New Umpires FAQ

Who can be an NBUA umpire?

Anyone 18 years and older can apply to be an NBUA umpire.  With parental approval, younger applicants will be considered.

What do I need to do to get started?

Fill out the new member information form found on the NBUA website.  You will be required to attend training, sign the Member Service Agreement, take the high school rules test, and pass a background check.  In addition, there is a fee which pays for your Washington Officials Association and National Association of Sports Officials membership.  You are responsible for procuring your own gear.

Do I need to have umpire experience to join NBUA?

No.  While having knowledge of the game is essential, prior umpire experience is not a requirement.

What training do you provide?

For new umpires, NBUA provides a combination of classroom training sessions, batting cage drills, and field training sessions.  Training is offered to new members and you must attend at least 60% of the hours offered.  Training starts in mid-January and ends in early March.  Training is conducted by NBUA members and professional umpires.  NBUA will provide rule books and other training materials.  Additional information can be found on-line (e.g., Official Baseball Rules (OBR)).  Our training is geared towards OBR but includes the differences that pertain to high school rules (National Federation of High Schools (NFHS)).

In addition, new umpires are paired with a mentor for their first two seasons of work.  Mentors are umpires with many years of experience who can provide a novice with a personal contact that helps them through their first few games and who stand as a reference for all manner of questions as they get into the program.

Are umpires in Washington State Independent Contractors or employees?

Umpires who work game assignments for NBUA are not employees, they are Independent Contractors and must accept and abide by the NBUA Member Service Agreement prior to receiving game assignments.  The number of game assignments, levels assigned and days/dates/times are not guaranteed. 

How much could I earn in a season?

It should be stressed that money should not be the primary motivation to umpire.  Games fees vary dependent on the age of the games and range from $52 to $90 per umpire per game. 

How do I get paid?

As of 2021, new systems were put in place to pay you (up to 70% of your earnings) directly on a monthly basis via ADP (My Wisely App) starting in April and continuing until October.  Final payment is made in October.   For school contests game fees are paid directly from the WOA to you (via Arbiter Pay) within 24-48 hours of the game, provided a report for the game was submitted.  Please note that the WOA will deduct your WOA membership dues from your earnings each season. If your only sport officiated is baseball, they will also deduct the NASO membership fee, that pays for your liability, assault and other insurance and your subscription to Referee Magazine,  from your earnings. If you officiate multiple sports, that is only a once-yearly deduction..

When and where can I expect to work games?

Our service area is King County and we work games starting in March with the onset of the high school season and finish in October with Fall ball.  During that time, we work games for ages 13 and older and officiate over 5500 games a year.   Where and how often you work is dependent on your availability and is something our assignor will work with you on. 

What level of baseball games can I expect to umpire?

While no one is guaranteed any specific level of game, your ability will dictate what level of game you are assigned to.  Typically, new umpires will work high school JV and “C” team games and 13-16 year old summer games.  As your skill level increases, the level of game you work will increase.

How does NBUA rank umpires?

While we don’t rank umpires we have a tier system based on umpire abilities.  Typically, new umpires are in the Apprentice Tier.  If you have prior experience you may be assigned to a higher tier (Tournament, A, B, C).  Tier assignment is mainly determined by your ability on the field which is assessed by peer evaluations and formal observations.  Compliance with training requirements is essential to being promoted.

How is the NBUA managed? 

The NBUA is governed by By-Laws and Policies & Procedures.  The Board of Directors are elected by the membership and serve the membership on a volunteer basis.  Board positions (President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) are elected by the Board of Directors.  In addition, Committee Directors (Finance, Training, Evaluations, Recruiting and Retention, Member Services and Communications, By-Laws and Policies & Procedures) are elected by Board Members.  Committees are staffed by both Board and non-Board members.

The NBUA Board of Directors and Assignor oversee day-to-day operations.  Monthly Board of Directors meetings are held and the meeting minutes are published for member review.