To become a certified mediator, you will need to first determine the type, or types, of mediation that you want to specialize in. Many mediation educational programs are targeted toward specific types of mediation, as are both professional and court-based certification programs. It is also important that you learn about courthouse policy in your area regarding recognition of mediation services and individual mediators. In some cases, you may have to obtain certification from different courthouses in the area or areas where you choose to practice. You will typically also have to complete ongoing continuing education courses in order to retain your certification or certifications.
If you want to become a certified mediator, you will typically have to complete a recognized program in mediation. This program will be in addition to any academic or professional training that you already have. For example, if you are already a licensed lawyer, social worker, or counselor, you may still have to complete a program in mediation before you can become a certified mediator. As you look into educational programs, you will want to ensure that the program is recognized by both a professional mediator certification organization as well as any other organizations or institutions for which you may want to work.
As you begin your search for an educational program, check to see whether the program offers training in the area or areas of mediation that interest you. For example, many courts certify family law mediators who can work with divorcing couples. You want to find a program that will train you in divorce mediation, and you will want to make sure that the courthouses in your area recognize the program as adequate educational preparation for their certified mediators. Review the program carefully and make sure that you meet its admissions requirements and that you will be able to afford the program and attend all necessary classes. Keep in mind that some basic mediator courses will not prepare you for working as a legal mediator, but may provide a good background for pursuing additional training in mediating legal cases.
After you complete an educational program, you will typically need to become certified by a professional organization. This may include submitting transcripts from your coursework as well as taking an exam and completing a lengthy application process. After you receive your professional certification, you may be able to become a certified mediator through your local court system. Each courthouse will have its own qualifications, and you may be required to submit documentation of your previous education and certification. You may also be expected to undergo and pass a background check.