What Is a Mediator? - Requirements & Job Description

Read on below and find out how to become a professional mediator. Get more insights on educational requirements, training and career, and salary information. Schools offering Criminal Justice degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career at a Glance

A mediator serves as a neutral party who would help resolve conflicts between two feuding parties. As a mediator, he or she will be able to guide both parties in settling the issue and avoiding a full litigation process. Check out the table for information on the requirements to become a mediator.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree; a law degree or a master's degree may be required
Training Required On-the-job training through mediation programs, mediation organizations (local or state) and postsecondary schools
License and Certification Certification is required by some states
Job Growth (2016-2026) 10% (arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators)
Median Pay (2017) $60,670 annually; $29.17 hourly (arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Mediator Do?

Mediators help resolve disputes without making binding decisions. Although not all mediation cases handled can be resolved immediately, having a mediation process provides both parties an opportunity to come into a mutual agreement. The process of mediation will enable both parties to know what they want to achieve in this conflict. A mediator is not a court judge although both work on the same goal of settling disputes between two parties. A court judge requires more extensive training. In addition, a court judge has the power to make the decision for both parties while a mediator lets both parties or their lawyers settle the dispute for themselves.

What are the Educational Requirements?

In pursuing a career in mediation, one should have a bachelor's degree appropriate to an expertise, such as business. One can also take up courses in conflict resolution, mediation and arbitration. There are firms that do require candidates to have a law degree. There are others that require mediators to have a master's degree in business administration or other advanced degree.

Do I Need Training?

Although many mediators are expert professionals in their own industries, such as business, insurance and construction, significant on-the-job training is still a requirement for one to have a career in mediation. Usually, this involves working under a professional mediator before taking on one's own cases. Some states also require certification, and a certain number of training hours is a general requirement to become certified; 20-40 hours of training courses is common.

What Cases Does a Mediator Handle?

Not all cases and lawsuits can be handled by a mediator. Mediators can only work on specific lawsuits such as injury and tort cases, breach of contracts, claims on wrongful termination and family law. Mediators will never work on criminal lawsuits, immigration cases, deportation or bankruptcy.

Where Can I Work and How Much is the Pay?

Many mediators work in state and local governments while other mediators work in private legal firms. Some mediators establish their own private practice and hold meetings either in their own offices, conference rooms or private functions rooms. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median pay for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators was $60,670 annually or $29.17 hourly in 2017.

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