Dispute resolution training usually comes in the form of certificate programs that last for a single course or a single semester of coursework. Applicants will need to already be in possession of a bachelor's degree. The field of dispute and conflict resolution does not have a universal license, though several universities offer certification courses for professional mediators. Some professional organizations, such as the American Arbitration Association, compile lists of dispute resolution experts who have completed training courses, participated in an apprenticeship and received a recommendation. Many programs are offered by reputable organizations, such as Columbia University's International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution.
Find schools that offer these popular programs
Certificate Programs in Dispute Resolution
Coursework teaches students to identify the causes, facets and outcomes of organizational or interpersonal conflict. Students learn strategies for effectively intervening and resolving these conflicts, as well as preventing future disputes. Many of these courses develop understanding of different personalities and foster introspection designed to give students insight into how conflicts evolve and how they are ultimately settled. Classes include role playing to practice skills learned. Career training may also cover:
- Employment equality laws
- Mediation ethics
- Evidence collection and use
- Sexual harassment laws
- Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedures
Employment and Salary Outlook
Conflict resolution is often used in conjunction with another career such as human resource management, union leadership or family counseling. Arbitrators are dispute resolution experts who are registered with local court systems and legal organizations to resolve legal disputes. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, arbitrators, mediators and conciliators accounted for approximately 6,380 jobs in 2015, and earned a mean income of $69,060.
Short career training programs in dispute resolution provide add-on skills for managers and supervisors whose careers are not primarily in conflict resolution. Individuals seeking a career as an arbitrator or mediator in private practice can continue to an ADR certification program at a university. State and local government agencies certify qualified individuals in alternative dispute resolution for resolving small-claims and family disputes outside of the judicial system, following approved training programs. Federal agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs offer certification for workplace conflict resolution.
Dispute resolution certificate programs are designed for those who have already completed a bachelor's degree and want to gain skills related to conflict resolution. These relatively short courses cover all kinds of labor and equality laws and teach people how to effectively deescalate tense situations in the workplace and in the context of mediation sessions.