Become A Mediator

Most mediators are thrilled that our field has made it to the small screen with the new show "Fairly Legal."  While admitting that mediation is presented in a Hollywood-esque fashion, the overall theme of conflict resolution, win-win agreements and effective listening are true to life. 

Are you someone who is considering a career enhancement or change? Do you have a knack for helping others solve problems? Are you the one they come to because you are a good listener? These qualities and others may open you to a new field: mediation.

How do I begin?  Enroll in a Basic Mediation training class (generally 12-16 hours). Learn the vocabulary of the field, the steps of a mediation, when not to mediate, how to conduct a thorough intake and more.

Are there any pre-requirements?  If you hold a 4-year bachelor's degree and at least two years' work in some human-service field, eg., nursing, teaching, nursing home administration, customer service, HR and others, you qualify for the course and certificate.

When do I receive the certificate?  At the close of the course.

How will mediation training help me?  Some mediators set up a private mediation practice. Others use their mediation training on the job. Still others specialize and get more elective niche areas such as elder, truancy, health care, real estate, foreclosure and other types of mediation. For divorce and family mediation, the State of Ohio requires a minimum 52 hours (including Basic training), to work in this arena. A mediation certificate will make you more marketable as you advance in your career.

What is training like?   Interactive classes are the best which include lecture, group discussion, video, and several role plays for practice and feedback by the trainer.

Do I have to take a test?  No. Unlike other disciplines such as law or counseling for example, mediation is still an unregulated field. Therefore, there are no state boards, oral exams or the like to receive a certificate. 

How would I gain experience as a mediator?  There are opportunities to volunteer at local agencies or with the local Association for Dispute Resolution. Some mediators pair with seasoned mediators to sit in on cases (with permission of the clients) and participate as they gain confidence.  Many join on-line groups to learn from members and ask questions.  Two such groups on LinkedIn are Mediation Mentors and The Conflict Coaching Guild.  Also, many go on-line to research articles on the topic for personal continued learning and read books such as Ury's Getting to Yes or Mediating at an Uneven Table by Beck-Kritek among hundreds of others.

For more information about becoming a mediator or for a list of Basic Mediation trainings, call Northcoast Conflict Solutions at (216) 236-6200 or visit


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Volume 3, Issue 3, Posted 6:01 PM, 03.01.2011