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What does a Mediator do?

Mediators have the responsibility of bringing together competing parties to negotiate settlements and resolve conflict through dialogue or official proceedings. The mediator works in a variety of government and private sector industries to facilitate desirable outcomes for involved organizations, businesses, and persons. The goal of mediation is an outcome that is favorable to both parties.

Mediators are known by a variety of names such as mediation commissioner, ombudsman alternative dispute resolution coordinator, arbitrators and conciliators. If you are insightful, think logically, and enjoy conflict resolution, becoming a mediator may be for you.

Job requirements: finding middle ground

Competing interests bring to bear their best arguments, proposals, and documentation, with the hopes of obtaining a favorable decision within the context of mediation. Arbitration and mediation are best known as functions within the judicial system and in settling conflicts between management and labor.

Mediators seek to identify issues and concerns, facilitate communication between disputants, and guide participants toward a mutual understanding of the opposing viewpoint and an agreement that meets the needs of everyone. When an agreed upon resolution is reached, the mediator prepares settlement agreements. In many cases, the mediator administers an official proceeding in which evidence is submitted, relevant laws applied, policies and regulations considered and interpreted, and claims adjudicated.

Mediators are called upon to rule on motions, exceptions, and the admissibility of evidence. At times, mediators must find entirely on the side of one of the involved participants, while at other times, a compromise is forged and agreed upon by both parties.

Employment prospects in mediation

Mediation is an important function that facilitates the best possible compromise or outcome for competing interests and is expected to grow by 14 percent.

Educational prerequisites for a mediator

The required education to be a mediator in a judicial setting varies by state and the court. Mediators may be trained through membership organizations, independent mediation programs, or post-secondary schools. Advanced educational opportunities in mediation include everything from a certificate program through a local college, a 2-year master's degree, or a 4- to 5-year doctoral program. Some mediators choose to earn a law (JD) degree.

Mediators in private industry and labor relations typically possess at least a bachelor's degree in mediation and conflict resolution or a related field.

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