Qualifications to become a Referee & Application Link


As you all know, USA Powerlifting is run primarily by volunteers. Judging is one of the areas that we, as an organization, cannot do without. While the current core group of referees has always done a great job and gone above-and-beyond the call of duty to volunteer their time at our Local, State, Regional and National Meets, it is a large burden for so few to always carry, particularly in light of our unprecedented growth as an organization over the past couple of years. 

If you have an interest in becoming a Referee, the minimum requirements and certification process are as follows:

1. Candidates must be a minimum of 18 years of age. Candidates must be current members of USA Powerlifting.  (Current Membership Cards must be presented to the State Chair prior to test administration.)

2. Candidates must have approval of their State Chairman to take the test.

3. Candidates must be actively involved in the sport of powerlifting for a minimum time period of one year in one of the following capacities: Athlete, Meet Volunteer or Coach

4. Candidates must pass the written and practical sections of the state referee test. A minimum score of 80% is required on the written test and 90% on the practical portion of the test.   The written examination is taken online with a 2 hour time limit and is an open-book test.

5. Lastly, You will need to complete SafeSport training and provide your completion certificate to the National Office and complete the Verified Volunteers background check.  Once these steps are completed you will receive your credentials to referee at your first meet. 

When necessary, retest arrangements may be made after a minimum of six weeks following the previous test date.

We are not just looking to increase our Referee base – we are looking for interested members who will be committed to helping more than just once a year.

Our organization prides itself on fair and consistent judging. It is not enough to have the appropriate rules and procedures written in a rulebook. Those rules (all rules – the major ones AND the seemingly insignificant ones) must be applied in a consistent, fair, objective, and professional manner. It is important to note that enforcing the rules as written and being “lifter friendly” are not mutually exclusive ideas. When rules are bent or a competitor gets a “gift” on a lift, his or her competition is disadvantaged and it is no longer a level playing field; that is NOT lifter-friendly.

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of becoming a USA Powerlifting Referee in Arizona, please contact Rodney Elm AZ State Chair Email. If approved, the first step will be to determine when you will take the online test and which meet the practical exam will be taken.

The exam consists of a 110 question open-book, online exam with questions covering the   USAPL-Rulebook-2017.pdf  and a practical exam in which you will sit with a National Referee during a meet and adjudicate 100 attempts (40 squats, 30 bench press and 30 deadlifts).

You should read the rulebook completely before taking the test. To pass the exam, the candidate must score at least 90% on the written portion and 90% on the practical portion.

Following the exam, all test materials are mailed to the chair of USA Powerlifting Referee Committee for grading. The results are sent directly to the candidate.

Following the passage of the written and practical exam, you will be directed to complete SafeSport and the Verified Volunteers background check.  Once completed you will receive your credentials to referee at your first meet. 

Next Steps – 

Please fill out the application with your approximate testing date and then submit it.   Application Form – Referee Test  

Becoming a referee is a great way to give back to the sport and gain a wealth of knowledge. Your participation is much appreciated.  Thank you for your support of USA Powerlifting, Arizona