Mediation Certification & Programs in California

Oct 20, 2021

How to Become a Mediator in California

Mediation training in California is offered at the undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate levels. Most schools in California offer training through programs in negotiation, peacemaking, dispute resolution or conflict resolution. Some programs focus on conflict resolution in a specific setting, such as the workplace or in schools. Additionally, some law programs offer conflict resolution as a specialization. Many postsecondary schools offering training in this field are part of the University of California and California State University systems; a few private universities also offer mediation studies.

Mediation certification programs train you in conflict resolution.

Mediation Training California

California State University - Dominquez Hills

This university is situated in the South Bay Los Angeles area in the city of Carson. Through the College of Arts and Humanities, students can complete a Bachelor of Arts or a Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding. The school also offers a Post-Master's Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. For the bachelor's program, students complete 48 credits of major courses, such as negotiation methods and theory, peacebuilding psychology and conflict resolution fundamentals. This program culminates with a capstone course, in which students participate in a community service internship.

The master's option consists of 36 credit hours and covers topics such as arbitration, dispute resolution, mediation and negotiation tactics. Students have the option to complete an internship in conflict resolution. The post-master's program is open to those who have a master's degree in a related field. Students complete 18 credits of coursework, including an internship experience.

California State University - Northridge

Students attending this Northridge university can complete a certificate program in mediation and conflict resolution. The program consists of 100 hours of training, which surpasses the 40 hours typically required to practice mediation in California courts. Students study customer-merchant, landlord-tenant, neighbor-neighbor, and workplace disputes, as well as other common small-claims court issues.

The program involves a practicum where students have the opportunity to observe actual mediations, work with companies that hire mediators and assist in the mediation process of litigated cases. By completing this certificate program, students meet the mediator requirements of the Dispute Resolution Program Act of California and are able to participate in most California court panels. In addition, students are awarded 10 continuing education units upon completion.

Fresno Pacific University

Graduate students at this Fresno school can complete a certificate program in mediation. The program trains students to act as third party representatives helping parties settle disputes. Coursework includes alternative dispute resolution, church conflict management, family mediation, and restorative justice. Students also have the opportunity to participate in mediation fieldwork in conjunction with the court system.

Students can also train for a career in mediation and conflict resolution by completing a Master of Arts in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies. The program consists of 40 credit hours and includes concentrations in church conflict and peacemaking, school conflict resolution and peacemaking, world conflict resolution and peacemaking, mediation, restorative justice, and a personalized concentration. These concentrations are also offered as separate graduate certificate programs.

Pepperdine University

Located in Malibu, this university has the number-two ranked dispute resolution program in the country, according to the U.S. News and World Report 2016 law school rankings. The university's School of Law offers several programs through the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. These include an undergraduate certificate in conflict management, a post-baccalaureate certificate in dispute resolution, a master's program in dispute resolution, an LLM program in dispute resolution and an LLM program in dispute resolution for European lawyers.

The undergraduate certificate program is offered in collaboration with the university's Seaver College and requires completion of 14-16 credits hours. Students enrolled in the post-baccalaureate dispute resolution program complete 14 credit hours of coursework, in areas such as mediation theory and practice, interviewing and counseling, arbitration law and appellate advocacy. These courses are also offered in the general master's program in dispute resolution and both the LLM programs. Students enrolled in these advanced programs also complete a mediation or advocacy clinic and a 4-credit externship or thesis project.

Sonoma State University

Based in Rohnert Park, this university is located in the state's wine country region, about an hour from San Francisco. The School of Extended and International Education offers an 18-credit undergraduate certificate program in conflict resolution. Core classes include cross-cultural communication skills, group facilitation, mediation, and negotiation. Students also take elective courses to learn about mediation techniques involving family, healthcare and small claims court disputes.

