Conflict resolution is a good career choice for people with good interpersonal and mediation skills, particularly if they already possess a law or public policy degree. These professionals work to settle disputes outside of the court, and job growth is predicted to be faster than average in the coming years.
Conflict resolution professionals work as arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators to resolve disputes that fall outside of the judicial process. Many conflict resolution professionals have a law degree, however a master's degree in public policy, law or other related field is also suitable.
|Required Education||Law degree or master's degree in public policy, law, or other related field|
|Other Requirements||Training courses and certifications can be required, depends on state or court|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||9% (arbitrators, mediators and conciliators)*|
|Median Salary (2015)||$58,020 (arbitrators, mediators and conciliators)*|
Source: *Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for all types of conflict resolution professionals was $58,020 in May 2015 (www.bls.gov). This figure includes conflict resolution professionals who work as arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators.
The BLS indicated that employment of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators was projected to grow by about 9% between 2014 and 2024. Alternatives to litigation usually are quicker, more cost-effective, and conclusive, prompting parties in dispute to utilize the services of conflict resolution professionals (www.bls.gov).
Work should be available, but opportunities may be reduced due to high job retention rates. However, those professionals who have earned multiple certifications and specializations should have better employment options, according to the BLS.
Conflict resolution professionals use the methods of alternative dispute resolution to perform their duties. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a term that describes various out-of-court conflict management techniques, as explained by the legal directory website HG.org. Depending on which method is used, conflict resolution professionals' roles vary.
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Arbitrators, Mediators and Conciliators
Arbitrators hear evidence, receive testimony from the parties, and subsequently make binding decision that parties must follow. Mediators are neutral and may offer suggestions to disputants, but resolution of the dispute rests with the parties. Conciliators take an active role in resolution negotiations and may give suggestions to help parties settle their disputes, according to the American Arbitration Association (www.aaauonline.org).
Education and Training
Many conflict resolution professionals have a law degree; however, master's degrees in public policy, law, and related fields like social science are suitable for the work. Those with expert knowledge of a particular field, specifically when related to the dispute, are able to work as conflict resolution professionals (www.bls.gov).
According to the BLS, training is available through national and local mediation membership organizations and postsecondary schools. For state- and court-funded programs that require training, conflict resolution professionals complete specific advanced training courses. However, since state and court requirements vary greatly, volunteering or providing assistance to those experienced in the field are ways some conflict resolution professionals receive training.
Certification and Licensure
Currently, national licensure requirements for conflict resolution professionals do not exist, and state regulatory requirements are variable. Some states require certification for professionals, while others do not. To address the inconsistencies in licensure and certification, the American Bar Association (ABA) and the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) have made recommendations for creating national standards for credentialing.
To recap, conflict resolution could mean working professionally as a mediator or arbitrator. Educational and licensing requirements vary depending on the state, specialization, and work environment in which these professionals practice, but most hold a law degree or master's in public policy.