Students enrolled in a certificate program in conflict resolution can increase their abilities to solve problems by improving their listening skills, communication talents, and willingness to collaborate. Some certificate programs focus on a particular subject area, such as environmental or political conflicts. This type of program is often designed for mid-career professionals; graduates can work in a range of contexts, including business and labor relations, health care, education, and international relations.
Graduate certificate programs typically take a year to complete, and both online and classroom instruction are available. Normally, just a bachelor's degree is required for entry, and all majors are typically considered.
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Conflict Resolution Graduate Certificate
Graduate certificate programs in conflict resolution offer courses on theoretical frameworks for understanding conflict, case studies of disputes, relevant legal contexts, and specific strategies for seeking resolutions. Course topics may include:
- Workplace ethics
- Negotiation strategies
- Religious conflict resolution
- Cross-cultural communication
- Global peace studies
- Arbitration law
Career Options and Job Outlook
Jobs devoted to conflict resolution may be found in a range of industries and sectors. The handling of disputes in the workplace, business relationships, and civil legal proceedings are particularly fertile employment areas for conflict resolution professionals. Individuals with a graduate certificate in conflict resolution may work in such positions as:
- Child custody mediator
- Corporate disputes arbitrator
- Healthcare mediator
- Internal ombudsman at federal agency (mediates complaints from citizens against government)
- Conciliator for state department of labor
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment opportunities for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators will rise by 9% between 2014 and 2024. As of May 2015, individuals in these professions earned an average annual salary of $69,060, based on data from the BLS.
Certification and Continuing Education
Conflict resolution professionals may need to be licensed, certified or registered, depending on the industry and state they work in. A handful of states have certification programs, but otherwise regulation varies widely. Many professional and industry organizations have their own credentialing programs. For example, the American Arbitration Association maintains a national roster of arbitrators and mediators who have been vetted based on experience, education, and peer recommendations.
For students who wish to pursue advanced education in conflict resolution, there are master's and doctoral programs. In these graduate programs, students gain a deeper exposure to research methods, theoretical models of conflict and practical techniques. Internships or fieldwork are often part of the curriculum. Master's programs, which normally involve 1-2 years of full-time study, culminate in a research project or thesis. Ph.D. programs, which normally require an investment of several years, lead to the completion of a dissertation based on extensive original research. Graduate programs in conflict resolution prepare students for higher-level work in dispute management, consulting, and policy analysis. Graduates may also seek research and teaching careers in the field.
Graduate certificate programs in conflict resolution typically equip professionals with the diplomatic means of handling arguments and disagreements. Students learn how to facilitate dialogues by developing interdisciplinary skills, which also prepare them for prospective registration, licensing, or certification.