How to Become a Certified Cheer Competition Judge

Cheer competitions go way beyond shaking pom-poms and encouraging your team to win. It’s an athletic competition with complex jumps, pyramids, tumbling and dance moves. In high school and school competitions, the judging categories vary on the area and particular event but technique and difficulty are staples.

How to Become a Certified Cheer Competition Judge

Know the sport. It’s one thing being a fan. It’s another thing understanding the proper techniques. This might require years of competing or coaching.

Earn a state certification. Nearly every state has its own certification test to judge competitions on the high school and recreational level. While they differ slightly, most states require a written test and have you judge an event to see if your scores match with an established judge’s score.

Get a National Cheer Judges Certification offered by Cheer Ltd. The company runs prestigious national and regional open competitions every year. A certification qualifies you to judge those tournaments.


Many cheerleading organizations offer training to potential judges who aren’t ready yet to take a test to become certified. This includes being matched with a mentor.

Judges can’t give the appearance of being biased in any way. If there is any perceived conflict of interest, he should refuse to judge the particular event. For example, he should pass if he attended the school or has a daughter who currently attends there.


A judge could be open to criticism by fans and coaches because judging is subjective. You need a thick skin to not let any verbal abuse bother you.

Since it is subjective, a judge will have to provide a justification for each score when questioned by an upset coach.

Many states require a judge to attend a clinic or seminar every year to remain current with the sport’s trends.