This is a quick overview on what it takes to become a judge for women’s artistic gymnastics, the ratings, the training and criteria for each level, certification, continuing educational needs and the various organizations involved.
How-To Guide for Women's Artistic Judges
Interested individuals go through a series of clinics, practical judging experiences and a series of tests on the road to becoming a judge for women’s artistic gymnastics. More information is also available by contacting Connie Maloney, Women’s J.O. Technical Director at firstname.lastname@example.org and through NAWGJ (National Association of Women’s gymnastics Judges).
- Notice to all judges accredited through USA Gymnastics (6/8/16)
- How to Become a Judge for the Women’s Program webinar | PDF
- Judging and Technical Updates can be found here.
- More Women’s Program Judging Webinars can be found here.
- Click here for online judging courses.
I. How to become a Judge
- One can earn a rating as a gymnastics official through a series of exams, both Written and Practical, administered under the auspices of the USA Gymnastics Judging Accreditation Program.
- It is recommended that interested individuals attend local judging clinics and/or Regional Congresses that cover compulsory and/or optional gymnastics in order to develop the basic knowledge and skills required to become a judge.
- It is recommended that you contact your NAWGJ (National Association of Women’s Gymnastics Judges) State Judging Director for information about upcoming clinics, exams dates, etc. It is very helpful to attend a judges' training clinic prior to taking judging tests. You can find the name and contact information for your NAWGJ State Judging Director at http://www.nawgj.org/ or view the list of State Judging Directors here.
- In order to officiate women’s gymnastics under USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic rules, judges must have knowledge of the rules and regulations included in the following publications (and addendums):
- USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Compulsory Book
- USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Code of Points
- Current USA Gymnastics Women’s Rules and Policies
- USA Gymnastics Technique Magazine, which includes minutes from the USA Gymnastics Women’s Technical and Junior Olympic Program Committees.
- Note: All technical materials may be ordered from the USA Gymnastics on-line store at http://usagym.sportgraphics.biz/ or by calling 1-800-345-4719.
- In order to officiate International or U.S. Elite competitions, FIG Brevet judges must have knowledge of the rules and regulations included in the following publications:
- FIG Code of Points
- FIG updates published by the FIG Technical Committee
- Current FIG Technical Regulations (for International Competition)
- Membership/Certification requirements:
- Must be a current Professional Member of USA Gymnastics.
- If under the age of 18, must be a current Junior Professional Member of USA Gymnastics; and must upgrade to a Professional Membership upon turning 18.
- Must hold a current safety certification.
- Must pass a criminal background check (if 18 yrs. or over)
- Any individual that has never held a rating may test at Compulsory Level 4/5 and/or at the Optional Level 7/8.
- Individuals may choose to become rated for optional levels only. A Level 4/5 rating is not required.
- The Accreditation year will be defined as August 1-July 31.
- Test sessions will be scheduled within the USA Gymnastics Judging Accreditation Program by individual Test Administrators. A master list of all upcoming testing sessions, the test parts to be offered at each, and information on how to register for a test can be found on-line under Judges Accreditation/Master Testing Schedule.
- Examinees may take the written and/or practical exam for a specific level a maximum of four (4) times per accreditation year in the attempt to pass.
- Ratings Overview:
4/5 n/a 16 70% n/a 7/8 n/a 16 70% 70% 9 7/8
18 76% 75% 10 9
20 80% 80%
- Compulsory Level 4/5
- Must be a minimum of 16 years of age
- Must take a 50-question multiple choice written exam and achieve a minimum score of 70%. (10 questions on General Info, 10 on Vault, and 5 questions on UB, BB & FX for each of the two levels)
- Once a rating is achieved, the 4/5 judge is certified to judge USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Compulsory Levels 1-5.
- Optional Level 7/8
- Must be a minimum of 16 years of age.
- Must take a 50-question multiple choice written exam covering both Level 7 and 8 and achieve a minimum score of 70%. (5 questions per level on general, vault, UB, BB and FX)
- Must take a practical (video) exam showing Level 8 exercises only and achieve a minimum score of 70%. (One practice routine plus 5 exam routines per event).
- Examinee is not required to take both parts at the same time, nor are they required to repeat any part previously passed within a four-yr. cycle beginning the year after the Olympic year.
- Must pass the compulsory 4/5 test in order to also earn a Compulsory rating.
- Once a rating is achieved, judge is certified to judge USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Optional Levels 6, 7 and 8.
- Optional Level 9
- Must have held an Optional Level 7/8 rating for a minimum of twelve (12) months. Judges are allowed to take this exam if they are within one month of the anniversary of the date they passed the Level 7/8 exam.
