In many U.S. states, egg-graders, well-diggers, farriers, plumbers, midwives, manicurists, barbers and hairdressers must be licensed. Notaries public, doctors, lawyers, ministers and accountants must be licensed in every state. Licensing requirements are generally imposed in order to ensure that the practitioners of the licensed professions meet a certain level of competence, making them less likely to harm the public.1 Mediation, however, is not one of the licensed professions.2
Some states do require mediators to be certified in order to have cases referred to them by the courts. Florida is a good example. But most states do not. They merely require mediators in court-referred mediation programs to undergo training,3 which varies in amount from state to state. Private mediators remain entirely unregulated by government. Thus, there are no barriers to becoming a private mediator, either in terms of education or training requirements.
Would it be advantageous to have a uniform process of certifying qualified private mediators? Yes, but not with 50 different regimes.