BATOA Training Scheme

The process of becoming an umpire is relatively easy, but requires a few separate steps.

(1) The first requirement is that you be a current USTA member.  If you are not a current USTA member, you may join online at

(2) From January 1, 2014, the USTA has determined that the three steps, outlined below, must be fulfilled to be eligible to serve as a USTA Certified Official, USTA Player Development Event Coach, Massage Therapist, Athletic trainer, SmashZone Volunteer or USTA Youth Tennis Workshop Coach ("Applicants").

Step 1:  Complete the online training module: You will be prompted to create an account.  Depending on your knowledge and skill set, the training will take you 90 – 120 minutes to complete.  If you are unable to complete the training at one time, you can return and continue using the account you created.

Step 2: Review the USTA’s definitions of prohibited conduct and its procedures for reporting and responding found at

Step 3: Complete Your Background Screen Application. (Information Below) In the application, you will be required to certify and affirm that you have successfully completed Step 1 and Step 2 above.  The USTA has retained the services of an independent third party, the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI), to conduct background screenings of all applicants.  Please begin your background screen through NCSI.  

You will need to complete a Background Check. The cost is paid for by the USTA, but you must have a current USTA membership to begin the process.  A complete explanation of the process and the link to enter your information necessary to complete the Background Screening may be found on the USTA web site at .  On the right side of this page, you will see another link posted for RESULTS.  Once you have entered your information, you may return to this web page about a week later and click on the link to see if you have been approved.

Step 4: After you have completed Steps 1- 3, you will need to take and pass the USTA exam (open book). Any missed questions should be resourced for the correct answer. (see link / for taking test on-line. The easiest way to complete the exam is to first print off a paper copy and go through it marking your answers. (see link Then you click on the online exam and enter your answers online. (You will need your USTA number to enter the test site.). This exam also requires that you have a current 201copy of the Friend at Court, which is the official rule book of tennis. If you do not have one, you can purchase the 2014 Friend at Court for $8.95 (+ shipping) from the USTA Bookstore after February of 2014. Until then you will need to use the pdf copy on-line (see link

Upon completing Steps 1, 2, and 3, you may be certified as a Provisional Official.  The Sectional Chair will give authorization to New York for you to request an account on NUCULA as a new user. This is an online database of USTA Officials and is used to maintain contact information, work experience, certification exam scores, school attendance, and disciplinary history for all USTA officials.  You may find further information about NUCULA on this web site and the USTA web site at:   When you enter the NUCULA web site, on the left side of the Welcome screen, you will need to click on the New Users Request Account and enter the required information.  Your user PIC (personal identification code) and Password will be sent to the email address you enter during the registration process.

(5)  Once you have passed the USTA Exam, you should attend the next available Provisional or Sectional Official’s school.  BATOA, in conjunction with the USTA, conducts training classes for Provisional officials in the Bay Area several times during the year.  At the same time you may attend one of the annual USTA certification schools for officials. These are more robust schools concentrating on the Rules of Tennis the USTA Regulations and procedures.  

(6) BATOA requires that you to Shadow a certified official for a minimum of 5 days at tournaments to become familiar with Roving Official procedures, after attending the Provisional School. A training card will be sent to you to be completed each time you shadow. When completed this is to be returned to the Training Co-ordinator.

(7) Once your local trainer/evaluator is convinced you have an acceptable knowledge of the rules and procedures, you will be eligible for assignment at tournaments and you will need to buy several uniform items (shirt and cap/hat/visor). The basic shirt costs about $25 and may be ordered online through the USTA authorized supplier once you are certified as a Provisional Official.  More information on uniform apparel is available on the Uniform page.

(8) During your first year as an official, you are to work an additional five (5) days after completing your required days of training as a Roving Official to complete the requirements for becoming CERTIFIED AS A SECTIONAL UMPIRE. This work must be kept on your work record in NUCULA. Class requirement at a school whether at a provisional school or at a sectional school is also required for first year officials to move up to a Sectional Official. Your Regional Director can further explain this process

This will allow you to work at a tournament site by yourself. From this point on, you may get further specialization as a line umpire, chair umpire, referee, and/or collegiate official. College and referee require passing additional annual exams. Line and chair umpires usually attend a clinic emphasizing those unique procedures and then begin to get experience through local events and then progress to college or professional events. Line and chair certifications and ratings are a combination of annual experience and satisfactory evaluations by official trainer/evaluators.

Professional assignments in the U.S. are made through the ATP Officiating Department and by the designated Chief of Officials at each WTA event. Each Chief Umpire at the lower level professional tournaments on the USTA Pro Circuit selects officials that contact them and express an interest through the NUCULA system. Contact info for these Chief Umpires is listed on the USTA NUCULA web site.

Revised 1-20-2014

Subpages (1): BATOA Enquiry Form