When choosing mediator training, take time to evaluate your own career goals and the laws and policies regarding the practice of mediation in the area where you wish to work. As you begin your search for training programs, pay close attention to the reputation of both course providers and instructors. Seek out word-of-mouth recommendations from your colleagues as well as mediators who are already established in their field. Another good option is contacting an organization for professional mediators and asking for referrals to quality mediator courses. Finally, it is always important to consider your personal circumstances and whether you can afford a particular program or whether it is scheduled in a way that makes it easy for you to participate in classes and events.
If you are unfamiliar with the field of mediation, you should spend some time talking to practicing mediators to get their opinions of the various mediator training programs available to you. You may also wish to ask their opinions of different instructors in the mediation field. If you find that some instructors are more highly recommended than others, you should take this into consideration when choosing a program. Verify that course instructors have legitimate qualifications in mediation, such as membership in professional associations as well as industry-recognized training.
Some mediator training programs have a religious influence, which may be something that you appreciate or wish to avoid. Keep in mind, however, that just because a program is taught through a religiously affiliated organization does not mean that the training itself has a religious bias. If this is a concern, ask the program coordinators for information about religious content and verify what they tell you by talking to program graduates.
In many areas, professional mediators are not licensed by government agencies, but they may be recognized by court systems and professional certifying organizations. If your intention is to become a professional mediator in an area that typically requires its mediators to be recognized by a court or certification board, you will want to make sure that any mediator training program you enroll in is recognized by the court system or certifying body. It is often best verify the recognition of the program by contacting the court or certification body directly and asking if a program that interests you will help you qualify for certification. If it does not, you should understand that by completing that program you will be limiting your future career options unless you are willing to undergo an additional recognized mediator training program.