Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

Summary

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Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators help disputing parties resolve their conflict by facilitating dialogue and negotiations.
Quick Facts: Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators
2015 Median Pay $58,020 per year
$27.89 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2014 8,400
Job Outlook, 2014-24 9% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 800

What Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators Do

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators facilitate negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties to help resolve conflicts outside of the court system.

Work Environment

Many arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators work for state or local governments or in the legal services industry.

How to Become an Arbitrator, Mediator, or Conciliator

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators typically learn their skills through a combination of education, training, and work experience.

Pay

The median annual wage for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators was $58,020 in May 2015.

Job Outlook

Employment of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Mediations and arbitrations are typically faster and less costly than litigation. However, budget constraints at the local and state level may limit employment growth.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators Do About this section

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Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators help parties come to mutually acceptable agreements.

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators facilitate negotiation and dialogue between disputing parties to help resolve conflicts outside of the court system.

Duties

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators typically do the following:

  • Facilitate communication between disputants to guide parties toward mutual agreement
  • Clarify issues, concerns, needs, and interests of all parties involved
  • Conduct initial meetings with disputants to outline the arbitration process
  • Settle procedural matters such as fees, or determine details such as witness numbers and time requirements
  • Set up appointments for parties to meet for mediation or arbitration
  • Interview claimants, agents, or witnesses to obtain information about disputed issues
  • Prepare settlement agreements for disputants to sign
  • Apply relevant laws, regulations, policies, or precedents to reach conclusions
  • Evaluate information from documents such as claim applications, birth or death certificates, and physician or employer records

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators help opposing parties settle disputes outside of court. They hold private, confidential hearings, which are less formal than a court trial.

Arbitrators are usually attorneys, business professionals, or retired judges with expertise in a particular field. As impartial third parties, they hear and decide disputes between opposing parties. Arbitrators may work alone or in a panel with other arbitrators. In some cases, arbitrators may decide procedural issues, such as what evidence may be submitted and when hearings will be held.

Arbitration may be required by law for some claims and disputes. When it is not thus required, the parties in dispute sometimes voluntarily agree to arbitration rather than proceed with litigation or a trial. In some cases, parties may appeal the arbitrator’s decision.

Mediators are neutral parties who help people resolve their disputes. However, unlike arbitrators, they do not make decisions. Rather, mediators help facilitate discussion and guide the parties toward a mutually acceptable agreement. If the opposing sides cannot reach a settlement with the mediator’s help, they are free to pursue other options.

Conciliators are similar to mediators. Their role is to help guide opposing sides to a settlement. However, they typically meet with the parties separately. The opposing sides must decide in advance if they will be bound by the conciliator’s recommendations. The conciliator typically has no authority to seek evidence or call witnesses, nor do they usually write decisions or make awards.

Work Environment About this section

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Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators usually work in private offices or meeting rooms.

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators held about 8,400 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators were as follows:

Legal services 19%
State government, excluding education and hospitals 15
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 15
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 5
Finance and insurance 4

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators usually work in private offices or meeting rooms. They may travel to a neutral site chosen for negotiations.

Work Schedules

Most arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators work full time. However, some may work part time and also may have other occupations or careers.

How to Become an Arbitrator, Mediator, or Conciliator About this section

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Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators are usually lawyers or business professionals with expertise in a particular field.

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators learn their skills through a combination of education, training, and work experience.

Education

Education is one part of becoming an arbitrator, mediator, or conciliator. Some colleges and universities offer certificate programs, 2-year master’s degrees, or doctoral degree programs in dispute or conflict resolution. However, few candidates receive a degree specific to the field of arbitration, mediation, or conflict resolution. Instead, applicants may use these programs to supplement their existing educational degree and work experience in other fields.

Rather, many positions require an educational degree appropriate to the applicant’s field of expertise, and a bachelor’s degree is often sufficient. Many other positions, however, require applicants to have a law degree, a master’s in business administration, or some other advanced degree.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators are usually lawyers, retired judges, or business professionals with expertise in a particular field, such as construction or insurance. They need to have knowledge of that industry and be able to relate well to people from different cultures and backgrounds.

