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Arbitration Certification and Training Requirements

An arbitrator helps settle disputes as a neutral third party. Continue reading to find out about the arbitration process, if certification is necessary and how it is earned, and which degrees will help you pursue this career in conflict resolution.

Will I Need Certification?

An arbitrator is part of the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process, a path to resolving disputes outside of a court of law through a confidential process that is less formal than a trial. Some states may require arbitrators to be licensed, registered or certified. This may entail completing specific coursework and observing ADR processes conducted by experienced arbitrators. In some states, arbitrators may be required to be licensed attorneys or members of the state bar.

State-level credentialing is required for ADR professionals in Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. Arbitrators most often work within state judicial systems, so there is no federal-level certification for civilian arbitrators, although the branches of the U.S. military have uniform nationwide standards for their arbitrators.

PrerequisitesBachelor's degree, master's degree in conflict resolution or alternative dispute resolution, possibly a law degree
Certification Process Complete coursework, observe ADR processes
Online Availability May be partially or fully available online
Specialty Areas Employment, consumer, commercial, labor, construction
Career Options Human resources management, business negotiations, police work, law office, private arbitration practice
Median Salary (2018)$62,270 (for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)10% growth (for all arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does an Arbitrator Do?

As an arbitrator, you will hear all sides of a dispute, gather data, ask questions and render a verdict based on and limited to the information you have received. During training and certification, you can learn how to enhance listening, problem solving, and critical thinking skills to prepare you for a career helping with disputes.

Arbitrators may have to be certified to work in a particular field such as accounting or legal arbitration and can learn to assist with business negotiations, police work, or human resources management. You may work for the state or a law office, or run your own office with an arbitration practice. Specialty areas of arbitration focus on commercial, consumer, labor, employment or construction disputes.

Do I Need a Degree to Be Certified?

States set the education, experience and licensure requirements for arbitrators. At the very least, you will need a bachelor's degree; however, you will probably be required to continue your education and earn a law degree or a master's degree in conflict resolution or alternative dispute resolution.

Certificates in varying areas of arbitration are also available at the graduate level, though some programs may require you to have or be working towards a law degree in order to enroll. Programs may be offered completely or partially online and tend to focus on a mixture of law, arbitration and negotiation, strategy and critical thinking courses.