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 does the NBUA offer to its members?

    Training – The NBUA offers its members state of the art training for rules, field mechanics and game management.
    Mentorship – New umpires are paired with veterans to provide one-on-one guidance tailored to each person’s needs.
    Assignments – Games are assigned based on each umpire’s availability and skill level.
    Compensation – The NBUA negotiates and collects top level fees from client organizations and handles all the paperwork to distribute payments to its members.
    Feedback – NBUA umpires work together before and after each game to provide meaningful feedback for the purpose of making each member the best umpire they can be. 
    Evaluations – The NBUA maintains an evaluation system to help guide game assignments and the advancement of each member.
    Recognition – The NBUA  maintains several awards to recognize top performance by members and clients.  Going above and beyond does not go unnoticed.
    Community – Most of all, the NBUA is a family of umpires working together to have fun and share a common commitment to baseball, to excellence and to the people we serve.

What do I need to do to get started?

Fill out the new member information form found on this 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 $50 membership fee and a $50 training fee.  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.  Approximately 32 hours of training are offered to new members and you must attend at least 60% of the hours offered.  There are incentives to attend 75% or 100% of training.  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).  Our training is geared towards high school rules (National Federation of High Schools) but we address rule differences between NHFS and OBR throughout the training 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.  Game fees vary dependent on the age of the games and range from $52 to $85 per umpire per game.

How do I get paid?

Draws (up to 70% of your earnings) can be taken on a monthly basis starting in June.  Final checks are sent in October.  Checks are sent usually during the first of the month to your address on file in our assigning system (ArbiterSports.com).

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.