Training

Although there are no state requirements for mediators working in private settings, mediators typically must meet specific training or experience standards to practice in state-funded or court-appointed mediation cases. Qualifications and standards vary by state or by court. However, most states require mediators to complete 20 to 40 hours of training courses. Some states require additional hours of training in a specialty area.

Some states also require mediators to work under the supervision of an experienced mediator for a certain number of cases before becoming qualified.

Training for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators is available through independent mediation programs, national and local mediation membership organizations, and postsecondary schools. Training is also available by volunteering at a community mediation center.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There is no national license for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators. However, as with training requirements, some states require arbitrators and mediators to become certified to work on certain types of cases. State requirements vary widely.

Some states require licenses appropriate to the applicant’s field of expertise. For example, some courts may require applicants to be licensed attorneys or certified public accountants.

Important Qualities

Critical-thinking skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators must apply rules of law. They must remain neutral and not let their own personal assumptions interfere with the proceedings.

Decisionmaking skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators must be able to weigh facts, apply the law or rules, and make a decision relatively quickly.

Interpersonal skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators deal with disputing parties and must be able to facilitate discussion in a calm and respectful way.

Listening skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators must pay close attention to what is being said in order for them to evaluate information.

Reading skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators must be able to evaluate and distinguish important facts from large amounts of complex information.

Writing skills. Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators write recommendations or decisions relating to appeals or disputes. They must be able to write their decisions clearly so that all sides understand the decision.

Pay About this section

Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

Median annual wages, May 2015

Legal occupations

$78,170

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators

$58,020

Total, all occupations

$36,200

 

The median annual wage for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators was $58,020 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,440, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $118,090.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Finance and insurance $63,750
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 61,390
State government, excluding education and hospitals 59,620
Legal services 55,230
Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations 46,260

Some arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators work part time and may have other occupations or careers.

Job Outlook About this section

Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators

9%

Total, all occupations

7%

Legal occupations

5%

 

Employment of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 800 new jobs over the 10-year period.

Arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution methods often are seen as faster and less expensive than trials and litigation. In addition, many contracts, including employment, customer, and real estate contracts, include clauses requiring complaints and disputes to be decided through mediation or arbitration.

However, many arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators work for state or local governments, and budgetary constraints may limit employment growth. Also, in some cases or industries, litigation is unavoidable or its benefits are preferred over the benefits gained in other types of conflict resolution. 

Job Prospects

Because arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators deal extensively with legal issues and disputes, those with a law degree should have better job prospects. In addition, lawyers with expertise or experience in one or more particular legal areas, such as environmental, health, or corporate law, should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators

23-1022 8,400 9,200 9 800 [XLSX]

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2015 MEDIAN PAY Help
Judges, mediators, and hearing officers

Judges and Hearing Officers

Judges and hearing officers apply the law by overseeing the legal process in courts. They also conduct pretrial hearings, resolve administrative disputes, facilitate negotiations between opposing parties, and issue legal decisions.

Doctoral or professional degree $109,010
Lawyers

Lawyers

Lawyers advise and represent individuals, businesses, and government agencies on legal issues and disputes.

Doctoral or professional degree $115,820
Paralegals and legal assistants

Paralegals and Legal Assistants

Paralegals and legal assistants do a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents.

Associate's degree $48,810
Private detectives and investigators

Private Detectives and Investigators

Private detectives and investigators search for information about legal, financial, and personal matters. They offer many services, such as verifying people’s backgrounds and statements, finding missing persons, and investigating computer crimes.

High school diploma or equivalent $45,610
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Arbitrators, Mediators, and Conciliators,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/arbitrators-mediators-and-conciliators.htm (visited May 03, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. This tab may also provide information on earnings in the major industries employing the occupation.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's Career InfoNet.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2014

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2014, which is the base year of the 2014-24 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2014-24

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2014-24

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2014 to 2024.

2015 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2015, the median annual wage for all workers was $36,200.