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Six Figure Jobs: Umpire, Ref, Groundskeepers & Mascots

Baseball is underway, the Mets are actually doing well, and so it’s time to unveil a job group I think is one of the coolest (besides being a stunt driver) in the CNN Money’s Six Figure Job series – any job that puts you on the field of play in a major league sport. The jobs profiled in this six figure series article include umpires, referees, and groundskeepers.

The first job they profile is an umpire and you can expect to spend about 8-12 years in purgatory – i.e. the minor leagues. Becoming an umpire is actually really difficult. First you go to “umpire school,” a five week course, and then top grads are put through an evaluation course run by the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. (PBUC) which will select a few to hire and put the rest in a “reserve.” If you’re hired, you’re put into the lowest of the four minor leagues where you can expect to pull in $1800-$2000 per month during the regular season. AAA, the highest of the minor leagues, umpires make at most $3400 a month. If you aren’t promoted every two years (that is, move up in the minors) then you’re expected to pack your stuff. When you get to triple-A ball, you get three years or you’re done. With only 229 minor league umpires and 68 major league umpires, the jobs are hard to get. “If you do snag a job in the big leagues, your salary would range from $90,000 to over $350,000, plus benefits and a pension.” Sweet.

What about being a groundskeeper or a mascot?

Most groundskeepers have a two or four year degree in soils or turf-grass management and a strong worth ethic. During the season, 50-55 hours a week when the team is away and 80-90 hours when the team is home. 40 hours a week during the off-season mowing the lawn. “In terms of pay, a 2001 salary survey by the Sports Turf Managers Association found that across all sports, only 5.6 percent of turf managers make above $85,000.” Maybe a groundskeeper isn’t the way to go.

Lastly, you can always become a mascot if you can stand the exhausting heat of the suits. The starting salary of a mascot is around $25,000 with benefits and few teams hire full-time. Apparently there are a few who might make six figures but you probably have a better chance making the majors as a player than as a six figure mascot.

via CNN Money [3].