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Conflict Mediator: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a conflict mediator. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.

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Are you skilled at mediating conflict and interested in a career as a conflict mediator? Conflict mediators have the opportunity to work for a variety of employers in the public and private sectors, as well as run their own businesses.

Essential Information

Conflict mediators are uninvolved third parties who assist individuals or groups in conflict with each other to resolve disputes. Conflict mediation is used to resolve disputes in a wide variety of circumstances from disagreements between landlords and tenants to multi-million-dollar lawsuits, and sometimes even to ease international tensions that could otherwise lead to war. Conflict mediators are employed by law offices, corporations, political organizations and the government, or may form their own private mediation practices. While requirements for aspiring mediators may vary, most hold at least a bachelor's degree and have completed some form of mediation-specific training.

Career Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements State licensure requirements vary
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 8%*
Average Salary (2018) $72,760*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for the field of mediators, arbitrators and conciliators should increase by 8% between 2018 and 2028. In 2018, data from the BLS shows the average salary for individuals in these professions was $72,760.

Duties of Conflict Mediators

Impartiality

According to the American Bar Association (ABA), conflict mediators must be impartial and not benefit personally from any outcome of a dispute. This is so all parties to the dispute can trust the mediator to help them find a fair agreement, and so that the mediator will welcome all potential agreements by the parties.

Active Involvement of Parties

By directly involving the parties in the negotiation process and acting as a buffer between them, conflict mediators help everyone involved stay calm and focused on bringing the dispute to a mutually satisfying conclusion. This direct involvement (sometimes called self-determination) also assures that all parties have control in forming the conditions of their resolution, which makes mediated agreements strong and long-lasting.

Confidentiality

Conflict mediators are also required to honor the confidentiality of everything discussed during the mediation process. Parties to disputes must be able to trust that their mediator will not reveal embarrassing information or else the parties may not want to engage in the open and honest dialogue that leads to truly permanent and satisfying settlements.

Conflict Mediator Requirements

Who Can Be a Mediator

While parties to a dispute can agree to use anyone as a mediator whom they mutually trust to help them come to an agreement, the ABA places the responsibility on the mediator to only help in situations where he or she is competent enough to provide quality mediation. Further, while there is no federal licensure requirement for mediators, some states do require mediators to be licensed, certified or registered.

Mediator Training

The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) requires that mediators complete at least 30 hours of training to meet their standards for family mediation and at least 40 hours to meet their standards for divorce mediation. Training programs approved by the ACR must provide conflict mediation theory, professional ethics and hands-on skill building for mediators, focusing especially on mediation role-playing.

While a degree is not necessarily needed to be a conflict mediator, O*Net shows that the majority of professionals working in this field have at least a bachelor's degree. Some schools even offer graduate certificates or degrees that allow students to gain additional training on topics like alternative dispute resolution. Coursework may include conflict communication and negotiation, as well as resolution techniques and the legal dimensions of conflict mediation.

Licensure requirements to work as a conflict mediator vary by state, but are not federally required. Conflict mediators must be able to remain impartial and use effective mediation techniques to help two parties come to an agreement or resolve a conflict. Common employers for mediation include corporations, law offices, political organizations or private practices.

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