What Careers are in Conflict Resolution?

There’s no degree that leads directly to a career in conflict resolution. Those with business, psychology or law degrees often gravitate to a career in conflict resolution based on their area of expertise. Conflict resolution can be called alternative dispute resolution or ADR too.

What is Conflict Resolution?

Conflict resolution, or ADR, comes into play when two parties cannot resolve a dispute. It could be a dispute between couples during a divorce proceeding, department heads in a corporation or parents battling for custody. Those who practice conflict resolution are third parties with no stake in the outcome of the proceedings. They’re contracted to deal fairly and impartially with both sides of the disagreement.

Specialties in Conflict Resolution

There are specialties like in many job fields. A facilitator might work in family law, custody, foreclosure or as a school violence mediator. Healthcare, environmental or intellectual property mediators are focused on certain fields as mentioned in their titles. HR managers can often be called on to mediate conflicts in the workplace too, according to CNN. They all come down to a certain type of mediation as well as the field they practice with almost exclusively.


Those who are educated in business or counseling fields can become a mediator. This is a third party that will lead a discussion and help the disputing people come to an agreement. Mediators won’t make decisions for the two conflicted parties. Instead, the mediator will make suggestions and try to keep the parties from heading to a courtroom setting. The mediator will not be able to make legally binding decisions for the two. The two parties are in control of the outcome of the mediation.


A arbitrator can be appointed by the court to perform conflict resolution between two parties who have been in front of a judge. The judge will send them to work things out with a binding arbitrator. The person conducting the resolution can make decisions after talking to both parties. The decision that is made is a binding one in the eyes of the court. The two parties are not usually in control of arbitration. This position is mostly filled by lawyers or legal experts.


In some cases, the two parties won’t be in the same room together due to the level of conflict. The conciliator will meet with the parties separately and be the bridge in communications. This position is similar to the one of mediator since the conversations are not meant to be a binding resolution between the parties unless they both agree. A conciliator might work to obtain a resolution between a consumer and a credit card lending company or other financial institution.

Related Resource: How Do You Become a Career Counselor?

A career in conflict resolution can be the end goal of many education paths including law, business or psychology. It will depend on where you want to work after graduation. If you want to become an arbitrator used in courts, a law school education is key. For those who want to work as a mediator for school violence will want to obtain a degree in psychology to work with children.