Becoming A Mediator
Who Can Mediate?
| Qualifications | Training | Jobs |
In Oregon, as in most states, a person can offer private mediation services without taking a class, passing a test or having a special license or certification. In reality, many private mediators, and most of those who work for mediation organizations, have some training and experience.
The report of the Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) Commission of Qualifications (April 1995) states that "no particular degree is necessarily a prerequisite for competence as a neutral and the use of a degree as a main criteria for credentialing dispute resolution professionals deprives the parties of access to practitioners with different ranges of skills and works against increasing diversity within the field." Oregon law states that "formal education in any particular field shall not be a prerequisite to serving as a mediator." (ORS 36.185)
There is currently no clear consensus on what qualifications mediators need in order to perform competently in the many and varied contexts in which mediation is practiced. Currently in Oregon, as in most states, there is no process for a person to become certified or licensed to provide mediation services.
Mediators in programs that receive state funds to provide dispute resolution services, however, must meet the minimum qualification and training requirements established by the Oregon Dispute Resolution Commission and set out in Oregon Administrative Rules (OAR Chapter 718). Individual programs often have additional requirements for training and practice under the supervision of an experienced mediator.
It is typical for a mediator to have completed a 32-40 hour basic mediation training. After such training, new mediators commonly receive mentoring from experienced mediators. Mediators specializing in areas such as workplace disputes, family mediation, land-use issues, etc. commonly complete additional training in those specific areas. Mediators also seek continuing education opportunities on an on-going basis.
You might consider becoming a volunteer mediator at your local community mediation program. Many of these programs offer low-or-no cost training in exchange for volunteer commitments. See OMA's Community Mediation Centers page for more information.
Mediation, as a profession, is still young but is growing rapidly in Oregon. While many mediators experience difficulty establishing a mediation practice, others have had significant success.
Professional opportunities within the field exist beyond private practice. State and local governments, large businesses, and community mediation centers are all hiring increasing numbers of mediators.
Inquire with mediators in your area as to the realities of a career in mediation. And be sure to visit OMA's JOB Page for the most recent opportunities and job postings.