating organizations regarding sporting activities, complaints made, and actions taken or needed, such as fines or other disciplinary actions.
  • Confer with other sporting officials, coaches, players, and facility managers to provide information, coordinate activities, and discuss problems.

The above responsibilities are specific to Athletics Officials. More generally, Athletics Officials are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is an Athletics Official salary?

The median salary for an Athletics Official is $28,940, and the average salary is $40,140. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Athletics Official salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Athletics Officials earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Athletics Officials earn less than $18,750 per year, 25% earn less than $22,560, 75% earn less than $45,590, and 90% earn less than $63,480.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Athletics Officials is expected to change by 29.7%, and there should be roughly 3,800 open positions for Athletics Officials every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$18,750 - $63,480
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Athletics Officials?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Athletics Official are usually higher in their Realistic, Enterprising, and Conventional interests.

Athletics Officials typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Athletics Officials typically have very strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Lastly, Athletics Officials typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Athletics Official tend to value Achievement, Independence, and Recognition.

Most importantly, Athletics Officials strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Athletics Officials moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Athletics Officials moderately value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Athletics Officials must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, self-control, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Athletics Officials, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

What education and training do Athletics Officials need?

Working as an Athletics Official usually requires a high school diploma.

Athletics Officials need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Athletics Officials

  • 4.3% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 13.8% completed high school or secondary school
  • 24.6% completed some college coursework
  • 8.1% earned a Associate's degree
  • 27.3% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 17.9% earned a Master's degree
  • 4.0% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Athletics Officials

Athletics Officials may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as education and training, administration and management, or customer and personal service knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Athletics Officials might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

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.
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.
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.
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.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.

Important Abilities needed by Athletics Officials

Athletics Officials must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Athletics Officials need abilities such as oral expression, far vision, and oral comprehension in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Athletics Officials, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Far Vision
The ability to see details at a distance.
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Athletics Officials

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Athletics Officials frequently use skills like speaking, critical thinking, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Athletics Officials, ranked by their relative importance.

Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
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.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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