How do I become a professional umpire?
The first step to pursuing a career as a professional umpire is to attend an MLB Umpire Camp, where you will be observed and taught by Major League Baseball’s Umpire Supervisory Staff. The MLB Umpire Camps are nationwide at no cost for anyone to attend. At the conclusion of all one-day MLB Umpire Camps nationwide, finalists will continue to undergo a vetting process and, if successful, will be invited to the MLB Umpire Prospect Development Camp at the Jackie Robinson Training Complex in Vero Beach, Fla. This invite-only, all-expenses paid, four-week course convenes in January.
During the MLB Umpire Prospect Development Camp, each umpire's performance and abilities are evaluated by the Major League Baseball Umpire Development staff. At the conclusion of the course, positions are offered into Minor League Baseball, where an umpire begins their professional career.
There are five levels of Minor League Baseball. In a new and improved Umpire Development Process, umpires are afforded the opportunity to skip levels based on performance and potential, which aligns more with the player development process.
A professional umpire’s season typically runs from Spring Training in March through the end of the regular season which is mid-September for Minor League umpires, and October for Major League umpires.
What do I need to become a professional umpire?
The job of a professional baseball umpire requires quick thinking, common sense, and confidence. When the ball is in play, the umpire sees the action, assesses the situation, and makes the call -- all in a matter of seconds. The successful umpire has a thorough knowledge of the rulebook, is even-tempered, and is mentally strong enough to handle situations under stressful conditions. A professional umpire is expected to hustle, be alert, be in excellent physical condition, and have a neat appearance.
Umpires seeking a job in professional baseball must meet some basic requirements. Each applicant must have:
- High school diploma or G.E.D.
- Reasonable body weight
- 20/20 vision (with or without glasses or contact lenses)
- Good communication skills
- Quick reflexes and good coordination
- Some athletic ability
- Required preliminary training for the job (i.e., MLB Umpire Camp invitee)
2024 MLB Umpire Camps cities and dates will be announced soon.
Major League Baseball Umpire Camps
1271 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020