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How long have you been a certified USA Triathlon official?

To become a USA Triathlon official, one must participate in one of the many clinics held around the country each year. There is no charge for attending a clinic. One must be a member of USA Triathlon and bring the membership card or join at the clinic. Clinics are held in conjunction with a sanctioned event, and will have USA Triathlon officials assigned to marshal the race. The Officials Certification Clinic consists of about three hours of classroom lecture and discussion. Each clinic has a limited number of spaces and applicants are urged to contact the clinic instructor to reserve a space early. Each participant is sent files for the Officials Manual and a take-home exam that must be completed and returned to the instructor prior to the beginning of the class. Classroom portions of the clinics are taught on the day or evening prior to the triathlon or duathlon. On race day, the clinic participant will be assigned to marshal some portion of the race, under the supervision of the clinic instructor. USA Triathlon officials uniforms are issued to each new official on race day.

Upon completion of the Officials Certification Clinic (classroom, examination and race practicum), the graduate is classified as a Category 4 Official. Cat 4 Officials have 12 months from the date they attend a clinic to become fully certified as Cat 3 referees. Full certification requires the Cat 4 Referee to work an additional two races under a USAT referee's supervision, and in a volunteer capacity. To remain active, Cat 1, 2 or 3 officials are required to attend a certification clinic every two years and to successfully pass a certification examination.

Races that require officials (championships, etc)

Only championship events are required by USAT to have officials. However, every race director is required by sanction to enforce the Competitive Rules. Wise race directors will usually contract to have USA Triathlon certified officials present, as they are the only people specifically trained and experienced to handle the myriad problems that rules enforcement entails.

How officials are chosen for high profile races

The Regional Officials Coordinators choose the appropriate officiating team for all USA Triathlon events where officials are requested. The most experienced officials are assigned to pro-rules events and USA Triathlon championships.

Value to athletes and race directors of
USA Triathlon officials at events

Though race directors can provide safe, challenging and fun events, only properly trained officials can bring fairness to the athletes. Triathletes look for and count on USA Triathlon Officials to enforce the Competitive Rules at triathlons and duathlons. The absence of officials usually means that “anything goes” and athletes have not been given an opportunity to fairly measure themselves against their competitors.

Race directors count on USA Triathlon Officials to take care of all the rules enforcement, leaving the race directors free to do what they know best: coordinate a safe and challenging event, and take care of their customers.

Organization structure

The Officials Program is governed by the Commissioner, who reports to the Event Services Director of USA Triathlon, and the Regional Officials Coordinators who manage the program within each of USA Triathlon's geographical regions. The Commissioner and each of the Regional Coordinators work closely with USA Triathlon administrators, race directors, and athletes in order to provide the best trained officials to sanctioned events around the country. Fairness and consistency are our primary goals.

Categories of Certified Officials