Frequently Asked Questions by New & Transferring Members
We always are looking for new and experienced Officials to join us. Simply fill out the form to the right and someone from our recruiting committee will get in touch with you. From there, as the start of the season approaches (we begin to meet & train in late June), we will keep you informed of what you need to do.
In order to become a Member of our Association and be eligible to be on the field, we require attendance at our weekly meetings on Monday Nights at The Lovett School. These meetings are from late June through October and are usually 1 ½ hours long. Meeting topics include classroom rules & mechanics training, video reviews and happenings within the Association. Please check out our full schedule on the Events Page.
You will also be required to attend “Field Day” which is a field mechanics session on a Saturday from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.
New Officials will generally work a predominantly Sub-Varsity schedule. These games are mostly on Thursday afternoons starting from 5-7pm. New Officials will also work in a support capacity on Varsity Games (Clock Operation, Chains). New officials are also expected to work GMSAA (middle school) games on Saturdays. You are expected to be available either Saturday morning or Saturday afternoon.
This is always the number one question for a brand new official. Before a new official can work at all, they have to buy their uniform and all the other gear needed to call a game (whistle, flags, beanbags, shoes and such). The gear isn’t cheap. But there are new officials coming into the game all the time. Consequently, most of the major equipment vendors have starter packages that will get a new official through his/her first year with minimal expense.
A lot of what an official makes depends on his demonstrated skill level.
No experience is necessary. AAFOA provides a comprehensive training program for all levels of officials. This includes providing rule books, case books and other printed study material. We conduct training sessions as a major part of our regular association meetings. During these classroom sessions, members are exposed to formal classroom type work with video training aids. We will also break out into groups depending on assigned on-field positions and experience levels several times during “training season.” And we encourage our members to attend one of the 6 GHSA-provided training camps operated each summer just in advance of football season.
Officials may only work for one association per sport in any given school year. Transfers from other associations within the state transfer in at the same “level” (Registered, Approved or Certified) as they had at their last year’s association. Officials who transfer in from out-of-state generally will drop back one level for one year if they were Approved or Certified in their previous state. From a practical point of view, this makes little difference in the regular season. AAFOA will evaluate transfers for their on-field capabilities just as quickly as we can. Our goal is to get the highest quality officials on the field as quickly and regularly as we can. When it comes to playoff assignments, it is rare for a transferring official to work in the playoffs in an on-field capacity in their first year with AAFOA. There are exceptions for truly exceptional officials, but it is unrealistic to “expect” to work playoffs in the first year after having transferred into AAFOA.
There are no hard and fast rules about becoming a high school football official. Most people who take up the avocation are former players, but some of our best officials also never played the game. More than any other quality a good high school official will be a hard worker. This work includes learning the rules of the game, the “mechanics” of where and how each official goes about his business of calling a game and how to deal with the players, coaches and even fans at the game. He/she will also care about his/her physical appearance and will strive to get in, and stay in, shape to be able to perform at a high level even when weather is bad and the competitive aspect of the game he/she is calling has long since been decided. In other words a good football official cares about the game, the players and him/herself in a way that shows pride in the work being done without also carrying an arrogant attitude.
AAFOA is one of 23 football officials associations in Georgia that have been sanctioned by the state governing body for high school sports (GHSA) to officiate high school football games at the Varsity and sub-Varsity levels.