How Much Does a High School Referee Make?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Sports officials such as referees and umpires are necessary to enforce rules at all levels of sport. Thousands of high schools exist throughout the nation, each of which is likely to have several different sports teams that need officials to oversee games.

Average Income of All Referees

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income of all referees and umpires in the U.S. was $28,900 in May 2010. The median income of workers in the occupation was $22,840 and the top 10 percent of workers earned $50,350 or more while the bottom 10 percent earned $16,310 or less. The middle 50 percent of income earners in the occupation made between $18,180 and $34,100.

High School Referee Income

Bureau of Labor Statistics data show that high school referees earn significantly more than the average for all referees. The bureau states that referees, umpires and other sports officials working for elementary schools and secondary schools earned $36,320 on average, as of May 2010. This means that the average grade school or high school referee is in the top 25 percent of income earners for all referees.

Top States

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May 2010, the top paying state for referees, umpires and sports officials was Michigan and that workers in the state earned $59,470 on average. Workers in Pennsylvania earned $43,510 on average while workers in Vermont earned $42,100 on average.


Referees often work on a part time or seasonal basis. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it may calculate annual income data based upon hourly wages and 2,080 hours of annual work, but if a referee only works for a few months or on a part-time basis, actual income earned in a year might be less than annual income figures cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many referees have other full-time jobs and oversee sporting events as a way to make extra money.