Are you a great communicator, negotiator, and problem-solver who can remain unbiased and calm in difficult situations? If yes, a career as a mediator could be perfect for you.
Mediators act as third parties settling cases by fair negotiating through Alternative Dispute Resolutions. They have expertise in handling industrial law disputes, Family law cases, and commercial disputes.
To become a mediator in Australia, you must be accredited and complete the NMAS-recognized mediator training program, including the NMAS-recognised mediation assessment.
This complete guide will educate you on the role and steps to qualify to pursue this career, including mediation training, courses, qualifications, and salary.
1. Who Are Mediators?
Mediators, also called conciliators or arbitrators, are neutral parties who resolve legal disputes between two or more parties outside the courtroom.
They don't represent, advocate, or give advice for either side in litigation but open a communication channel between disputing parties to solve potential solutions that benefit everyone.
They deal with legal disputes, including family, diplomatic, commercial, and workplace conflicts and community cases. They work independently to assist disputed parties in arriving at mutual agreements.
2. What Does A Mediator Do?
The duties of a mediator vary based on the state and the court, but in general, they comprise the following:
Schedule introductory meetings between disputants
Educate them about the arbitration process
Talk to individual parties to understand their issues and concerns and guide them to a mutual agreement
Maintain calmness throughout the discussion and facilitate communication and settle disputes between the parties
Find out potential solutions to reach a non-legal agreement
Recommend alternative solutions in the case of failure of mediation
Maintain records of agreements
Handle ADR procedural matters
Prepare court reports, correspondence, social case histories, and other documents
Implement court rules and legislative enactments
Destroy all case notes to keep things confidential
Prepare agreements as per applicable laws and get signatures from disputing parties.
3. Mediator Skills For Success
Here are the essential skills crucial to a mediator's role:
Superior communication and negotiation skills
Able to remain unbiased in conflicting situations
Attention to detail
Able to stay calm in heated situations
Effective listening skills
Problem-solving and Conflict resolution skills
4. Qualifications To Become A Mediator In Australia
The National Mediator Accreditation System is the body that prescribes mandatory standards for accredited mediators.
The Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body offers mediator training and accredited mediators per the requisite standards.
A candidate must complete the training and get accredited to become a mediator. Here are the steps to follow to qualify for the role:
Complete Year 12 in English
Complete a nationally accredited mediator training program. This is 38 hours of Mediation education and training provided by an RMAB. The program will take you through mediation concepts and develop mediation skills through practice, feedback, and role-play.
Complete the National mediation assessment with a duration of 1.5 hours.
Submit your accreditation application to a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body with evidence of good character. You must also hold valid indemnity insurance and a satisfactory police check. Once approved, your name will appear on the Register of Nationally Accredited Mediators.
5. Accreditation Renewal Requirements
To renew mediation accreditation in Australia, you must complete the "Continuing accreditation requirements". You must conduct 25 hours of mediation, conciliation work, or co-mediation within the two-year cycle.
Suppose a candidate fails to meet the above conditions. In that case, he must complete 10 hours of mediation per two-year cycle, attend 'top up' training and at least 20 hours of CPD every 2-year cycle.
6. Steps To Become A Mediator In Australia
To become an accredited mediator in Australia, you must complete mandatory training that meets NMAS approval standards.
Follow the below step-by-step instructions to start working as a mediator in Australia:
Step 1: Complete Your High School
Gain your Senior Secondary Education Certificate in English.
Step 2: Get Bachelor's Degree
Complete an undergraduate degree in Law, Social Sciences, or Business at a nationally recognised university in Australia.
Step 3: Undertake Mediator Training
The National Mediator Accreditation System specifies the minimum requirements for mediation training.
The Mediator Standards Board is an independent body that develops and maintains the NMAS. It provides a list of practitioner bodies called Recognised Mediator Accreditation Bodies.
Aspiring mediators should register with RMAB and undertake mediator training that complies with NMAS standards. The training can be completed online or as a 5-day workshop.
Step 4: Pass The Assessment
After completing the training course, you must sit for an online video assessment per the NMAS Approval Standards. Students must know they must secure a competent grading to obtain accreditation.
You can take the assessment within two years from the date of mediator training. However, you should complete an evaluation within three months of completing the training program.
You will receive the certificate of completion within 2 to 3 weeks of completing the assessment.
Step 5: Apply For Accreditation
It is the final step to start working as a mediator in Australia. The Mediator Accreditation is a recognised qualification that gives you the authority to establish and advance your career as a mediator. To be accredited, you must meet the Approval Standards of the National Mediator Accreditation System.
Accreditation is a standard process throughout Australia, and the Mediator Accreditation Body manages it. It shows that you have completed the required education and training, meet competency standards, and are committed to constant learning.
To become a Nationally Accredited Mediator, apply to the Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body within six months of receiving the answer to your successful assessment. Provide the following documents along with the application form:
Police check certificate
Character references to prove your good character
Click here to find the list of RMAB for accreditation applications. Applicants should note that they need to pay a fee to the National Standards Board when applying for accreditation or reaccreditation.
Step 6: Obtain Accreditation
Once the RMAB approves your accreditation application, your name will list on the Register of Nationally Accredited Mediators.
You can now promote yourself as an NMAS-accredited mediator and apply for mediator jobs. The public can refer to the National Register to verify your accreditation status.
The accreditation validity is two years if you comply with the NMAS.
Step 7: Maintain Your Accreditation
To keep your NMAS accreditation active, you must renew it every two years. For this, you must fulfil the accreditation renewal requirements by completing 25 hours of mediation practice, 25 hours of professional development every two years and maintaining professional indemnity insurance and good character.
