How to Become a Mediator in New York

Mediators help negotiate in conflicts in professional and family settings before they go to court, in order to avoid high legal costs and overburdened courts. Becoming a mediator in New York doesn't require you to possess any particular background or education, but at least 40 hours of basic training, as well as an apprenticeship is highly recommended before entering the field. The following steps will tell you how to become a mediator in New York.


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    Ask yourself what your goals are in the mediation profession. This will help you decide how to plan your training and what type of employment to look for.
    • How will your background contribute to your mediation career?
    • Do you want to be a volunteer, self-employed or receive a steady paycheck?
    • Do you want to work full time or part time?
    • Do you want to be a mediator in conjunction with your current job?
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    Get training. Though New York State does not require any license for mediators at this time, mediation panels usually require a certain amount of training before they allow you to join.
    • A basic 40-hour course in mediation is highly recommended. You can find listings of course offerings at the New York State Dispute Resolution Association (NYSDRA) website. Some courses are offered by private institutions, while others are offered through various government agencies.
    • Choose a course that includes, at the very least, training in the different Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes; as well as mediation techniques and skills; conflict ethics and theory; diversity; and covers related legal topics.
    • You can also look for courses at institutions of higher education, as increasingly more universities are offering certificates and degrees in conflict resolution.
    • During or after your training period, seek a mentor or an organization that will allow you to apprentice as a mediator in training. This will allow you to learn from experienced professionals and hone your skills before entering the field.
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    Join reputable professional organizations. NYSDRA is the most prominent organization in New York State. Becoming a member will allow you to stay abreast of new developments, network with other professionals, and participate in a wide variety of activities that can help build your reputation.
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    Volunteer on mediation committees. This will give you the opportunity to participate in organizing training for mediators and create new legislation. As you continue to do this, you'll become more of an authority in your field.
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    Mediate in your own profession whenever the opportunity arises. If you are still working in your original profession, look for chances to mediate. This will build your skills and experience.
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    Look for employment.
    • Start on small or local panels in order to build your reputation. In-house corporate and government panels will usually require you to have demonstrable experience before considering you as a candidate.
    • The NYSDRA lists jobs on the website, but you will also hear about openings through your professional network.
    • You can also start your own mediation practice.
    • Consider career options such as Human Resources departments, mediation teaching and training, pro bono organizations, or consulting.


  • Stay up-to-date on your training by participating in continuing education. You can find continuing education courses at professional mediator associations, and through some educational institutes as well as government organizations.

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