Welcome to Umpire School HQ! Our goal is to help you become an umpire.
If you’ve been thinking of becoming an umpire but you’re not sure where to begin, we can help you get started. We have information on what you need to do to become an umpire at the youth, college, and professional levels. We have statistics on umpire salary, links to umpire gear, and information on local umpire training schools and clinics.
Become a Baseball Umpire. What is your goal?
A baseball umpire is an individual, or group of individuals, responsible for officiating the game. They enforce the rules, make judgement calls, and discipline players and coaches when necessary. Sometimes umpires are addressed as Ump or “Blue“, referring to a historically common shirt color worn by umpires, however many professional umpires consider being called “Blue” a sign of disrespect.
In most baseball leagues, there are multiple umpires assigned to each game. In youth league games, there are typically two umpires, in adult amateur leagues games will usually have two to four, and in professional league (MLB & MiLB) games there are four and sometimes six, in the case of playoff games. There is usually one crew chief in the group who is typically the most senior member. At more amateur levels they usually serve as the home plate umpire, calling balls and strikes, while the other umpires on the crew work the bases and outfield.
Umpire Schools, Clinics and Camps
To become a professional MLB umpire requires years of rigorous training (normally 7-10) years and even then few actually get the change to umpire in Major League Baseball. If your goal is to be an MLB umpire you need to attend one of three Umpire Schools: The Umpire School at Vero Beach – run by MiLB, The Jim Evans’ Academy of Professional Umpiring, and The Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School – which is run by former umpire Harry Wendelstedt. There are no prerequisites for attending either school. However, it is considered a wise move to attend an Umpire Camp put on by Major League Baseball.
If you want to better understand the cost to attend a professional umpire school, read our post on umpire school cost.
Umpire Schools, Clinics and Camps by State:
Select your state from this drop down menu.
An umpire’s salary greatly depends on the league and level of play the umpire is managing. It can also vary greatly from region to region. You can read more about umpire pay here but unless your goal is to a MLB umpire it’s important to realize that the pay isn’t life changing. At a high level, here are some general expectations.
- Youth League umpire salary (7-12 year olds) – $15-30 per game
- Babe Ruth umpire salary (13-18 year olds) – $30-50 per game
- High School umpire salary – $40-70 per game (or more)
- NCAA umpire salary – $150 per game
- Minor League umpire salary – about $30,000 – $40,000 a year
- Major League umpire salary – about $120,000 – $300,000 a year
Umpire gear and safety equipment can be purchased at your local sporting goods store and at a number of online retailers. Depending on your association requirements, you may need to shop at their official umpire store or partner to get your uniform since uniform colors will vary from association to association. You can see a full list of umpire gear you will need on our How to Become and Umpire page and you can read more umpire gear here.
Major League Umpires
MLB umpires are a tight knit group. Altogether, there are 68 umpires in the majors. It takes years to become a Major League caliber umpire but once you’ve made your way to the big leagues you’re typically there until you retire. There are also some general requirements each umpire must meet, they include:
- Healthy body weight
- Good vision, 20/20 (corrective glasses / lenses are okay)
- High school diploma
- Good communication skills
- Quick reflexes, good coordination
- Training for the job (professional umpire school)
Joining an umpire association is the best way to find umpire jobs. Umpire associations are there to support their community of umpires. Becoming part of community is not only a great way to help you get your foot in the door but it can also be half the fun. Not to mention, some provide additional benefits like injury insurance.
One thing to keep in mind is that many associations also require a yearly or monthly fee to gain and retain membership status and to receive all the benefits they offer.Photo credits: lakelandlocal, andrewmalone, keithallison