- Must meet the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements of 12 hours (minimum 6 clinic hours).
- An exception to the above (2) requirements will be made for any former or present Level 10 or Collegiate Regional coach, or Regional NCAA or Level 10 senior gymnast. Those qualified individuals may begin testing at Level 4/5 and Level 9 concurrently. Level 10/Collegiate coaches and eligible athletes must complete an Exemption Eligibility Form, which is available on-line. A USA Gymnastics National, Regional or State officer (or collegiate coach) must sign off on this form prior to testing. This form must be brought to the test site and given to the Test Administrator prior to administration of the test.
- Must be a minimum 18 years of age.
- Must take a 50-question multiple choice written exam and achieve a minimum score of 76%. (7 questions on General and Vault, 12 questions each on UB, BB and FX)
- Must take a practical (video) exam and achieve a minimum score of 75%. (One practice routine plus 5 exam routines per event).
- Examinee is not required to take both parts at the same time, nor are they required to repeat any part previously passed.
- May achieve a Level 7/8 rating provided that the minimum score of 70% is met on both test parts.
- Once a Level 9 rating is achieved, judge is certified to judge USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Optional Levels 6, 7, 8 and 9.
- Must pass the compulsory 4/5 test in order to earn a Compulsory rating.
- Optional Level 10
- Must have actively held an Optional Level 9 rating for a minimum of twelve (12) months. Judges are allowed to take this exam if they are within one month of the anniversary of the date they passed the Level 9 exam.
- Must meet the Continuing Professional Education (CPE) requirements of 16 hours (minimum 8 clinic hours).
- An exception to the above (2) requirements will be made for any former or present Elite Coach or Senior Elite gymnast who participated at a National Elite Classic or Championships. Those qualified individuals may begin testing at Level 4/5 and 10 concurrently. Elite Coaches and eligible athletes must complete an Exemption Eligibility Form, which is available on-line. A USA Gymnastics National, Regional, or State officer must sign off on this form prior to testing. This form must be brought to the test site and given to the Test Administrator prior to administration of the test.
- Must be a minimum of 20 years of age.
- Must take both a practical (video) and written exam. Must receive a minimum score of 80% on each examination part. Examinee is not required to take both parts at the same time, nor are they required to repeat any part previously passed.
- May achieve a Level 9 rating provided that a minimum Written exam score of 76% and a minimum Practical exam score of 75% are both met.
- May achieve a Level 7/8 rating provided that a minimum score of 70% is met on both test parts.
- Once a Level 10 rating is achieved, the judge is certified to judge USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Optional Levels 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10.
- Must pass the compulsory 4/5 test in order to earn a Compulsory rating.
- Brevet and National Judges
- Must attend a Brevet or National Judges’ Course, by invitation only. These courses are conducted every four years - the second year following each Olympic year.
- Must successfully pass all the requirements of the course.
- Are certified to judge all Junior Olympic Optional Levels 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
- Must pass the compulsory 4/5 test in order to earn a Compulsory rating.
III. Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Requirements
- Annual CPE credits are required to be assigned to USA Gymnastics sanctioned events.
- CPE credits will be calculated in actual clock hours.
- Accreditation year is August 1 – July 31. Credits earned during the months of June and July may be used for the current or upcoming accreditation year.
- Required CPE hours are as follows:
Highest Rating Held CPE Hours Required per Accreditation Year Required Clinic Hours per Year (as part of the Total) Maximum Number of Clinic Hours allowed to carry forward to the next Accreditation Year Level 4/5 12 6 2 Level 7/8 12 6 2 Level 9 16 8 3 Level 10 20 10 4 National 20 10 4 Brevet 20 10 4
- Clinic CPE credits will be defined as hours spent at a State, Regional, or National organized events such as Congresses, Clinics, Courses, or Symposiums. These events must be publicized in advance and open to all judges in the state, region, or nation as applicable to the event (Exception: eligibility requirement must be met for National/Brevet judges’ courses.) USA Gymnastics University will develop CPE certificates to be issued at the conclusion of an (clinically) approved session by the Clinician or organizational personnel.
- Clinical Activities will be designated as “Approved for CPE” by the following:
- National- USA Gymnastics National Office
- Regional- USA Gymnastics Regional Technical Committee Chairman (or designee)
- State- USA Gymnastics Regional Technical Committee Chairman (or designee)
- Those wishing to have a clinic approved for CPE simply need to send the CPE Clinic Approval form to their respective State Administrative Committee Chair or Regional Technical Chairman and respective NAWGJ Director with the date and topic(s) of the clinic(s), anticipated attendance, and name(s) of the clinician(s). The appropriate officers will sign the form and the Clinic Organizer will forward it to the National office to the attention of the Women’s JO Technical Director. CPE clinics will be posted on the website under Women/Judges.
