What does it take to become an
All new PNFOA officials start
in our Apprentice program. This two-year program entails
weekly classroom work, beginning near the end of July and
continuing throughout the season, where experience officials
from our Association help you understand the National
Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) Rule
book. There will also be some on-field training prior to the
beginning of the season. During the season, you will work
non-Varsity contests; High School JV, Freshman, Middle
School, Junior High and Little League games. These will
allow you to apply the rules knowledge you obtained
attending class as well as work on your on-field mechanics.
There will also be a fee to join the Washington Officials
Association (WOA), pay for the required manuals as well as a
mandated State Patrol background check.
What’s required for a
uniform and who pays for it?
You are required to have the
complete uniform prior to working your first game. You are
responsible for all costs associated with outfitting
yourself. Depending on what you purchase, it is
approximately $160 - $200 for equipment. However, there are
programs available to help mitigate the cost. All members of
PNFOA are considered independent contractors and as such,
many expenses incurred during the season can be considered
business expenses for tax purposes.
Where does PNFOA work?
Our service area stretches
from Seattle east to Mt. Si and from the Shoreline school
district up north to the Kent school district in the south.
We provide officials for all high school, junior high and
middle school games in this area as well as the officials
for many of the junior football leagues.
What position will I work?
At the varsity level we
utilize 5 man mechanics. A referee or white hat that is an
experienced official and serves as a crew chief for each
particular game. We have an umpire behind the defense, a
back judge deep in the middle of the field and then a
linesman and line judge on the sidelines. In many of the
other classifications, we use 4 man mechanics and do not
have a back judge for those contests. While all positions
are open and it is good to get an understanding of each
position, most new officials start out on the sideline as
either a linesman or a line judge.
Do I have to have played
football to be an official?
While an understanding of the
game obtained by participating is sometimes helpful, it is
not a requirement. Many officials have been former players
and coaches, but as officials, you have a unique perspective
in applying the rules on a fair and consistent basis that
does not require you to have been a player.
What rules do
the teams play by?
At our level, all the teams
utilize the National Federation of State High School
Associations (NFHS) football rules. While many are familiar
with the NFL and NCAA rules, the ones we officiate on Friday
nights are slightly different in many aspects, with a focus
on safety and sportsmanship.
How often do I get paid?
PNFOA pays once a year for all
games fees as well as mileage for each game. The check is
usually available by the second week in December.
Who are the best officials?
Well, that would be the crew
you are working with each Friday night, under the lights at
your next high school game, where the teams are playing
hard, the fans are supportive and your crew is in the swing
of the game, making sure each team has a fair and equal
opportunity to win. Not a better place to be on a fall night
then on the field. Come join us and see for yourself.
Who do I contact to join?
Contact the membership
chairman or call us at 1-866-GO-PNFOA. You can also show up
at any of our apprentice meetings starting in July. Someone
will be in contact with you to let you know when the next
meeting will be. Hope to see you soon.
Where are meetings held?
start in late June early July. Please check the website
for the meeting schedule.
What forms or materials do
You will need a letter
from your former association’s Secretary indicating you
- were a member in
- number of years
- what level of
contests you officiated.
This letter is mailed
to our Assigning Secretary:
Who is a transfer
PO Box 1011
Renton, WA 98057-1011
official is an official with at least three years of
prior football officiating experience joining PNFOA from
What will my
classification within PNFOA be?
Why am I considered an
apprentice despite my experience?
classification will be an apprentice with PNFOA. As a
transfer official, you will attend our apprentice
All transfers regardless
of the number of years experience are placed initially
in the apprentice program. This is PNFOA policy. Your
rules knowledge will be evaluated based on rules tests
taken at these apprentice meetings.
Additionally, you will be
evaluated by one but preferably two Board members at a
pre-season scrimmage. Based upon your on field
evaluation and test scores, you will then be recommended
for classification in PNFOA.
What positions will I
What are the PNFOA
All game assignments and
positions are handled by our Assigning Secretary.
PNFOA officials are
- Varsity – 1
- Varsity – 2
- Varsity – 3
- Transfer officials
Only Varsity 1
officials are eligible to referee Varsity contests.
Who will contact me?
The Transfer Committee
should contact you or you can email the chairperson.