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15 Careers in Conflict Resolution and Conflict Management

Conflict is a part of life, and while everyone can learn how to better handle conflict, some people go into conflict resolution as a career. They study areas like the methods of conflict resolution, the psychology of conflict, and conflict management skills like active listening, clear communication, and empathy. Because conflict can arise anywhere, conflict resolution jobs are found in just about every sector. Here are 15 examples of careers:

Mediator Arbitrator Litigation lawyer
Family law facilitator Victim advocate Social worker
 Human services case manager School counselor Human resources investigator
Equal employment opportunity officer Employee relations specialist Crisis intervention specialist
Community violence specialist Conflict resolution instructor/consultant Humanitarian aid worker

#1. Mediator

Average salary: $63,108 (PayScale)

When disputing parties can’t reach an agreement on their own, a mediator can help. These conflict resolution professionals meet with everyone involved, help improve communication, and suggest solutions. In most situations, the mediator doesn’t make legally-binding decisions. Mediators are often used in divorces, child custody cases, and disputes between business partners, landlords and tenants, and family members.

Mediators typically need a bachelor’s degree, though some jobs may require a law degree or master’s degree. Mediation training and certification may also be required. Good mediators are flexible, empathetic, patient, and non-judgmental.

#2. Arbitrator

Average salary: $70,259 (Comparably)

Like mediators, arbitrators work with disputing parties to resolve a conflict, but they are officially appointed and can often make legally-binding decisions. During arbitration, these professionals perform tasks like analyzing documents and records, conducting interviews, and coordinating meetings between the disputing parties.

Because arbitrators usually work on legal disputes, most come from law backgrounds. You may not need to be a lawyer, but it’s preferred in many situations. Most employers will also want a seasoned professional with at least ten years of experience. Arbitrators need excellent listening skills, clear communication, and legal expertise.

#3. Litigation lawyer

Average salary: $109,027 (Zippia)

Litigation lawyers work on civil cases, which include conflict-heavy scenarios like divorce, child custody cases, and more. A litigation lawyer manages the litigation process from investigation through trial, settlement, and appeal. Responsibilities include drafting memos and discovery documents, attending hearings, analyzing laws, and more.

To become a litigation lawyer, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and a law degree. Lastly, you’ll need a license to practice litigation. Litigation lawyers have excellent analytical and communication skills, as well as research and problem-solving skills.

#4. Family law facilitator

Average salary: $68,973 (ZipRecruiter)

Family law facilitators, who work for the court system, provide education and assistance to clients going through divorce, child custody, child support, and other family law cases. They’re not lawyers, but they offer valuable help, especially to those representing themselves in court. They help with tasks like preparing court documents, explaining legal options, and connecting clients with resources.

Family law facilitators may come from a law background, but they’re usually not required to. You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in an area like family studies, human development, law, or a related field. A master’s degree in conflict resolution or a similar area can also help with job opportunities.

#5. Victim advocate

Average salary: $38,628 (Zippia)

Victim advocates work within legal systems (courts, law enforcement, etc) and at nonprofits. Their responsibility is to victims, and during the justice process, the advocate stays on hand to offer resources, practical support, and more. Because there’s high conflict and stress during these situations, victim advocates need excellent conflict resolution skills. Advocates can also be important during victim-offender mediation, which is a process where victims (who want to) can meet their offenders in a safe, mediated space to discuss the crime.

Most victim advocates have at least a bachelor’s degree in an area like psychology, social work, or psychology. They also need skills like active listening, empathy, patience, good problem-solving, and knowledge of any relevant laws. Speaking more than one language can also be a valuable asset.

#6. Social worker

Average salary: $57,119 (ZipRecruiter)

Social work is a broad field that extends to areas like healthcare, housing, child protection, and more. Social workers work closely with individuals and/or families to address their needs, provide resources, and help them live good lives. Managing conflict is a key part of a social worker’s job, so it’s a field many people with conflict resolution education go into. Advocacy, mediation, negotiation, and other conflict resolution methods are often included in social work.

Social workers need at least a bachelor’s degree, but many employers prefer master’s degrees. Social workers must also get supervised work experience before obtaining a license. You’ll need skills like empathy, excellent communication, critical thinking, and excellent organization.

#7. Human services case manager

Averages salary: $46,343 (ZipRecruiter)

Human services case managers, who are a type of social worker, coordinate care for clients. That includes care like food, housing, mental health treatment, and other tangible needs. The case manager manages communication with all the providers and ensures their client is getting everything they need. Case managers can also serve as conflict resolution professionals when clients struggle with behavioral challenges or believe their rights have been violated.

Case managers typically have at least a bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, or a related field, though master’s degrees provide more career opportunities. You’ll need skills like excellent communication, time management, organization, empathy, and problem-solving skills.

