Who Can Be a Mediator?
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 and it will be important to build solid skills before seeing work (volunteer or otherwise) as a mediator.
What Qualifications Does a Mediator Need?
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. Visit our mediator qualifications page for more specific information.
Where Can I Get Training and Experience?
- 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 Dispute Resolution Centers page for more information.
- Regardless of your level of experience, the OMA Training & Education Calendar will have a wide variety of educational opportunities. These events are also a great way to meet current mediators and build a network of support.
- Finally, several of Oregon’s universities are also committed to developing our state’s conflict resolution skills. The university-based programs below offer a range of opportunities from single classes to Master’s degree programs. See our page on University Based Conflict Resolution Programs for more information.
Is There Work for Mediators?
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. Be sure to visit our Community Announcement Page for information on jobs, volunteer opportunities, and internships. In addition, check out OMA’s Tools for your Practice to help you develop as a professional and build your practice.