what is a mediator?
mediators are legal professionals who work with opposing parties in a legal dispute and find a way to settle matters outside of court. they do not hold the same authority as a judge or magistrate, but their importance in conflict resolution cannot be underscored. are you interested in learning how to become a mediator? our guide will help you understand the skills, training, and other requirements involved.
becoming a mediator: education and training
gaining a college education is one of the ways by which an individual could become a mediator. this route involves completing a bachelor's degree followed by a two year master's program in dispute resolution or conflict management. some may even choose to pursue an advanced doctoral degree, which could take four to five years to complete. the advantage of this approach is that it allows the degree holder to work within the mediation field and carry the same expertise towards the corporate world as well, adding flexibility.
alternatively, you could complete a certification program in conflict resolution from many colleges or universities that offer this type of program. in the state of new york for instance, the new york state dispute resolution association offers a 40-hour course in mediation techniques, which could add credibility to your resume. once you have completed this training, you may apply for and obtain a referral from your local court endorsing your ability to mediate and help resolve conflicts. while this is not a requirement, it will again help enhance your reputation in the field.
skills needed by a mediator
an effective mediator will be able to combine good listening and critical reasoning skills to arrive at a fair and just decision. mediators often choose to maintain records of what both parties in a dispute are claiming and read over the records later while deliberating over the case. maintaining detailed records requires them to pay attention to what is being said. of foremost importance is the mediator's ability to stay neutral during the resolution process. being favored towards any party will automatically skew the decision unfairly. as a person, the mediator must be upstanding and responsible.
while a mediator may be highly useful in resolving a conflict, it is important to note that they do not have any binding authority over either of the parties. the mediator only makes suggestions regarding a possible solution, and will try to bring all parties on the same page. if the disputing parties do not accept the mediator's decision or find it unsatisfactory, they can pursue other legal means. in comparison, a judge or magistrate's ruling will be more legally binding upon the parties.
the us bureau of labor statistics reported that the median annual wage in 2010 for this profession was $55,800. however, the number of jobs in this field is not expected to grow by a lot, and the bls predicts growth at only 7% between 2010 and 2020. this is because most opposing parties choose to go to court with their proceedings to obtain a more binding resolution.