Adjudicator Training and Degree Program Information

Oct 14, 2019

Individuals seeking work as adjudicators can pursue an undergraduate or graduate certificate or a master's degree in conflict management or mediation. These programs prepare students or professionals to mediate disputes between different groups or individuals.

Essential Information

Students can find training to become an adjudicator through undergraduate and graduate certificate programs or master's degree programs in mediation, negotiation or conflict management. The admissions requirements differ by program, but may include a bachelor's degree (for graduate certificate and master's programs) and the completion of related coursework or certain majors. Some schools allow non-degree-seeking students.

It takes one semester to complete an undergraduate certificate and 2 years for master's programs. Internships are required for most programs, and completion of a thesis or final project is required for a master's degree.

The curriculum for these training options focuses on ways to communicate professionally in order to negotiate and mediate a variety of disputes. Students also learn techniques to settle conflicts with individuals and families.

Adjudicator Undergraduate Certificate

Students in these programs learn methods for helping people with opposing ideas communicate and come to an agreement. Techniques can benefit professionals in various fields. It typically takes about one semester to complete such a program.

Students can expect to complete approximately 12-16 credits of coursework. There are usually some required courses that all students must take. Additionally, students often choose from electives in order to study topics that correlate with their career goals. Common courses may include:

  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Communication methods
  • Diversity and communication
  • Settlement

Adjudicator Graduate Certificate Program

Several postsecondary schools have graduate certificate programs in conflict management, mediation, dispute resolution or negotiation. Students learn the practical skills for resolving various types of disputes. Graduate certificate programs include similar coursework to a master's degree program, but have fewer requirements. In some cases, coursework can be used toward continuing education credits or other credentials.

Curricula in these programs are often interdisciplinary, so students learn skills that can apply to a diverse range of fields. Some programs may allow students to customize their coursework with electives so they can specialize in a particular field. Some programs may allow students to gain practical skills through an internship or practicum experience. Coursework may include:

  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Conflict evaluation
  • Family mediation
  • Public dispute resolution

Adjudicator Master's Degree Programs

Master's programs related to adjudication are also more commonly found under titles such as conflict management and mediation. Online programs are available in addition to traditional campus-based classes, and can usually be completed in about two years. Students learn practical and theoretical communication concepts and dispute resolution while also studying relevant research topics. Degrees can be awarded as either a Master of Arts or Master of Science.

A core set of classes is required by all students, but electives are also available so students can choose classes that are specific to their career goals. Fieldwork or internships are common so students can apply their conflict resolution skills in professional settings. Common core classes may include:

  • Conflict resolution theory
  • Negotiation techniques
  • Mediation ethics
  • Evaluating conflict
  • Research methods

Employment Outlook and Salary

Graduates of this master's program may qualify for positions as arbitrators, mediators and conciliators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), arbitrators are often lawyers or business professionals who are proficient in specific fields and their decisions are final. Mediators and conciliators help resolve disputes, but their decisions are not compulsory. The BLS projected an 8% employment growth for arbitrators, mediators and conciliators from 2018-2028. These professionals earned median salaries of about $62,270, according to May 2018 BLS data.

Continuing Education

Bachelor's degree programs for adjudicators are rare. However, relevant learning concepts are taught in majors such as communications, legal studies and public policy.

Some schools also offer Ph.D. programs in adjudicator-related fields; online and campus-based programs are available. These programs are designed for students looking to further pursue research in conflict management and adjudication. Graduates may qualify for administrative, research or academic positions.

Popular Careers

Graduates of an undergraduate certificate program may need additional skills to acquire certain positions. However, they can apply their learned skills to fields, such as law, non-profit and business. Some possible occupations include:

  • Mediation specialist
  • Conciliator
  • Arbitrator

Undergraduate and graduate certificates, in addition to a master's degree, are all options for individuals interested in becoming mediators. Students receive training in conflict management, mediation, dispute resolution and negotiation in order to work in a number of different environments.

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