All officials who work sanctioned games must register with the USA Hockey Officiating Program. This involves the completion of a simple registration form and the payment of a nominal annual registration fee. After registering, the applicant must pass an open-book rules exam that is designed to cover the basic playing rules that are required at the lower levels. New officials will also have to obtain a black hockey helmet, official's sweater, black trousers and a whistle.
The Officiating Program conducts over 400 pre-season educational seminars for its officials during the fall months. These full-day seminars are mandatory for all officials registering with USA Hockey. All seminars are conducted free-of-charge to participants. The content of these educational seminars ranges from on-ice skills to rules interpretations to advanced theories of officiating. As experience is gained, officials advance to higher-level seminars.