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New Officials begin their officiating journey as an Apprentice Level Official. After being an Apprentice Official for a period of at least two years, that Official is eligible to upgrade to Association is a certain discipline. After a minimum of two years as an Association Level Official, that Official is eligible to upgrade to a National Level Official, Likewise, after a minimum of two years as a National Level Official, that Official is eligible to upgrade to a Master Level Official.

But, just waiting two years is not enough. The upgrade process starts before that. An Official needs to work the minimum specified number of meets – including a minimum number of Association meets –  in the discipline in which an upgrade is being sought. For those Officials seeking to upgrade to National or Masters, meets outside of the Association are also required, as are Championship meets outside of the home Association. Additionally, upgrade recommendation letters from senior level Officials familiar with the work of the Official seeking the upgrade are also required. So, it is important to build relationships, both inside and outside the South Carolina Association early. Remember, work the meets and build the relationships.

The general steps for an upgrade:

  • Be in the current certification level for at least two years
  • Officiate in the discipline for which the upgrade is being sought for the required number of meets. Be certain this includes the correct type of meets.
  • Work a minimum number of Association meets per year.  1 Association meet per year for upgrade to Association or National, and at least 2 Association meets per year to upgrade to Master.)
  • Documents the meets
  • Obtain the required upgrade recommendation letters
  • Complete the application
  • For National and Masters upgrades, additional Rule Reviews are required
  • Send the letters, meet documentation, and application to the Association Certification Chair
  • Wait patiently for a response. Upgrades to Association are usually reviewed quickly. Upgrades to National or Masters may take a little bit more time. Fear not, the upgrade is generally retroactive to the date at which all of the required documentation is received.

The upgrade criteria from the USATF National Office follows. Be advised, the USATF South Carolina Association Certification Chair has established additional upgrade criteria.

In most disciplines, an Official begins as an Apprentice, and then upgrades to Association. However, a few disciplines have no real Apprentice Level. Officials in these disciplines still follow the same upgrade path to Association Level as for any other discipline. These include:

  • Timing
  • Competition Secretary / Data Specialist
  • Implement Inspection

One notable exception to this is Paralympics. Though Apprentice level Officials may go through the Paralympic process (for example, completing the Rules Review), and may even officiate at Para Events, the Para designation is not awarded until the Official is at least a USATF Association level Official.

Click the above image for a larger size.

Click here for the table from the USATF website.

Click the above image for a larger size.

Click here for the table from the USATF website.