You can complete the professional development by:
Attend CPD courses, seminars, workshops, and educational programs on mediation
Train or supervise mediators
Represent clients in a mediation
It is required to keep your contact details updated with your RMAB as they send you auto-generated accreditation expiry reminders.
If your accreditation has lapsed, then you need to apply to reinstate your accreditation.
Step 8: Join Industry Bodies
Expand your professional network by joining industry bodies or communities that support alternate dispute resolution and mediation. Here are a few recommendations:
7. Accredited Mediator Courses In Australia
Conflict Resolution and Mediator Training - Mediator Training Academy
This reputed training centre conducts online mediation courses in Australia to help students gain the relevant skills to become a mediator.
This 4-weeks accredited mediation course is perfect for those who want to know how to become an accredited mediator in Queensland.
It is also great for people who want to refine their skills through supervision opportunities or professional development to fulfil accreditation criteria.
This Conflict Resolution and Mediator training program teaches you to resolve conflicts and mediation in various areas, including property or child arrangements, couple separation, community, workplace, and commercial disputes.
Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution - Mediator Training Academy
It is an ideal course if you seek a career as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. The course meets the requirement of the Family Court of Australia and allows the FDRP to issue section 60I certificates.
When completing this online course, you can register with the Australian Attorney General to start attending cases in the Family Court of Australia as a professional Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.
Mediator Training Program - The College of Law
The College of Law is a reputed institute that trains you to become a mediator in NSW. This registered training provider complies with the current National Mediator Accreditation System.
It conducts a nationally accredited Mediator Training Program and National Mediation Assessment that is mandatory to seek accreditation. This online program allows you to complete it anywhere in Australia per your study pace.
Their short online programs are ideal for managing staff, facilitating planning, advising clients, decision-making, and handling disputes in government/ commercial, community, or not-for-profit sectors. The course will develop knowledge and mediation skills through supervised and guided practice and role-play sessions.
Mediation Training Program - Dispute Settlement Center of Victoria
Do you want to know how to become a mediator in Victoria? The Dispute Settlement Center of Victoria conducts an eight-day nationally accredited mediator training course. It provides professional qualifications to offer fee-based services as a mediator in Australia.
Certificate IV in Mediation
This specialist qualification teaches students about the practice of mediation and co-mediation across a wide array of agencies, including families and community groups. You can take this course at the following institutions:
8. How To Become A Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner In Australia?
A family dispute resolution practitioner helps people affected by divorce or separation to resolve their child-care disputes.
To become an FDR practitioner, you must fulfil the accreditation standards in the Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners Regulations 2008.
Qualifications To Become An FDRP
You must have qualifications and competencies to fulfil the accreditation criteria for this role. Aspiring FDRPs need to undertake training that makes them competent to assess and serve families affected by family violence and child abuse.
To meet the accreditation requirement, Practitioners must complete the full Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution. Alternatively, have NMAS accreditation and competency in the six compulsory units from the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution.
Accreditation Criteria For An FDR
Access to an appropriate complaints mechanism that your clients can use
National police check that is not older than four months
Fulfil the "working with children" requirements as prescribed by your state/ territory where you want to provide services
Covered under professional indemnity insurance
Accreditation Application Process
After gaining relevant academic competencies and fulfilling the other criteria for accreditation, apply as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner to the Attorney-General's Department of the Australian Government.
9. Work Environment For Mediators In Australia
Mediators often work indoors in private meeting rooms or offices, attending meetings with clients face-to-face or videoconferencing. They may even sometimes travel to neutral locations for ADR negotiations.
Mediators usually work as independent practitioners and frequently interact with clients they are meditating. Regarding the work schedule, mediators work full-time from Monday to Friday or part-time with inflexible work hours.
The profession offers low part-time opportunities. Only 29% of Mediators work part-time. Full-time workers work 43 hours per week.
10. Where Can A Mediator Work In Australia?
Many mediators work for a government scheme or establish their private practice to offer a range of services to businesses and individuals.
They work for academic institutions, insurance carriers, state and local governments, corporations, legal service providers, and family relationship centres like Relationships Australia.
The typical job roles for a mediator are as follows:
Dispute resolution facilitator
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner
Aboriginal family consultant
Family law mediator
Family relationships mediator
Family and the couple's mediator
Indigenous family facilitator
Manager of an ADR service
Indigenous family consultant
Indigenous connection worker
Specialist mediation worker
11. Job Prospects For Mediators In Australia
Alternative dispute resolution or "mediation" has become popular as a substitute for legal action. It helps businesses, courts, and individuals avoid delays, high costs, and publicity associated with litigation.
Mediation is increasingly getting acknowledged as a part of legal practice in Australia and the world. The government projects strong growth in employment in the coming years in Australia.
Though mediators are in demand across the country, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria observe the highest demand. The Public Administration and Safety industry is the top hiring sector for Mediators.
Your job prospects as a professional largely depend on your mediation skills and reputation in the industry. As you gain experience, you become more skilled, knowledgeable, and appealing to potential employers.
12. How Much Salary Does A Mediator Earn In Australia?
The mediator's salary in Australia depends on the following factors such as:
Area Of Employment (The Public/ Private Sector)
The average mediator salary in Australia is AU$72,518, or equivalent to $46.69 per hour in Australia. Darwin is the highest-paying city in Australia, where mediators make around $95,190 per year.
Helping people resolve their conflicts is a rewarding experience. As a mediator, you facilitate negotiation and encourage conflicting parties to identify creative ways to arrive at a mutually satisfying solution.
Mediation training programs are a great way to add mediation to your professional skill set to get accredited to work as a professional mediator.
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