How Much Do NFL Refs Make? Requirements To Be NFL Ref

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When compared to other sports leagues throughout the world, officiating in the NFL is a well-paid career when compared to the average wage. So, how much do NFL referees make per year?
Officials in the National Football League earn approximately $205,000 per year, according to major sports websites (including FanDuel).
What is the annual salary of an NFL referee? Do you know what the NFL referee compensation will be in 2022? TSC will assist you in learning about the compensation of NFL referees and the elements that influence that salary in this article.

What Is A Referee?

A referee, also known as a “ref,” is a person who serves as an official authority figure in a variety of sports. They remain on the sidelines as a neutral party in games, making split-second decisions and calls based on what they see and observe. Referees are in charge of enforcing the laws of the sport in which they are officiating, and they have the authority to dismiss participants for bad behavior. Referees in the National Football League (NFL) are held to greater standards than those in other sports, needing more advanced experience and better remuneration.

How Much Do NFL Referees Earn?

Football is one of the most popular recreational activities in the United States. While it continues to gain in popularity, the company has grown into a lucrative, multibillion-dollar enterprise. Salaries for all individuals affiliated with the National Football League, including referees, have been steadily increasing in recent years. The pay for NFL officials varies depending on their position and level of seniority, although the majority of them earn a substantial salary. In addition to their base income, NFL referees are eligible for a generous pension plan. Pension schemes, on the other hand, will soon be converted to 401(k) systems, following much debate.

NFL Referee Average Salary

A series of lockouts and demonstrations forced the NFL and the Referees Association to reach an agreement on increased remuneration for all game officials in the league. Referees in the National Football League now earn a pay of $205,000 per year, an increase of around $56,000 over their prior wage. As a point of contrast, the typical referee working outside of the NFL earns approximately $16.26 an hour.

Why Does The NFL Pay So Much?

Although the National Football League is a national sports provider, it is also a for-profit corporation. The games, the players, and the officials are all examples of their products. Because of the success of the league, those who are involved get celebrity status, which increases the worth of the league as a whole. Aside from that, they receive media access as well as additional compensation for brand marketing. Consider these persons to be salespeople, as they assist in the marketing of both items and the league as a whole. In the corporate world, salespeople are frequently compensated based on the amount of money they make for the company. The NFL generates billions of dollars in revenue each year, and their players and officials are compensated in proportion.

Requirements For NFL Referees

There are a few important prerequisites to meet in order to become an NFL referee. The only need for playing in the NFL is a significant amount of on-field experience. The following list goes into greater detail about the requirements in each area:


There are no formal educational requirements for working as a referee in the National Football League. However, it is generally required that those who are interested have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field of study prior to being considered. Those with a degree in Sports Medicine, Sports Management, or a related discipline will be more equipped for the position.


Candidates for the NFL referee position must have substantial on-field experience, which is one of the most important qualifications. The National Football League demands at least ten years of experience officiating football games. At least five of those ten games should be significant college contests, according to the NCAA.

Good health

All candidates for the role of any referee must be in good physical health. The role requires individuals to be on their feet for long periods of time, often running. Previous experience as football players or coaches helps, as those individuals are more prepared for the role.

How To Become An NFL Ref

Working your way up the ranks of the National Football League’s officiating staff will require time and effort. The NFL only hires players who have years of experience, extensive knowledge of the game, and availability on their schedules. The following stages will walk you through the process of becoming an NFL referee:

  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree.
  2. Obtain training.
  3. Obtain state registration.
  4. Gain experience.
  5. Earn certification.
  6. Get noticed.

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree

Despite the fact that it is not a necessity, the majority of NFL referees have a college degree. Specific majors are less necessary in this position; however, those with sports-specific backgrounds have a better probability of being hired for this position than those without such credentials.

2. Obtain training

Colleges, officiating organizations, and third-party training institutes all provide programs for those interested in becoming referees or umpires. A greater understanding of the rules and gameplay, as well as specialized instruction on ethics, good sportsmanship, the expectations and procedures of officials, and communicating with coaches on the field, are all provided through these programs.

3. Obtain state registration

The majority of referees begin their sports careers refereeing games at the high school level. To do so, they must be registered with the state in which they practice. Despite the fact that each state has its own set of standards, most registration processes include a written exam. Candidates must complete the training requirements outlined in the preceding step in order to be eligible to take this exam.

4. Gain experience

After receiving the necessary training, education, and registration, the next stage is to begin playing on the field. As previously noted, the majority of referees begin their careers at the high school level. From there, players either continue their education at colleges or join professional leagues. But most students stay in high school for three to five years before developing enough credibility or connections to be considered for responsibilities at a higher level of authority.

5. Earn certification

Some referees obtain certification through participation in particular training sessions. Although it is not a mandatory prerequisite for the NFL, any supplementary credentials are taken into consideration. A specific certification may increase the likelihood of being hired by the NFL.

6. Get noticed

Most referees meet the basic eligibility standards for the NFL after at least five years of experience overseeing college football games. The league sends scouts to games to observe the action. There is never any indication as to when they will be attending specific games, and they simply come for the sole aim of scouting out new talent. Referees who want to be known must always perform at their finest level, upholding the highest standards of the game as well as their own personal standards. Whenever the NFL considers a particular individual, the league looks at the regularity with which they work as well as their officiating schedule during the previous three seasons. This provides the names of the schools attended, the dates of the games played, and the positions held.


What does an NFL referee make per year? What does a football referee earn on a per-game basis? These discussions brought to light the substantial wages that NFL referees receive. When you consider everything they had to go through over the years, it was completely worth it. Thank you for taking the time to read this!

People Also Ask

The following are some often asked questions about the subject of “how much do NFL referees make”:

1.In 2022, how much money will NFL referees make?

The compensation of an NFL referee in 2021 is 205,000 USD.

2. Who Are The Officers In The Nfl?

Officials are referring to a single crew of seven individuals. They are divided into the following categories: referees, umpires, down judges, line judges, side judges, and back judges, as well as field judges.
Each will go about his or her business. In this case, the referee will be the one who makes the final determination. They also keep tabs on and control government officials. Without a doubt, the compensation of the referee is always larger than that of the other six members of the crew.

  1. How Much Do Referees Get In The Super Bowl?

When the NFL’s most spectacular event – the Super Bowl – is called, a referee might earn more than $10,000 USD.

  1. Do The Nfl Referees Work As A Full-Time Job Or A Part-Time Job?

They are all employed on a part-time basis. From the end of each season until the beginning of May, they don’t have anything to do. During the football season, however, they are considered full-time employees.