- A maximum number of CPE hours may be acquired for the following miscellaneous activities:
- Coaching (6 hours); to be signed by supervisor or club owner
- In gym observation, critiquing/consulting (voluntary) with coaches and gymnasts (6 hours); to be signed by the coach.
- Volunteering at a judging-related activity (4 hours); to be signed by the event coordinator. Two of these four hours can come from service as a USA Gymnastics Committee or NAWGJ Board member.
- Video or live practice judging at a level equal to or higher than your current rating (3 hours); to be signed by the supervising judge. Practice judging will require pre-approval from your USA Gymnastics State Chairman or NAWGJ State Judging Director. For pre-approval, simply send an e-mail to the appropriate officer requesting permission. Please note that live Practice Judging will also require pre-approval from the Meet Director. This is done by contacting the Meet Referee for the competition; not by contacting the Meet Director directly. The practice judge should come prepared with all judging materials and wear the appropriate judging uniform. Video Practice Judging will be recorded in hours and requires written verification from the supervising judge.
- Miscellaneous CPE activities are to be recorded on the Miscellaneous CPE Form, which can be found on-line.
IV. Continuing Professional Education Tracking
- Each judge is responsible to keep accurate records of their CPE, including documentation of attendance at approved CPE experiences. Documentation should correspond to the hours submitted on the Annual CPE Record Form.
- Each USA Gymnastics State Administrative Committee Chairman will be responsible for designating a USA Gymnastics CPE Coordinator. CPE Coordinators must be proficient in Excel. The CPE Coordinator will maintain a list of all the judges in the state, the number of CPE hours they complete each year, and the number of clinical hours they will carry forward to the next year.
- Each judge is responsible for recording a summary of their total annual CPE hours by category, recorded on the Annual CPE Record Form, and submitting their form to their respective CPE Coordinator by May 31 of each year. The Annual CPE Record Form is available on-line, or may be obtained from the State Judging Director and/or CPE Coordinator.
- The CPE Coordinator is responsible to send a master list of all judges who have successfully completed their annual CPE requirements to the USA Gymnastics National Office (JO Technical Director), the respective SJD, RJD, and the respective USA Gymnastics State and Regional Administrative Committee Chairman by June 30
- If a judge does not complete all of their required CPE hours within a given year, they must apply CPE hours from the successive year to make up for the hours they were lacking. When completed, they must still send the proper documentation to their CPE Coordinator. Note that CPE hours cannot be used twice, meaning, if hours are being used to make up from a previous year, those same hours could not be applied to the current year as well. Any judge who has not completed their CPE requirements before the start of the next season will not be assigned to judge unless in the case of an emergency, in which case they will be paid $5 less per hour.
- The National Office will conduct audits each year in October or November that will require randomly selected judges to provide actual documentation of the CPE, as reported on the Annual CPE Record Form to their CPE Coordinators.
V. Governing Bodies and Other Gymnastics Organizations
- FIG- Federation of International Gymnastics
- The FIG establishes the rules and policies for competition on the international (Elite) level.
- The FIG is an international organization composed of member nations. It is divided into an Executive Committee and Women’s and Men’s Technical Committees. The personnel seated on these committees are elected by a vote of all member nations.
- The Technical Regulations of the FIG provide all rules governing World Championships, officially registered international competitions, and most aspects of the Olympic Games that are not covered by the rules of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
- USA Gymnastics
- USA Gymnastics is the National Governing body for all USA competitions through a system of sanctioning, and is the affiliated member to the FIG and IOC for the sport of gymnastics.
- USA Gymnastics establishes the rules and policies for competition in the United States through its Committee structure. The Women’s Technical Committee is specifically charged with the responsibility of judges’ training, education, and Judging Accreditation certification procedures.
- NAWGJ- National Association of Women’s Gymnastics Judges
- The NAWGJ is a professional organization for women’s gymnastics officials.
- The committees of NAWGJ contract judges to USA Gymnastics, AAU, USAIGC, YMCA, and Collegiate competitions as requested by the State and Regional Committees, organizations or specific meet directors.
- NAWGJ provides educational opportunities and disseminates information by way of Regional, National, and State Symposiums and Newsletters.
- NAWGJ represents gymnastics officials on the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors.