How to Become a Mediator


To become a mediator you should like to fix problems, to negotiate for a resolution between parties that are not always on speaking terms. Training is a necessity, of course, but the legal requirements are minimal. There is a lot of competition, but there are niches to be filled where you might have the market almost to yourself.

For example, in the June 6, 2011 issue of Forbes magazine, Tom Van Riper reported on Ken Gutman, who started a company called "Fiscal Resolutions," doing mediation specifically for franchisees and franchisers. According to Forbes Magazine;

As of 2009 at least 8,100 professional mediators had set up shop in the U.S. More keep piling in. A majority look to settle matters involving divorce or business contracts, or employee issues like wrongful termination. Despite the 3,500 franchises running 450,000 locations in the U.S., negotiators with franchise expertise are rare. "You're lucky to find five good people in any state, while you can find dozens for divorces," says Chuck Doran, founder of Mediation Works Incorporated in Boston, which provides and trains professional mediators.

Certifications are available and recommended, even if not required by law in your area. Essentially you have to like being the guy (or gal) in the middle if you hope to enjoy this line of work. You are hired by one or the other or both parties in a dispute so that they can avoid a more costly trip to court.

How Much Can You Make?

The niche and your skill--both at mediation and at marketing yourself--will determine what you make. It's common for a new professional mediator to struggle, but experienced mediators can make up to $700 per hour. In the case of Gutman (in the Forbes article) he charges $150 an hour and travel expenses, and says he works the first half-day for free in order to show clients what he has to offer.

Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities | Tips

The niches are the place to start if you want less competition. You might choose a niche like dealing with builder/client disputes, for example. But you need to know the niche well if you want to charge top dollar.

For additional revenue you can offer advisory services. You might help a client find ways to cut costs, for example, or find cheaper insurance.

If you want to keep your marketing costs down, you can rely on referrals, visit to industry trade shows, use email to contact prospective clients, and sign up for networking websites like LinkedIn.

Qualifications / Requirements

The legal requirements vary from state to state, but in addition to checking out any licensing or certifications you may need or want, get educated in the area you'll be working in.

First Steps

Check online to see if there are any legal requirements to become a mediator where you live. Then do some research to see if there is a demand for the type of service you plan to offer. Finally, get some training as a professional mediator--and perhaps get certified.


Forbes Article - The primary source for much of the information above, and a good success story as well.

Mediation Training Institute International - One of the companies offering training and certification (in less than a week for some programs).

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