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How to Become an Accredited Mediator in South Africa

Business woman standing in front of two people who are shaking hands

Professional Certification is the mark of a mediator that has committed to the profession, and this is usually the first thing potential clients consider before appointing a mediator.

 

While the industry is not yet government regulated, the need for such certification and professional membership is substantial as the accreditation bodies and professional membership organisations fulfil a number of key functions in: -

  1. regulating the industry,

  2. assuring quality for our clients, and

  3. providing a layer of protection to mediators when things go wrong.

 

On completion of the 80-hour qualification, you'll want to engage this process immediately. The total turnaround time in this respect is usually 7-28 days depending on your choice of professional membership organisation and supervisor, as applicable.

 

 

A NOTE ON THE TERMINOLOGY

 

Professional certification refers to the attainment of a mediator's professional status for eligibility to function in a particular role. It is granted by a professional membership organisation (PMO) and is qualified on a set of predetermined criteria. Mediators are also required to abide by a code of professional conduct.

 

Professional membership is a component of professional certification but does not, in itself, confer the seal of quality that the latter provides.

 

Continuous Professional Development points ('CPD points') are required to maintain one's status of professional certification, usually on an annual or bi-annual basis. These usually take the form of attending webinars, training, attending conferences or providing certain services in the industry, like pro bono work or supervision.

 

Accreditation refers to the professional recognition of a training course by a PMO, based on codified standards.

 

In SA, the terms 'professional certification' and 'accreditation' are sometimes erroneously conflated when they are, in fact, separate concepts.


South African Association of Mediators (SAAM) logo and National Accreditation Board of Family Mediators (NABFAM) logo

PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION VIA THE SOUTH AFRICAN ASSOCIATION OF MEDIATORS (SAAM)

 

Once the 80-hour qualification has been successfully completed, you can engage the application process via SAAM's website (https://www.saam.org.za/becomeamember) or via email (admin@saam.org.za) or on 0810717000. The contact person here is Maryke Ward, and she'll route the application to the applicable EXCO board member.

 

SAAM will forward you the application form on request. The cost of the application is once-off and amounts to R2,500, which includes your first year's membership fees. From year 2 onwards, the cost to maintain professional certification is R837 per annum.

 

You'll need to pass a set of practical tests called 'supervision' with a NABFAM-certified supervisor (https://www.saam.org.za/practicalexperience). Your supervisor fills the dual-roles of both assessor and mentor, and the consideration of such persons and processes depend on the needs of the mediator. Mediation Academy's team includes a number of veteran certified supervisors who can provide guidance and service in this respect.

 

Supervision entails either: -

(a) a process of advanced role-plays and advanced practical training on the drafting of mediated settlement agreements, or

(b) mediating real cases under supervision.

 

Note that supervisors charge for their services, and good supervisors often charge more.

 

The application itself is a paper-exercise, and on the final day of the 80-hour qualification we take a deep dive into the finer details of the these processes to help you make an informed decision.

 

You don't need to wait for the final day of training though, reach out to us to complete your planning and costing before embarking on this journey.



ADR International Register logo and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) logo

PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATION VIA THE ADR INTERNATIONAL REGISTER

 

Once the 80-hour qualification has been successfully completed, you can engage the application process by completing the online application form on the ADR International Register website (https://adr-register.com/for-adr-practitioners/register-now-and-apply-here). Your contact persons here are Marlot and Robert, with support from both the satellite office in Randburg, SA as well as their head office in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

 

The cost of the application is once-off and amounts to R2,800, which includes your first year's membership fees. From year 2 onwards, the annual cost is R1,050 to maintain your professional certification.

 

All mediators start on associate level certification, with full certification available 2 years down the road. Full certification involves producing sufficient proof of hours mediated, as well as a video recording of one mediated session.

 

Professional certification via this organisation provides international recognition for mediators.

 

Note: Mediators can hold multiple professional certifications in parallel; a needs assessment should be done with a professional before committing to a course of action.



WHAT IS MY NEXT STEP?

 

If you're considering a career in mediation, you'll want to: -

  1. plan the process all the way from studying to professional certification, as well as

  2. calculate the costs of getting where you want to be.

 

Your time is the most precious resource you have. Two heads are better than one, contact us or schedule a call with our helpful staff right away and we'll help you plan your career in mediation.

 

We're available for telephonic and video call support until 19:00 during weekdays, and until 14:00 on Saturdays and public holidays.








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