There are approximately 750 certified mediators in Virginia. One may practice mediation in Virginia without court certification; however, to receive court-referred cases, the guidelines require certification by the Judicial Council of Virginia.
- You must have earned a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree to qualify for certification as a court-referred mediator in Virginia. You may apply for a waiver of this requirement by submitting a letter to Dispute Resolution Services, describing your relevant work and life experience. The letter must be accompanied by a resume and two letters of recommendation that address your oral and written communication skills. Additional information may be requested. If certification is your objective, you should seek a waiver prior to beginning mediation training.
- From the time you take your 20-hour basic mediation skills training, you have two years in which to complete all training and mentorship requirements and submit your Application for Mediator Certification.
- If you were a mediator in another state, you may apply for a waiver of some training requirements and possibly a reduction in the mentorship requirements. Qualification for a waiver is based on your level of training and experience. A letter describing your background and experience and course outlines from your prior training should be submitted to Dispute Resolution Services for consideration of a waiver. Additional information may be requested.
- You are required to complete your case observations and co-mediations with multiple mentors in order to receive a variety of feedback and to experience more than one mediator style, thus gaining a broader perspective. A list of mentors is available on the court Web site. Mentors usually charge a fee for their mentoring services.
- Every two years you will be required to satisfy requirements for recertification. For civil mediators, you need to take 8 hours of advanced general mediation training, including 2 hours of mediator ethics, and demonstrate that you have mediated five general cases during the 2-year period. For family mediators, you must take 8 hours of advanced family mediation training, including 2 hours of mediator ethics, and document that you have mediated five family cases during the 2-year period.
- Generally speaking, the practice of mediation does not generate a full-time income. Once you are certified, there are opportunities to receive compensation for mediating court-referred cases. Custody, visitation and support (CVS) mediations are paid at a rate of $100 per case, and most J&DR courts assign cases from a rotation list of available mediators. You may also annually apply for a contract from the Office of the Executive Secretary to provide non-CVS mediations at General District and J&DR levels of court. Many mediators serve on a volunteer basis for community mediation centers across the state.
- Once you are certified, you will be added to the Searchable Directory of Court-Certified Mediators. Placement in the Directory will not guarantee court referrals or private referrals. It is important to identify the segment of your community that may offer potential for mediation opportunities. Mediation is a profession that requires you to market your skills to those who seek mediation services.
From the Office of Dispute Resolution, Supreme Court of Virginia