Sport, Fitness & Recreation

Sports Umpire or Referee

Umpires and referees oversee and control competitive athletic or sporting events to make sure the rules of the game are followed and upheld.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Sports Umpire or Referee do?

Umpires and referees oversee and control competitive athletic or sporting events to make sure the rules of the game are followed and upheld.

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Work activities

As a sports umpire or referee, you would:

  • officiate at sporting events, games, or competitions, to maintain standards of play
  • ensure that the rules of the game are observed
  • regulate play or competition by signalling to participants or other officials
  • inspect sporting equipment and/or examine participants in order to ensure compliance with event and safety regulations
  • keep track of event times, including race times and elapsed time during game segments
  • start or stop play when necessary
  • enforce the rules of the game or competition, and give penalties when necessary
  • judge performances in sporting competitions in order to award points, or determine results
  • start races and competitions.
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Key skills and interests

To become a sports umpire or referee, you would need:

  • a thorough understanding of the rules of the game or sport you are overseeing
  • confidence to make difficult decisions
  • good people management skills
  • good teamwork skills
  • the ability to remain objective
  • good physical fitness
  • excellent observational skills
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure.
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Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

Sports umpires or referees often work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Conditions

More than 75% of all sports umpires or coaches in Australia are unpaid volunteers. Umpires, referees, and other sports officials work in sports stadiums, arenas and on playing fields. They work indoors and outdoors, in all types of weather.

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How to become an Sports Umpire or Referee?

Entry Level Education

Educational requirements for sports umpires or referees vary and are sometimes determined by the appropriate local or national sports association or governing body. Training requirements also vary by State and the level and type of sport. All sports umpires or referees, however, require extensive knowledge of the rules of the game.

Sports with national governance, and which are paid at a professional level, often run accredited courses for people wanting to work as umpires or referees.

A small number of private agencies provide paid roles for sports referees. To work with these agencies, you would need to pass a Working With Children check.

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Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

Employment of umpires, referees, and other sports officials is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Job prospects for paid employment are likely to be best at high school levels or at senior levels in adult sport.

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