NCRC: National Conflict Resolution Center


Becoming a Mediator FAQs

How does NCRC select its mediator corps?
NCRC maintains a roster of over 200 trained and experienced mediators. A selection committee meets quarterly to assess program needs and to fill openings in the mediator corps from a waiting list. Interested candidates should send a letter and resume outlining their skills, training, and experience to the Mediator Selection Committee at NCRC, 625 Broadway, Suite 1221, San Diego, CA 92101.

With some exceptions, new mediators are chosen from among the approximately twenty annual graduates of the NCRC Mediator Credential, because these candidates have received the training, observation, and experience necessary to be effective mediators. General mediator skills that NCRC looks for are the ability to appear neutral, to listen well, and to guide disputing parties through a process that brings them to a resolution. Language skills as well as cultural and geographic diversity may be selection priorities during some screening periods.

NCRC mediators usually maintain their outside occupations and mediate for NCRC on an "as needed" basis. Some are more active than others. Over fifty occupations are represented in the mediator corps including education, engineering, business, mental health, medicine, and law enforcement.

New mediators generally are assigned as co-mediators with more experienced mediators in small claims cases and community cases. As mediators gain expertise, they may be given opportunities to serve on one or more special mediator panels such as: Court, Parent-Teen, Real Estate, Probate, or Workplace. Experienced NCRC mediators often mediate solo.

New NCRC mediators make a commitment to donate 10 hours per month for a one-year apprenticeship that includes ongoing monthly training. Traditionally, many NCRC mediators have stayed for years beyond the initial commitment.

What is the NCRC Mediator Credential?
Offered to serious practitioners since 1993, the NCRC Mediator Credential is a certificate awarded to mediators who have demonstrated basic competency through a three-pronged curriculum: 30 hours of mediator skills training, a supervised experiential internship, and a detailed performance evaluation. The experiential component includes two observations and 8 mediations. Prior training and experience may entitle an applicant to a waiver of some or all of the first two components and an adjusted fee. There is no prerequisite educational background to apply for the NCRC Mediator Credential. Enrollment may begin at any time throughout the year based on availability. There is usually a waiting list to begin the program. Average completion time for the credential is nine months to a year.

Call (619) 238-2400 for an application and fee information.

What if I’m not sure I want to apply for the NCRC Mediator Credential?
The first part of the credential, the training component, may be taken as a stand-alone activity that can apply towards the credential for up to two years. The training component is satisfied by NCRC’s 4-day (32 hour) Introductory Mediation Skills Training generally offered four different times during each calendar year. The course is open to the public. Enrollment is limited to provide opportunity for effective interaction between training faculty and enrollees.

Call (619) 238-2400 for current fees and schedules.

Does NCRC ever pay its mediators?
The majority of NCRC mediators volunteer their services in return for the training and experience they receive through their affiliation with the National Conflict Resolution Center. Thanks to these volunteers the National Conflict Resolution Center is able to provide accessible community and Small Claims mediation services throughout the County.

NCRC also has a longstanding policy of providing mediator stipends when feasible. Stipends are paid to mediators on certain specialty panels where contracts and private client fees generate revenues that can be shared with the mediator. The Superior Court mediation program is one example where mediators are paid.

What is the general outlook for the future of the field of mediation?
Mediation is making significant and stable progress as a recognized dispute resolution process, establishing a place for itself among the traditional methods of dispute resolution such as litigation, arbitration, and settlement conferences. The value of mediation is becoming apparent to the public and the courts as well as to business and community interests. The National Conflict Resolution Center strongly believes in the future of mediation.

Are mediators required to meet certain professional qualifications and standards?
There is not now, nor is there likely to be soon, a national standard required for mediators. In California, it is expected that eventually there will be a state standard that applies to mediators much as standards have been adopted for psychologists and other professional groups

There is consensus in the field that even in this unregulated situation a responsible mediator has an ethical obligation to acquire sufficient training and experience before providing mediation services to clients. Guidance in the matter can be found in the report "Ensuring Competence and Quality in Dispute Resolution Practice,"1995, published by The Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution (SPIDR) located in Washington, D.C.

What are the career options for professional mediators?
Mediation is still an emerging profession, and quick career achievements are limited. Most private mediators who make significant income from mediating are doing so as an adjunct activity to an already existing problem-solving practice (e.g., engineering, financial planning, law, real estate, or counseling) that can divert a stream of clients into the mediation option. There are currently few, if any, places where one can apply for a job as a full time mediator.

What is the enrollment process for the NCRC Mediator Credentialing Program?
1. Potential applicants are urged to call National Conflict Resolution Center at (619) 238-2400, to discuss their interest and request application materials.

2. Applicants should complete the 32-hour training requirement and receive NCRC training instructors' recommendation to apply for the credentialing program.

3. Applicants complete the NCRC Mediator Credential Application and submit to
Mediator Credentialing Program
National Conflict Resolution Center
625 Broadway, Suite 1221
San Diego, CA 92101.
Applications are not complete unless accompanied by a letter of interest, a resume, and a non-refundable application fee of $50.00.

4. Applicant is interviewed.

5. The NCRC Training Institute evaluates application and availability of program space.

6. Applicant is notified of status.

7. Contract is finalized between candidate and NCRC verifying enrollment period, payment, and services to be provided.

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