How to become an AIA Official:
Q: Who can become an AIA official?
A: Any individual who is 18 years old and not in high school may register with the AIA and officiate high school contests.
Q: I have participated in my sport, but I wasn't a star athlete. Should I bother trying to officiate?
A: It helps to have participated in the given sport you wish to officiate in, however, it is certainly not necessary to have been an outstanding performer.
Q: What does it take to become a good official?
A: It takes a lot of things, but most certainly a very thorough knowledge of the rules of your sport, a love of athletics and kids, physical ability, self-confidence, the dedications and determinations necessary to work hard, and above all, personal integrity. The athletes and coaches look upon each contest as being the most important thing happening in their lives at that moment, and the official must look upon each contest the same way and react accordingly. This avocation is not for everyone, but if you have the interest and the attributes described above, you may find this to be some of the most rewarding work you will ever be involved in.
Q: What are the benefits of officiating?
A: Individuals may look at this in different ways, but officials will generally tell you they:
A: This can vary somewhat from sport-to-sport, however, there are some basics you should know. First of all, the official is an independent contractor who enters into an agreement with the school and the AIA. It is also important to understand that in some sports it will take considerably longer to get to the level of working varsity competition than in others.
Q: Will officiating take up much of my time?
A: This obviously varies from person to person, however, it must be understood that to become a good official, one must be prepared to devote considerable time and energy. You have seen the officials at contest, however, you may not be aware that they probably had a meeting before that contest to discuss specific things, had many group meetings with other officials during the course of the year, have written required rules examinations, have attended a required rules interpretation meeting, etc. The list could go on and on, however, basically, as in most things, you improve according to your efforts.
Q: What will I get paid?
A: The pay schedule for regular season games is established by the AIA. Varsity contests obviously pay more that contest below the varsity level. You will find fees ranging from $30.00 for a non-varsity level contest to $60.00 for a varsity contest. Schools and conferences will pay you a mileage fee for your travel in addition to the game fee. Expect to spend some money on uniforms and equipment.
Q: What's the biggest adjustment I may need to make?
A: It is always difficult to go from being an athlete, perhaps one that is looked up to by other students and fans, to an official whom some people seem to believe can do nothing right. It is important to understand that the basic ingredient of officiating is that of being a decision maker, and sometimes the decisions won't please everybody. Once you clear this hurdle and realize that people will criticize you because you make necessary decisions rather than because you are a bad person and you can accept this fact, you are on your way. It is not easy.
Whats next? (Preliminaries)
Before you can register as an AIA official, you will need a valid Fingerprint Clearance card.
Due to a number of concerns - a tremendous backlog with the Department of Public Safety in turnaround time processing fingerprint card requests, new and transfer officials who cannot secure the card in time to receive assignments, and for the individuals whose prints cannot be lifted on the digital scan - the AIA has researched other possible options to accelerate the registration of officials and stay within the guidelines set forth by our Executive Board.
We are pleased to announce our partnership with CRIMSHIELD, an investigative agency that provides "crime free" credentials for officials. The average turnaround time with CRIMSHIELD is 3-5 business days. Officials will now have a choice to select to meet our requirements for registration:
For officials that have time constraints on securing a DPS Fingerprint Card, the CRIMSHIELD option is offered as an alternative for officials to register with the AIA in time to receive assignments. To access CRIMSHIELD, click here.
Officials who have been declined from DPS cannot re-submit with CRIMSHIELD. They must utilize the appeals process available through DPS.
Registration (The final step)
All Officials registrations are done online. Registration opens up June 1st each year. Click here to register. New officials will need to set up a user name and password to first begin the registration process. The registration fees are listed on the form.