Mediator: what they do, how to become one, and where to study
As conflicts arise, individuals and groups tend to look for a way to resolve them without resorting to the courts or the law enforcement agencies. This is where mediators come in. Mediators are professionals trained in conflict resolution, negotiation, and communication techniques, whose main task is to help parties in a dispute come to an agreement. In this article, we will discuss what a mediator does, their specialties, tasks, and responsibilities, and how to become one. We will also take a look at the demand and salary ranges for this profession, and the important qualities of a successful mediator. By the way, recently the ProfGuide career guidance center has developed a precise career orientation test, which will tell you which professions are suitable for you, provide a conclusion about your personality type and intelligence.
- Introduction to Mediator as a profession
- Tasks and responsibilities
- Pros and Cons
- Salary ranges
- Where do Mediators work?
- Important qualities of a successful Mediator
- Step-by-step career path
- How to become a Mediator
- Where to become a Mediator
- Can you enter the profession with a different degree?
Introduction to Mediator as a profession
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where a neutral third party helps conflicting parties to reach a mutually satisfactory solution. A mediator facilitates communication, encourages the parties to understand each other's perspectives, and helps them generate options for resolving the dispute. Mediation can be used in a variety of contexts, including family disputes, workplace conflicts, business transactions, and community disputes.
Mediators are professionals who are trained in the mediation process and techniques. They work with parties in conflict to help them reach an agreement that is acceptable to all parties involved. The role of a mediator is to remain neutral and unbiased throughout the mediation process. They do not take sides or make decisions for the parties involved. Instead, they help the parties communicate effectively and find common ground.
There are different types of mediators who specialize in specific areas of conflict resolution. Some of the common specializations include family mediation, workplace mediation, commercial mediation, and community mediation.
Family mediators help families resolve conflicts related to divorce, custody, and child support. Workplace mediators work with employers and employees to resolve workplace disputes. Commercial mediators assist parties in business disputes such as contract disputes and partnership dissolutions. Community mediators help resolve conflicts between members of the community, such as disputes between neighbors.
Tasks and responsibilities
The tasks and responsibilities of a mediator vary depending on their area of specialization. However, some common responsibilities of mediators include:
- Meeting with the parties involved to explain the mediation process and discuss their goals for mediation
- Facilitating communication and helping the parties to identify the issues in dispute
- Helping the parties to generate options for resolving the dispute
- Helping the parties to evaluate the options and reach a mutually satisfactory solution
- Drafting a written agreement that reflects the parties' agreement
Pros and Cons
Like any profession, being a mediator has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of being a mediator:
- Helping people resolve their conflicts and reach a mutually satisfactory solution can be rewarding
- Mediation can be a less expensive and more time-efficient alternative to litigation
- Mediators can work independently or as part of a larger organization
- Mediators can work in a variety of settings, including court systems, non-profit organizations, and private firms
- Mediation can be emotionally challenging, especially when dealing with family disputes
- The outcome of mediation is not always predictable, and parties may not reach an agreement
- The work of a mediator is highly dependent on referrals, which can be unpredictable
- Mediators may need to work unconventional hours to accommodate the schedules of the parties involved
Mediators are in high demand in many parts of the world, including the USA, Canada, GB, and Australia. The demand for mediators is expected to grow in the coming years as more individuals and organizations look for alternative ways to resolve their disputes.
The salary ranges for mediators vary depending on their level of experience, area of specialization, and geographic location. Here are some general salary ranges for mediators in the USA, Canada, GB, and Australia:
- USA: $40,000 - $150,000 per year
- Canada: C$42,000 - C$103,000 per year
- GB: £23,000 - £57,000 per year
- Australia: A$50,000 - A$115,000 per year
Where do Mediators work?
Mediators work in a variety of settings, including court systems, non-profit organizations, and private firms. They may also work independently and run their own mediation practice. Mediators are needed in different areas of conflict resolution, including family law, employment law, business law, and community conflict resolution.
The need for mediators is also increasing in the workplace, as employers are recognizing the benefits of alternative dispute resolution processes. Mediators may work in human resources departments, legal departments, or as independent consultants to help resolve workplace disputes.
Important qualities of a successful Mediator
To be successful as a mediator, one must possess certain qualities. Here are some important qualities of a successful mediator:
- Excellent communication skills
- Active listening skills
- Impartiality and neutrality
- Creativity and problem-solving skills
- Empathy and emotional intelligence
- Patience and persistence
- Cultural competence and sensitivity
Not everyone is suitable for this profession. Those who struggle with staying neutral or who cannot deal with conflict in an unbiased manner may not be well-suited for this profession.
Step-by-step career path
The path to becoming a mediator varies depending on the country and state/province. Here is a general step-by-step career path:
- Obtain a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as psychology, sociology, or conflict resolution.
- Get certified as a mediator by completing a training program that meets the requirements of the state/province or certification body.
- Gain experience by volunteering or interning with a mediation program or organization.
- Consider pursuing advanced training or certifications in a specialized area of conflict resolution.
- Obtain membership in professional organizations to network with other mediators and stay current with industry developments.
- Consider pursuing a master's degree in conflict resolution, which may be required for certain positions or specializations.
How to become a Mediator
The requirements for becoming a mediator vary depending on the state/province and type of mediation. In the USA, some states require a bachelor's degree and completion of a mediator training program. Other states do not have specific requirements, but completion of a training program may still be necessary for certification.
In Canada, there is no national certification body for mediators, but some provinces have certification requirements. In GB, mediators may need to complete an accredited mediation course and become a member of a recognized mediation organization. In Australia, mediators are required to complete a national mediator accreditation program.
Where to become a Mediator
There are many organizations and institutions that offer mediator training programs and certifications. Here are five examples for each country:
- National Association of Certified Mediators
- American Arbitration Association
- The Institute for Conflict Management
- The Center for Dispute Settlement
- Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation
- ADR Institute of Canada
- Mediation Training Institute
- Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada
- Conflict Resolution Network Canada
- British Columbia Arbitration and Mediation Institute
- UK Mediation
- The Academy of Experts
- The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution
- National Mediation Helpline
- The Chartered Institute of Arbitrators
- The Resolution Institute
- LEADR and IAMA
- The Australian Disputes Centre
- The Mediation Institute
- The Australian Mediation Association
Can you enter the profession with a different degree?
While having a degree in a relevant field can be helpful, it is not always necessary to become a mediator. Some mediators come from backgrounds in law, business, or social work, while others have experience in conflict resolution from other professions. However, completing a mediator training program and obtaining certification is typically required to become a mediator, regardless of educational background.
In conclusion, mediation is an important alternative dispute resolution process that relies on the skills and expertise of trained mediators. Mediators work in a variety of settings and specializations, helping parties in conflict to reach a mutually satisfactory solution. While the path to becoming a mediator may vary, completing a training program and obtaining certification is typically required. The demand for mediators is expected to continue to grow, making this a promising profession for those interested in conflict resolution and negotiation.