How to Become a Baseball Umpire

Content provided for general information. Always talk to your tax advisor before making important decisions.

I may receive a referral fee if you use linked products or services.

If you’re looking to become a baseball umpire, there are several available paths.

Little League

There is no formal structure for Little League and other youth-level games. Umpires are hired by local leagues or contracted umpire groups.

Most areas have an umpire clinic to give you training and test you on the rules. You’ll then start on the lowest age games that use umpires and work your way up.

How much do Little League umpires get paid?

Little League baseball game pay varies widely by area.

Some areas operate on a completely volunteer basis. When leagues pay, it can range from a small stipend to offset expenses to hourly pay of $20 to $30 or more.

If you do get paid, you’ll usually get a 1099. See this Umpire Tax Guide to learn more.

High School

Most high school baseball is played under a state high school athletic association. To be a high school umpire, you’ll have to register with your state and pay a registration fee.

There’s usually no experience required, but you will have to pass a rules test. Some areas have no formal training program, while others may require you to attend clinics.

College

Moving up to the college level usually requires several years of experience at the Little League or High School level. Most college umpires start in NAIA or NCAA Division III before having the chance to move up to higher divisions and bigger conferences.

Each conference contracts with a conference commissioner or umpiring supervisor who assigns umpires. If you’re not already a college umpire, you may need to attend an umpire school or camp to be considered for selection.

Current umpires may also have to attend training camps but will mainly advance based on performance.

Professional Baseball

Minor League and Major League Baseball have their own umpiring system.

The first step to potentially umpiring professional baseball is to attend a professional umpire school organized by Minor League Baseball in January or February each year. No experience is required other than a high school diploma, but the selection process is very competitive.

Only a small number of umpires move on from the professional umpire school to an Advanced Course. The Advanced Course provides additional training and evaluations. The best umpires from the Advanced Course may be invited to join the minor league level at Rookie or Short-A.

Umpires advance through the minor leagues and potentially to the major league level based on game evaluations and ongoing training camps.

How much do umpires get paid in the professional leagues?

Minor league umpire pay starts at around $2,000 per month. The leagues also cover other expenses such as per diem while traveling, a leased vehicle, and lodging.

Triple AAA umpires make around $3,000 per month and can qualify for additional benefits such as healthcare.

A major league umpire can make between $100,000 to $400,000 per year. Of course, there are more Minor League Baseball teams than Major League Baseball teams, so trying to advance to the major leagues is very competitive.

Do umpires pay for travel?

All professional leagues and most college conferences pay for travel. This usually includes flights and hotels.

At the lower levels, leagues may use more local umpires and only reimburse for mileage and game-day expenses.

Umpires may have to pay their own way to attend a professional umpire training school or other umpire training academy.

Do professional umpires have other jobs?

Most professional umpires have other jobs. This usually includes off-season work or flexible part-time jobs during the season.

The demands of being a minor league baseball umpire make it difficult to hold a full-time job at the same time.

Is being an umpire a good job for teenagers?

This is a question that will really depend on the league you’re in. Some leagues emphasize fun and learning, and becoming an umpire gives teenagers good experience.

Other leagues have psycho parents and psycho coaches that abuse all of the umpires, so they only try to hire teenagers because no one else will do the games. You really have to make sure you know how the league operates.

How much do MLB batboys make?

Most MLB batboys start at around $10 per hour. This is still a desirable job because batboys get to be on the field during major league games. It can be hard to get this job without having some sort of personal connection to someone in the team’s management.

Teenagers looking for other baseball jobs should check with their local minor league teams for potential openings.

What are the requirements to umpire softball?

Softball works similarly to baseball. Some youth and high school groups combine baseball and softball umpires. Others have separate programs.

College softball umpires are usually separate from college baseball umpires.

While the rules of baseball and softball are different, many umpire skills transfer between the two sports. If you’re trying to become a professional baseball umpire, adding on softball can help you gain additional experience.

Thanks for reading.

If you found this post useful, please help others find it by sharing on social or linking from your blog.

Get monthly tips and tax reminders in your inbox.

Leave a Comment

You can leave an anonymous question or comment below. All comments are public, so please don't include any sensitive information. If you need personalized advice, please talk to a tax advisor or other appropriate professional.