Stanford University

This Bay Area school in Stanford is one of the country's leading research universities. The university's law school offers the Gould negotiation and mediation program, with classes primarily held at the Martin Daniel Gould Center for Conflict Resolution. Program coursework is part of the Juris Doctor (J.D.) 2nd and 3rd-year curriculum. Students complete various seminar courses dealing with conflict and negotiation resolution, decision-making, problem-solving and professional judgment. These seminars offer small class sizes, which enable students to closely interact with each other and faculty members. Students also have the opportunity to participate in other Stanford Law School courses, such as the civil justice clinic and the deals advocacy education clinic.

University of California - Berkeley

Founded in 1868, this Berkeley university is the flagship institution in the UC system. Through the UC Berkeley Extension division, students can complete coursework in mediation and conflict resolution under three certificate programs: Human Resource Management, Leadership and Management, and Project Management. Students complete 40 hours of training that includes classroom lectures and mock dispute litigations. Completion of this training program meets the requirements for most agency and court mediation programs.

University of California - Davis

Through the UC Davis Extension division, students can complete a professional concentration in conflict resolution certificate program. To earn the certificate, students complete five core classes and 1-2 electives for a total of at least nine credits. Training is offered in areas such as group dynamics, mediation, negotiation strategies and problem-solving. Students are encouraged to enroll in an introductory class that deals with mediation, facilitation and community engagement prior to taking the mediation course. The program combines traditional classroom interaction and online learning to accommodate students.

University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA)

Located in Los Angeles, UCLA's School of Law offers mediation training to students and the general public. The program is free of charge, and attendees are not required to register or enroll. Presentations are currently held on Thursdays from 5:00pm-6:40pm. Professionals who are members of the California Bar Association can earn 1.5 continuing learning education (CLE) points for attending.

University of California - Santa Barbara (UCSB)

This Santa Barbara school offers professional evening and weekend programs for adults through the UCSB Extension continuing education division. One such program is the Professional Certificate in Mediation and Dispute Resolution. Core and elective courses cover areas like family mediation, dispute resolution, legal process and the nature of conflict. Students may qualify for the Los Angeles Superior Court mediation program by simultaneously completing the dispute resolution legal process and mediation practice course. Training also addresses topics like civil procedures, court systems, and the litigation process.

California Mediator Requirements

Neither mediation certification nor licensing is required to practice in California or any state. Below are brief overviews of schools in California with mediation programs, as well as a comparison chart showing tuition info.

School Comparison: At a Glance

School Name School Type and Setting Mediation Programs Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2019-2020)
California State University - Dominguez Hills 4-year, public; small city Bachelor of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding,
Master of Arts in Negotiation, Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding,
Post-Master's Certificate in Conflict Analysis and Resolution
$6,946 in-state; $18,826 out-of-state*
California State University-Northridge 4-year, public; large city Certificate in Mediation and Conflict Resolution $6,977 in-state, $18,857 out-of-state*
Fresno Pacific University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large city Certificate in Mediation,
Certificate in Church Conflict and Peacemaking,
Certificate in Workplace Conflict Resolution and Peacemaking,
Certificate in Restorative Justice,
Master of Arts in Peacemaking and Conflict Studies
Pepperdine University 4-year, private not-for-profit; fringe rural Undergraduate Certificate in Conflict Management,
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Dispute Resolution,
Master of Dispute Resolution,
Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Dispute Resolution,
Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Dispute Resolution for European Lawyers and Judges
Sonoma State University 4-year, public; large suburb Certificate in Conflict Resolution $890
Stanford University 4-year, private not-for-profit; large suburb Juris Doctor (Gould Negotiation and Mediation Program) $64,350
University of California - Berkeley 4-year, public; midsized city Mediation and Conflict Resolution Course $14,253 in-state, $44,007 out-of-state*
University of California - Davis 4-year, public; small suburb Professional Concentration in Conflict Resolution Certificate $2,385*
University of California - Los Angeles Drop-in, public; large city Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Colloquium Free of charge
University of California - Santa Barbara 4-year, public; midsized suburb Professional Certificate in Mediation and Dispute Resolution $14,391 in-state, $43,383 out-of-state*

Sources: *NCES College Navigator

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