Baseball Umpire Certification

The certification process for becoming a baseball umpire varies depending on the level of baseball you want to officiate. Get information on the training, experience and testing that's required for certification, and find out what you should look for when choosing an umpire training school. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Is Certification Required to Work as a Baseball Umpire?

While certification requirements vary according to the level of baseball for which you'll be working, some form of training and certification is almost always needed. Regulations for umpire training may be put in place by schools, universities, baseball associations and even the states in which you are hoping to become certified.

Some requirements can be very detailed, while others can be as easy as taking a 1-time test. No formal degree is needed, but you will want to be sure that you check every requirement to confirm that you qualify. Former playing or coaching experience may also be preferred, if not required, by some organizations.

Certification Options Certification and training is required for being an umpire
Earning Certification Low level youth umpiring may require short seminars to attain; upper level youth umpiring will require exams; professional umpires must attend onsite certification programs by the MLB; drug and background checks are often required
Major League Certification Umpires for MLB must attend an approved school
Median Salary (2018) $27,020 (for all umpires, referees, and other sports officials)*
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 8% growth (for all umpires, referees, and other sports officials)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does Certification Consist of?

Certification consists of different styles of training, testing and experience specific to the level of baseball that you will be participating in. For example, as a youth umpire, you may only be required to attend a talk given by an existing umpire. Once you've reached an upper level of youth umpiring, such as middle school or high school, you'll be required to take exams.

After the youth level, the regulations and procedures for becoming an umpire are more detailed. In some cases, you may be subject to drug testing and a background check to determine your eligibility for certification. To work as an umpire in professional baseball, you must attend an onsite certification program offered by a professional umpiring school that has been approved by Major League Baseball (MLB). These programs are over a month long and require classes and field conditioning.

Can I Become an Umpire in the Majors?

In order to become an umpire in the majors, you must attend a school that is recognized by MLB. Umpiring at the professional level is a time, money and travel commitment that is far deeper than for the other levels of umpiring. This is especially true because completion of certification will not guarantee you a spot as an umpire in professional baseball. Newly certified umpires often gain experience working in the different levels of minor league baseball before being selected for major league umpiring.

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