How to Become a Baseball Umpire? – 6 Steps to Do

A. Coatess

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A. Coatess



Sean Hunter

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how to become a baseball umpire

In every baseball game, you would see an umpire on the Homeplate, ready to oversee the whole game. Plus, they ensure that a fair and unbiased decision is made whenever a dispute arises.

We always see these honorable umpires, but how to become a baseball umpire is an entirely different story. Like the players, they need to fit into certain requirements and undergo accreditation.

In this article, let us get into the general steps of getting closer to being a dedicated baseball umpire.

Overview of Being a Baseball Umpire


All sports have an officiating team or a mediating body. In baseball, a professional umpire is the one tasked to oversee the games. For example, they would be the go-to mediators for determining what happens in every inning. Or, they would call balls, strikes, or outs.

Aside from implementing the rules, the local umpire makes sure that everything is in order and that players and coaches follow the rules. Without them, it would be utter chaos on the playing field!

Being a game official means that the task needs to be handled by a trained professional. The same goes for baseball umpires in the major leagues.

To become an MLB umpire, they need to fit the requirements, understand the game, and undergo training to ensure they have the required expertise.

Requirements to Become a Baseball Umpire


Umpire associations usually have different requirements. Usually, the MLB umpire requirements are the most stringent, given its prestige in the baseball community.

The requirements are divided into the following:

  • Physical Requirements

An umpire must be physically fit, with good body coordination and quick reflexes. Moreover, they must have some athletic ability.

Even if umpires are not the athletes playing, they should still be resilient in staying under the sun for long games. So having robust physical health is required.

Having perfect eyesight is also essential, and the umpire must have 20/20 vision, whether they have eyeglasses or not.

  • Knowledge and Skills

Baseball umpiring certifications are given only to those who show the necessary knowledge and skills to officiate a game.

A common trend for umpires is to carefully hone their skills in understanding and implementing baseball rules as they go along different leagues. Most umpires start in the minor league or as a high school umpire and then work their way up to the majors.

In addition, an umpire should have strong communication skills to explain the rules, manage conflicts, and maintain control of the game.

  • Education and Training

Umpires need to have at least a high school diploma or a GED (General Educational Development Test). But when aiming for the major league, they need to undergo further training in professional umpire schools.

Examples of schools open for umpires-in-training are the Jim Evans Academy in Colorado and the Umpire School in Florida.

Step-by-step Guide to Becoming a Baseball Umpire

It may be overwhelming to be part of the major league umpire. But you can always work your way up! Make sure to be guided by the following steps to becoming a baseball umpire:

Step 1. Know the level you prefer to umpire.


The first step is to always have a clear vision of your plans. There are different levels of play that you can umpire. If you are just starting out with little to no experience, you can try being an umpire for youth baseball.

From here, they can work their way up to the collegiate games or even the minor league! However, each league higher means that the authorities would be more stringent on the requirements.

Step 2. Look for the specific certification requirements of your preferred level.


Local authorities usually provide specific requirements for high school and college baseball games. On the other hand, professional games need full training and complete certifications to umpire.

Either way, it would be a prudent step to know the specifics of what you are applying for. This helps you be more efficient in meeting the needed paperwork and experience!

Step 3. Study every rule in baseball.


After getting an idea of what league you prefer to umpire in and their specific requirements, it is now time to work on your skills.

Begin by learning every rule in baseball. If you also play the game, this step would be a lot easier. Otherwise, make sure to watch lots of games to familiarize yourself with strikes, hits, runs, and much more.

When watching games, try to observe the umpire’s behavior. Have a grasp of their professionalism as the game goes on. It is also recommended to take down notes as you watch to help you remember essential details.

Step 4. Buy the needed equipment and protective gear for baseball umpires.


Before jumping into the next step, purchase the necessary equipment and protective gear for umpires.

Purchase good quality chest guards, masks, shin guards, and plate shoes. Even if you would just be starting to gain experience, good quality gear will go a long way!

Step 5. Gain experience and attend accredited training.


Complete the needed requirements in being an umpire by gaining experience. You can attend games and be a spectator to understand the basics of being an umpire. Some local authorities allow volunteers to be umpires to give them the needed experience.

Or, local workshops are accessible options for aspiring umpires and help in gaining the starting experiences needed.

But it would be a different story if you prefer to enter the minor or major league. Formal training in accredited umpire schools is needed. Here, individuals need to complete courses, pass the umpires test, and subsequently receive a certificate.

Step 6. Maintain your umpire certifications.

Many umpire certifications expire after four years, and they would need to renew their credentials. This is the case in most major leagues. So, be vigilant and take note of the need to renew your certification to avoid mishaps in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions


How much do MLB umpires get paid?

The umpire salary in the MLB is estimated to be $300,000 annually. Furthermore, they may be accompanied by health insurance, pension plans, and other benefits.

Of course, the compensation varies depending on the type of league, with the MLB being the most generous in terms of salary.

How long does it take to be a certified umpire?

Certifications from a professional umpire school would be given after completing a five-week training. After this period, the individual would be a certified umpire for the professional league.

However, keep in mind that the accreditation usually lobbies on the existing credentials and experience of the umpire. The more experience an umpire has in officiating the game, the more chances they have to be hired in the major or minor leagues.

Are there any age restrictions for becoming a baseball umpire?

Baseball umpires must be at least 21 years old for the adult leagues. On the other hand, individuals at age 13 to 20 years old may be junior umpires and may be accredited in teen baseball games.

Can women pursue a career as baseball umpires?

Women are uncommon in MLB umpire assignments, but it is not necessarily impossible. For instance, the most famous female umpire was Pam Postema, who was an umpire in the minor league for 13 years.

Still, female umpires are rare, especially at the major level.

What are some common challenges faced by baseball umpires?

Baseball umpires need to have the greatest resolve and a whole lot of patience. In the big games, they may be faced with complaints or disputes from the players and coaches. Here, they must be prepared to stand firm on their decision and implement the best application of the rules.

Furthermore, baseball umpires also have demanding schedules in the major and minor leagues. During the baseball season, they may be faced with a tough working schedule as games are scheduled back-to-back all the time!


A baseball game would not push through without their trusted umpires officiating the game. And this is a task as significant as the baseball players!

This article showed a general overview of how to become a baseball umpire. There needs to be adequate training and certification before being an umpire.

Of course, one needs to be knowledgeable about the game and must be physically fit to stay in the field for long periods.

Essentially, as long as you fit in the qualifications set by the league or local baseball association, then you are good to go!

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