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High School Football Referee's Salary

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Refereeing high school football games is a way for teachers, and those interested in the development of student-athletes, to supplement their income. At the high school level, referees are hired from local areas and sometimes travel regionally to work games. Referees are commonly paid per game. The amount of pay depends on which level of football is being officiated.

Job Description

High school football referees are responsible for officiating games while on the field. They observe plays and enforce rules by imposing penalties for rule infractions. Because games are held in the evenings and on weekends, referees often work irregular hours. Unlike boxing or tennis officials, high school football referees work in teams of four or six. Each is responsible for different areas of the field and specific players. For example, the head referee usually watches the quarterback during pass plays, while other officials observe receivers and other players.

Education and Training

High school football referees are required to be thoroughly familiar with football rules. While a college degree is not required, most states and leagues require officials to complete high school or obtain a GED. Most states also require referees to complete a training course and pass a written sports officiating examination.

Salary Ranges

High school football referees are in the same employment category as umpires and other sports officials, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. Almost all are part time and earn approximately $40 to $70 per game for junior varsity games and about $65 to $100 on the varsity level. Industrywide, referees, umpires and other officials earned an average salary of nearly $23,000 per year, the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics reported in 2010.

Top-Paying States

High school football referees and other sports officials are employed throughout the country. However, they are paid the most in Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Vermont. In those states, officials earn an average salary of between nearly $42,000 and $60,000 per year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2010. In the top-paying market of greater Pittsburgh, officials earned more than $82,000.


Jim Hagerty is a writer and journalist who began writing professionally in 1996. He has had articles published in the "Rock River Times," "Builder's Journal" and various websites. He earned a Bachelor of Science in public relations and journalism from Northern Michigan University in Marquette.