Becoming a Volleyball Official

How to Become a Volleyball Referee
For men and women looking to become a volleyball referee, here is information that you should know.
Certification for volleyball referees is handled by two separate organizations.
Volleyball Referee Training
USAVolleyball offers an extensive library of training modules and videos to assist volleyball referees with their understanding of the game. Regional referee training and testing is offered for certification.

The Professional Association of Volleyball Officials offers its own certification for volleyball referee candidates. PAVO holds local volleyball referee camps and clinics to further assist in training as well.

Southern California Volleyball Official's Association

The Southern California Volleyball Officials' Association (SCVOA) is dedicated to the education and training of all high school volleyball officials in Southern California. This association serves the California Interscholastic Federation - Southern Section (CIF-SS) and the Los Angeles (CIF-LA) sections.

The Unit structure within SCVOA provides the opportunity to identify potential officials, train, and assign volleyball officials for contests. The program will establish and promote the high standards of excellence in officiating volleyball, in coordination with the National Federation.

Many of our members also work NCAA Division 1-2-3, NAIA, Community College, SCVA Club Volleyball tournaments.

We offer a comprehensive training program for line judges & referees.   Each Unit has training calendars based on the needs of the geographic area served.  First time officials attend classes that might start either in May, June, or July (depends on the Unit joined).   All officials are CIF State certified with 18 hours of training which includes, classroom, on court, and on-line training.  Click here for a list of geographic Units and start date for their training program.

Officiating volleyball can be enjoyable for a number of reasons. Many find that the challenge is what attracts them. For others, it's being involved in a sport they love and it's up close & personal that is the attraction. Most officials enjoy the camaraderie that exists among the fellow officials.  New officials are provided more opportunities for court work & rule discussion, they interact with veteran Instructors who guide them thru the training process.

For information on becoming a volleyball official in the CIF Southern Section contact your local unit. Here is a good resource for high school volleyball rules: 2015-16 NFHS

Mandatory Requirements

  1. Be at least 18 years of age
  2. Attend pre-summer unit meeting
  3. Pay all necessary dues
  4. Attend required training hours
  5. Pass a written rules test
  6. Pass an on-court practical session in appropriate uniform
  7. Attend pre-season unit meeting

For list of member associations in southern California see

Required Uniform

  • An all-white, short-sleeved collared polo shirt
  • Navy blue slacks (no jean, dockers, etc. )
  • Black belt (if slacks have belt loops).
  • Solid white athletic shoes and white socks (no ankle/short socks)

Required Equipment

  • Whistle
  • Yellow and Red cards
  • Coin
  • Watch
  • Line Judge flags (optional)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  What training do you offer in the pre-season  (May-June-July)?  
Answer:  All officials are expected to read the rule book and case book.  There are discussions in classrooms or in workgroups.  Officials are assigned court work to learn signals & procedures.

Q.  When does the season start?
Answer:  There are 2 seasons of high school volleyball.   The girls play in the fall - the start date is 2nd Saturday in  August.  The boys play in the spring - the start date is last Saturday in February.

Q.   Where do I get the uniform and supplies?
Each Unit Instructor will cover the details of what is required & resources to obtain the uniform & equipment.  The equipment is minimal.  At your first meeting this will be discussed so you can prepare for what is needed at the training meetings.

Q.   What positions are there and how do I know what position I will be able to work?
First Referee (R1) - The Lead official is in charge of the contest.  He/She works on the stand & sets the game flow/tempo….Detemines illegal hits/attacks….Starts the rally by signaling for service.
Second Referee (R2) - The official works on the floor near the score table.  He/She manages the substitutions & time outs in addition to specific calls during the rally.
Line Judge -  The 2 linejudges mainly watch for balls landing in/out, foot faults on the serve, and touches by defensive players on a ball traveling out of bounds.