So You Want to Be a Figure Skating Judge?


There are several ways an individual can become involved in the world of figure skating and serve the skating community. One of the best volunteer activities is judging; it is a wonderful way to impart skating knowledge and help young skaters achieve their skating goals. It's also an incredible learning experience and a great way to meet new people.

Although judging is a rewarding activity, it's also a big time commitment. Judges spend countless hours dedicated to their craft - studying, judging tests and competitions, and giving feedback to skaters. Because it's a volunteer activity, be sure you are prepared to put in the time, money and effort to be the best judge you can possibly be. If you do that, you are sure to have many memorable experiences.

For those interested in becoming a judge, the first step is to review the Trial Judging Kit, which contains all the information and paperwork you'll need to start judging.

Below, you can also find answers to some frequently asked questions (FAQs). Most of this information is covered in the Trial Judge Kit, but if you have a specific question you want answered, you might want to review the FAQs below first.

Becoming a Judge Q&A

Q: How do I know if I would be a good figure skating judge?
A: There are certain fundamentals that individuals should possess if they want to become qualified judges and have positive judging experiences. These characteristics include:
  • A sincere desire to be of service to the sport
  • Ability to make an independent decision
  • Proper temperament and ability to handle stress
  • Knowledge of the sport
Q: Are there any basic requirements before I get started?
A: Yes, you must be at least 16 years old to be a trial judge (18 to be a judge) and you must have a current U.S. Figure Skating membership.

Q: Do I have to be a really good skater to be a judge?
A: Technical knowledge of figure skating is essential, but each person starts with a different degree of skating knowledge. While former skaters usually have a broader base of technical knowledge when beginning the trial judging process, ability as a skater is not in itself the measure of judging ability. There are many good judges who only skated recreationally - in the long run, temperament and willingness to serve are of more importance. A limited skating background should not discourage anyone interested in becoming a judge. Individuals who are new to the sport must be willing to put in the hours necessary to acquire technical knowledge, from studying texts and attending judge's schools to skating themselves (preferably with quality instruction).

Q: Will I get paid for judging?
A: Judging is a volunteer activity. Official judges are reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, room and meals at test sessions and competitions, but they are not paid for their time. Trial judges receive no financial assistance at all from U.S. Figure Skating.
Q: I have heard the term "CEU." What are CEUs and what affect do they have on judging?
A: CEUs are continuing education units. U.S. judges are required to stay active in the sport through a number of ways including trial judging, judging, attending judges' schools or seminars and taking the judges' exam. Judges earn CEUs for participating in these activities, and are expected to earn a certain number of CEUs in a four-year period to remain eligible to judge.

Q: What are the select, advanced, and accelerated programs?
A: The select, advanced, and accelerated programs are judging tracks available to those who have achieved certain test and/or competition achievements as skaters The specific criteria can be found in the guidelines for appointment/promotion on the "Judges" web page.