RALLYING WITH THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
While it still takes knowledge, patience, integrity, fortitude and a USTA membership to achieve certification, some recent changes have made it easier to reach that goal.
You no longer have to wait for a class to form to receive your initial education. The USTA has moved the instruction and information to online modules so you can now learn and progress at your own pace and time to complete the modular courses. The first segment provides a background about officiating and helps you determine if officiating is the right call for you. The subsequent modules address the rules and regulations of tennis.
Upon successful completion of the online courses, you must pass a background check and a Safe Play screening paid for by the USTA. After that, you are on the court for approximately 40 hours over several weekends shadowing a veteran USTA Official to see how to apply theory to on-court situations. The shadowing occurs at local junior tournaments held in Southern California. After successful completion of shadow officiating, you are ready to be assigned to a tournament as a real official earning approximately $140 per 8-hour shift with overtime pay of $20/hour. You’ll be officiating local junior and adult tournaments. You can move up to Sectional championships with options to work collegiate and professional matches as you gain more experience over the years. It takes, on average, 4 to 8 years to earn your way to Flushing Meadows to work the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.
There is no one right personality for a successful official; however, all successful officials know how to take control of a situation, make decisions in difficult circumstances, work well with others, and love tennis. While you are paid to officiate, most matches occur on the weekend, and it may not provide enough income to be a full-time occupation unless you reach the highest level and work professional tennis matches. Most people become officials because they want to give back to tennis and help promote sportsmanship and fair play. College students, parents, teaching professionals, empty nesters, and retirees make up the ranks of officials. If you think you have the calling to be a USTA Official, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will direct you to your next step.