It is known that college football coaches make careers out of their jobs and that their players can become professionals, but the referees often go unnoticed. Ever present, it appears that referees must be making a living on the field as well. How much money does a college football referee make though?
College football referees make an annual salary ranging from $15,000 to over $300,000. The amount of money that referees make per year is dependent on the division level of the college they are refereeing for and how many games they officiate, as college football referees get paid per game.
Is becoming a college football referee hard? How much can a person expect to make should they enter the referee world? This article will address these and other topics.
Higher Paying Divisions and Areas
Different colleges and different areas of the United States tend to pay different amounts of money to college football referees. If a referee is officiating for a Division I, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regulated college football league, their pay will be higher than if they were officiating for a Division II or Division II league.
In San Francisco, college football referees who officiate in the bounds of the NCAA typically have the highest salaries.
Ranges of Salary
Various sources give different ranges of money that a college football referee could make in a year. The lowest amount of money a referee will likely get paid is around $11,000 annually. In general, if a referee is working in an NCAA division, they will make around $50-61k per year, which is higher than the national average. If a person is working as a college football referee in San Francisco, they will make roughly $96k in a year. However, how much a referee makes per year varies depending on many different factors.
Most college football referees actually have an additional job on top of refereeing. College refereeing is a part-time job. The job itself is seasonal and competitive, so even if the income is pretty reliable, many individuals in this work field choose to have another source of income. Especially because of the wide range of money a college football referee might make in a year, some may rely more on having another job in order to have a higher standard of living.
To some degree, referees have the liberty of making their own schedules. They are offered opportunities to take jobs or to referee games and make commissions on them. This factors into how much money they will make that year, how reliable they are, how known they will be, and therefore how likely they are to be hired in the future.
Referees get to opt out at any time, have as much time off as they like, and are their own contractors. There are only so many games to officiate per season, though. Additionally, there isn’t compensation for canceling jobs. In large part, referees have other jobs for financial security and for future security in things like health insurance and retirement.
Many of the jobs that referees have outside of their striped shirts and whistled uniforms are completely unrelated to football. College football referees are generally, if not always, required to have a higher level of education. Some even have a master’s degree.
Higher levels of education assist not only in being hired as a college football referee but in other higher-paying jobs as well, as it ensures that people will be able to find a steady job when not refereeing.
Just like everyone else, referees have to pay taxes. College football referees may pay as much as 22% in taxes. So, if their income is about $57k a year, they’ll end up with about $52k of actual take-home money.
However, when considering how much money referees pay in taxes, you have to consider how much money they make at their day-to-day job as well as their refereeing job.
How to Become a Referee
Becoming a college football referee is much more difficult than one may imagine, and it is a highly competitive field. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid to watch college football games? The hiring process is extensive and very time-consuming. In order to become a referee, a person must undergo courses and programs, and receive certificates and training before even being qualified to apply or be considered an eligible candidate to apply for a college football referee position.
Once they acquire the necessary requisites, an applicant must then compete against many other people applying for the same job position. Referees usually have master’s degrees, high amounts of education, and, of course, extensive knowledge about the sport. It is important for a referee to have good networking skills and connections as well as a trustworthy character.
A question you may want to ask yourself is, “is it worth it to become qualified to be a college football referee?” Becoming a referee is costly in time and in education, but is valuable in experience and can pay off both in money and enjoyment if the candidate loves the sport. These are good and bad things about becoming a college football referee.
How to Get Higher-Paying Referee Jobs
Almost every person starting out as a referee will start small. The first few jobs won’t be in the big leagues; but like every job, the more experience one has, the more opportunities will open up.
Even though a referee is off to the sidelines during every game, their judgments affect the outcome of all plays. It is important to hire referees that have integrity and that are reliable, honest, and unbiased so as to ensure games are played fairly. A good, trustworthy, and knowledgeable referee is more likely to be hired again, kept on the job, and have a more promising career than a referee that doesn’t have these attributes. These attributes can lead to establishing a name for ones’ self and higher-paying jobs in the future as well.
Overall, college football game referees make a lot of money every year, but exactly how much they make varies.