Businesses and organizations of all sizes experience conflict from time to time. The good news is that legal action doesn’t have to be the answer; litigation is often a long, difficult and expensive process. Dispute resolution, which includes mediation, arbitration, and conciliation, is a great solution for businesses that experience conflict.

Dispute Resolution Career & Salary

Mediation occurs when a neutral, third-party mediator facilitates and encourages conflict resolution. Both parties must give full consent to participate in mediation and be actively involved in solving problems. Mediation is an efficient, flexible process that saves money otherwise spent in court. Mediation helps business owners, employees and stakeholders preserve relationships and move forward in a positive way. If an agreement can’t be reached, mediation ends and the parties are free to pursue other means of resolution.


Unlike mediators, arbitrators are typically attorneys or retired judges with expertise in a certain field. They are impartial third parties who hear the details of a dispute between opposing parties. While mediators allow parties to choose the best way forward, arbitrators are tasked with making a decision based on the dispute and the case presented by both parties. The arbitrator’s decision is binding in most cases but can be appealed.


Conciliators are like mediators in that they help opposing parties reach a resolution. However, they typically meet with each side separately. The parties must decide in advance if they want to be bound by the conciliator’s ruling.

Career Growth and Salary Potential

Clearly, mediators, arbitrators and conciliators can be an asset in a conflict. Their sharp critical thinking, problem-solving and decision-making skills help people in a business environment reach resolutions that can be win-win for everyone involved.

The median annual wage for professionals in this field is $58,020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Job growth is expected to be 9 percent by 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Dispute Resolution Degrees

Touro University Worldwide offers a Master of Arts in Dispute Resolution. The degree program is offered fully online. Students focus on honing skills like negotiation, mediation, arbitration and facilitation, among other concepts. Graduates enter the workforce confident in their ability to handle disputes for individuals and organizations alike. Most graduates go on to become managers, union representatives, mediators, arbitrators or consultants.