Mediator: Job Description and Information About a Career in Mediation

Mar 16, 2019

Career Definition of a Mediator

A mediator, unlike a lawyer, does not represent any of the parties in a legal dispute. Mediators are hired to be neutral, non-biased, negotiators for everyone involved in the dispute. Using their training in problem-solving, mediators work to help opposing parties mutually resolve their legal dispute without a judge. The services provided by dispute resolution experts, professional negotiators or mediators can be used for careers in legal administration and human resources and within labor unions. Mediators may train to specialize in a particular area of mediation, like child protection services. Mediators are often self-employed. To get on-the-job experience, some mediators volunteer their services.

Education College or university degree not mandatory; some states require certification from a mediation course
Job Skills Communication and negotiation, problem solving, ability to assess multiple sides of an issue
Median Annual Salary (2017) $60,670 (arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators)
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 10% (arbitrators, mediators, conciliators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

A degree from a two or four-year college or university is not necessary for a career in mediation. In some states a certificate of completion from a mediation course may be required, as well as a confidentiality agreement. Mediation courses often include training in negotiation techniques, active listening, conflict management, and how to interpret body language.

Skills Required

Successful mediators have excellent communication and negotiation skills. They have the ability to help others to problem solve and to see both sides of a legal dilemma.

Economic Outlook

Job opportunities for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators are growing at a faster rate than the national average, with a 10% increase predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) from 2016-2026. The BLS reported the median annual salary for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators was $60,670 in 2017.

Alternate Career Options

Below are some similar careers to a mediator:

Paralegal and Legal Assistant

By earning an associate's degree in paralegal studies, these professionals have the skills to provide a support function for lawyers. They typically organize files, write documents, and complete legal research. A much faster-than-average employment growth of 15% was anticipated by the BLS from 2016-2026 for paralegals and legal assistants, and this profession paid an annual median salary of $50,410 in 2017.

Private Detective and Investigator

Most private detectives and investigators have work experience in law enforcement and complete on-the-job training. In addition, most states require licensure. A faster-than-average job expansion of 11% for private detectives and investigators was projected during the 2016-2026 decade, per the BLS. In 2017, a median annual wage of $50,700 was reported by the BLS.

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