The typical umpire in Major League Baseball makes a six figure salary, plus daily expense money and paid first-class air travel. The pay scale is determined by the collective bargaining agreement between MLB and the umpires' union, the World Umpires Association. Salaries increase with seniority, with the longest-serving umpires earning several times what a rookie ump makes.
The "New York Times" reported in 2004 that the pay scale in the five-year contract signed that year ranged from about $88,000 for a rookie umpire to nearly $360,000 for an umpire with 27 years' service. That contract called for 5 percent annual raises through 2009. A separate story on MLB's official website in 2007 pegged the range at about $120,000 to $350,000. Umpires also receive bonuses of up to $20,000 for working the postseason.
Umpires also get first-class air travel from one assignment to the next, and a daily allowance for travel expenses. The 2007 article on MLB.com said that allowance was $340 a day, which covered the cost of hotel rooms, rental cars, meals, toiletries and other items. Umpires get four weeks' vacation during the season. All four umpires on a crew must take the same three weeks off, and each individual umpire gets an additional week to take off when he wants.
As of 2010, MLB employed 68 full-time umpires, or 17 full crews. On average, about one of those full-time slots comes open each year as older umpires retire. Just like minor league players, minor league umps can also be "called up" for brief stints in the majors. MLB's umpire roster includes about 20 umpires from the highest level of minor league ball, AAA, who are available to fill in for umpires who are on vacation, sick or injured.
All umpires must get certified at one of the two umpiring schools approved by the Professional Baseball Umpires Corp. Those schools, the Jim Evans Academy of Professional Umpiring and the Harry Wendelstedt School for Umpires, are both in Florida and hold training sessions each year in January and February. PBUC selects the top graduates to work at the lowest levels of minor league ball. According to the World Umpires Association, the average umpire works seven to eight years in the minors before getting a shot at the majors.