#8. School counselor

Average salary: $58,120 (U.S. News 2020)

School counselors support K-12 students with academic, personal, and social needs. Responsibilities can include identifying a student’s behavioral issues, helping find solutions, facilitating discussions with parents and teachers, and providing training for other faculty members. Because school counselors often deal with challenges like bullying, cultural differences, mental health struggles, and more, they need strong conflict resolution skills.

Some school counselors have bachelor’s degrees in social science, counseling, or an education field, but most schools prefer master’s degrees. Counselors also need to complete an internship and get certified before they can work.

#9. Human resources investigator

Average salary: $62,553 (ZipRecruiter)

Human resources investigators are part of the HR department and are responsible for helping an organization succeed. Their responsibilities can include holding interviews, writing reports, investigating complaints, and suggesting solutions and preventative measures. HR investigators can work with government agencies, corporations, and nonprofits.

You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in a field like HR management, business administration, organizational psychology, or a related field. Employers will also typically want candidates with a few years of HR experience.

#10. Equal employment opportunity officer

Average salary: $73,832 (Indeed.com)

EEO officers (who may also be given titles like civil rights representative or DEI manager) promote fairness and equality in workplaces. They educate organizations on current EEO laws, help employees address discrimination, and make sure companies are complying with regulations. They need to be educated on conflict resolution strategies when dealing with employee complaints and tensions.

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree in social work, psychology, multicultural studies, or a related field. HR is usually where most EEO officers get their initial experience, but you may also need to get a master’s degree if you want more opportunities. Desired skills include excellent communication, critical thinking, and organization.

#11. Employee relations specialist

Average salary: $61,818 (Salary.com)

Employee relations specialists work in human resources. They’re responsible for employee relations, which includes recruitment, performing background checks, maintaining employee files, and performing exit interviews. Employee relations specialists also offer counseling services and manage employee complaints, which requires conflict resolution skills.

You’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in human resources, labor relations, business administration, or a related field. Most employees also want a candidate with a few years of HR experience. You’ll need skills like excellent communication, strong problem-solving, critical thinking, and time management.

#12. Crisis intervention specialist

Average salary: $45,129 (ZipRecruiter)

Crisis intervention specialists are mental health experts who respond to crises, such as suicidal ideation, self-inflicted injuries, and more. Specialists meet with clients, assess and document their behavior, and work to ensure their safety. You may work in environments like mental health facilities, rape crisis centers, veteran’s services, and so on. Conflict resolution skills are essential for this career.

Crisis intervention specialists can work with at least a GED or high school diploma, though many organizations want candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree. Social work, psychology, and related fields are acceptable. Because the job involves high levels of conflict and stress, you’ll need patience, empathy, a non-judgmental attitude, and excellent communication skills.

#13. Community violence specialist

Average salary: $44,354 (ZipRecruiter)

Community violence intervention is a method of addressing community violence. It uses evidence-based strategies and community-centered initiatives. Through this multidisciplinary approach, organizations work to prevent cycles of violence, improve relationships within communities, address trauma, and improve the socio-economic conditions that cause violence. People with conflict resolution backgrounds are excellent candidates for these types of careers, which include specialists like project managers. Project management includes planning and leading ideas, monitoring progress, holding meetings, and evaluating the project’s success.

Most organizations will want a candidate with at least a bachelor’s degree in a field like conflict resolution, social work, psychology, and so on, though some may accept work experience instead. Desired skills include excellent interpersonal skills, communication, critical thinking, and strong problem-solving.

#14. Conflict resolution instructor/consultant

Average salary: $56,892 (ZipRecruiter)

Conflict is part of any organization, so most organizations will want to hire a conflict resolution expert at some point. Instructors and consultants can develop training, analyze an organization’s existing conflict resolution processes, recommend changes, and investigate specific issues. Instructors may be hired as permanent members of an organization or as consultants.

Educational requirements vary depending on the organization and what they’re looking for. You’ll most likely need at least a bachelor’s degree, though the more education you have, the more job opportunities you’ll get. If you’re working as a consultant, you’ll likely want years of experience to prove your authority. Desired skills include excellent communication, strong time management and organization, and public speaking.

#15. Humanitarian aid worker

Average salary: #41,786 (ZipRecruiter)

Humanitarian aid and conflict resolution are a natural pairing as aid workers deal with high-stress, high-conflict situations. Responsibilities include technical and support roles in areas like finance, HR, project management, fieldwork, and more. When faced with conflict, good aid workers know how to resolve issues, solve problems, and stay calm.

How much education you need (and what field the degree is in) depends on the specific role you’re aiming for. Bachelor’s degrees are acceptable for some, but many prefer master’s degrees. You’ll need skills like critical thinking, communication, empathy, leadership, and teamwork.