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Online Degrees in Mediation by Program Level

Find out about online mediation courses and in which educational programs they're most commonly offered. Get course descriptions, program info and online requirements to make an informed decision.

Essential Information

Mediation has become the preferred alternative for contesting parties wishing to resolve their disputes at minimal cost. An online master's degree is a good alternative for people with some legal education, attorneys or anyone who wants to pursue a career in conflict resolution.

There are several educational paths for a career in mediation, and both certificate programs and master's degrees are available online. Some hybrid programs may have a few on-campus requirements, but most programs are offered entirely online. Both certificate and master's programs require that students hold bachelor's degrees, and minimum GPA and GRE scores may be required. A law degree is a good foundation for education as a mediator, and some states require that mediators be experienced lawyers. Licensing requirements for mediators vary widely by state.

Courses in mediation programs at both levels cover conflict theory, negotiation techniques, family conflict and organizational conflict. Master's degree students may have to complete research projects. Residencies may also be required.

Certificate in Mediation

Online certificate programs in mediation provide a focused introduction to the topic. Students learn to resolve or manage conflict while developing communication and problem-solving skills. Programs emphasize the application of these skills to workplaces, with the aim of enabling students to help organizations implement more effective policies for handling conflict. Candidates for a certificate program typically have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 grade point average, and take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

Program Information and Requirements

Students may complete all courses in an online certificate in mediation entirely online. Assignments, lectures and readings are accessible via a school's website at a student's convenience. Participation in an online certificate program requires a personal computer and Internet access. A certificate can typically be earned in one year or less.

Course Topics

Certificate mediation programs are generally shortened versions of master's degree mediation programs. All credits earned in a certificate program may be applied towards a master's degree.

Conflict Theory

Students in this course learn theories on the sources of conflict and the factors that perpetuate it. Topics explored include conflict between individuals, families, couples and communities.

Consumer Conflict

This course examines the relationship between consumers and manufacturers or service providers and sources of conflict between them. Coursework focuses on improving communication between a business and its customers.

Family Conflict

Family dynamics and specific points of friction that generate conflict between family members are the focus of this course. Topics considered include spousal, sibling and parent-child relationships.

Master's Degree in Mediation

An online master's degree program in mediation explores the process of engaging and resolving conflicts. Programs aim to instill theoretical knowledge and practical competence in alternative dispute resolution. Students hone the skills commonly used in mediation, such as conflict analysis, consultation and facilitation. Applicants need to have earned a bachelor's degree and sustained a grade point average of 3.0 or better.

Program Information and Requirements

Courses in an online master's degree program in mediation can be completed entirely online in most cases, although some programs have a brief residency requirement lasting three weeks. Some also specify the sequence in which courses are completed. Student may access all readings, lectures, assignments and any other content via a school's website. A master's degree is typically earned in 2-3 years.

A personal computer, Internet access and basic productivity software are the minimal technical requirements to participate in an online course. Schools may use an educational content management system, such as Blackboard.

Course Topics

Unlike other master's degree programs, the mediation programs at some schools are made up entirely of required courses. In those instances programs typically consist of 12-13 courses. Other programs have a more traditional organization.

Negotiation

This course explores the range of tactics people can use when negotiating to secure their own interests or to arrive at an accommodation between contending parties. Course work considers the ethical, cultural and historical dimensions of negotiation.

Organizational Conflict

This course focuses specifically on conflict within groups and organizations and strategies for resolving it. The syllabus emphasizes institutional culture and the process of engaging broad constituencies.

Global Mediation

Students in this course examine the special challenges of conflict resolution across national, ethnic and cultural boundaries. Coursework draws on current global conflicts and the efforts to find solutions for them.


Career Information

An online certificate in mediation can help established professionals in law, public relations or other communications-related fields move into careers as a mediator. Private companies, government agencies, non-profit organizations and non-governmental organizations all employ mediators or use their services as consultants. Growth in the profession has been driven and will continue to be driven by the desire of individuals and companies to avoid the expense, time and uncertainty of litigation.

An online master's degree in mediation qualifies graduates to become mediators, also known as arbitrators or conciliators. Positions are available at a number of local, state, national and international organizations that offer mediation services. Alternatively, a degree holder may attempt to run an independent mediation business. However, independent business owners may find themselves spending more time on marketing than on mediating disputes. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that over the years 2014-2024 employment of mediators will grow by 9% (www.bls.gov). Payscale.com reports that as of November 2016, mediators with 1-4 years of experience earned a median salary of $50,000.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of an online certificate program in mediation who want more in-depth training can consider pursing a master's degree in mediation. Several schools offer both certificate and master's degree programs.

Online mediation programs help students gain knowledge and skills related to resolving conflicts and negotiations in different settings. Graduates may work as mediators for private companies, government agencies or organizations.


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