How to Become a Mediator

How to Become a Mediator

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution practice that strives to help two or more conflicting parties reach a common agreement. Mediators are trained legal professionals that act as neutral parties to help people solve their conflicts outside of a court environment.

What does a mediator do?

Mediators help resolve legal issues and conflicts by acting in a neutral manner. They help people reach a solution that everyone accepts. They gather the necessary information and prepare required documents such as reports, summaries, and testimonials. They often verify important information and conduct research activities on related topics and cases. Mediators consider the needs and wants of all parties and use a variety of techniques to reach a common agreement. They explain the process of mediation and provide a supportive negotiation setting. They sometimes offer suggestions and help parties understand and evaluate the issues to resolve the dispute.

What kind of training does a mediator need?

Mediators typically need formal training. Many mediators complete training through postsecondary institutions, national and local mediation membership organizations, and independent mediation programs. Many mediators complete formal apprenticeship programs. Some mediators complete master degrees in conflict management or dispute resolution. Others have a law degree. Prospective mediators typically complete courses in public policy, mediation theory, mediation techniques, business law, and a variety of other law topics. Some mediators start their careers by co-mediation with an experienced mediator. They move on to independent tasks as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Some states require mediators to become licensed. Mediators must stay up to date with advancements in the field and related trends, rulings, and legislative decisions to successfully perform their jobs. They often participate in continuing education and additional training throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a mediator?

Employment of mediators is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 14% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The increase in individuals and organizations requesting litigation alternatives will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be very good especially for mediators with advanced education and extensive experience. Mediators with specialization and professional certification will have the best job opportunities.

How much do mediators make?

As of January 2010, mediators with less than 1 year experience earn average annual salaries between $29,833 and $50,869. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average annual salaries between $38,609 and $56,523 (2).

A career as a mediator is a great choice for people with a strong interest in alternative dispute resolution. Mediators must have a solid understanding of mediation techniques and processes and a solid understanding of conflict resolution strategies. Detail orientation, ability to assess large amounts of information, good negotiation skills, and good problem solving skills are essential characteristics. Mediators must have good listening skills and excellent communication to be able to effectively run meetings and negotiate resolutions to conflicts. They must also always keep sensitive information related to parties confidential.

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