Negotiation & Resolution

Political activist Thomas Paine once suggested that “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

While some people may agree with Mr. Paine in theory, the majority of us would prefer to forgo the feeling of ultimate victory and avoid conflict altogether.

When conflict does arise – particularly in the workplace – there is a group of professionals who are qualified to step in and work out the kinks. They are called negotiation and conflict resolution specialists, and it is their job to mediate between groups of employees, or between employees and management.

Negotiation and conflict resolution specialists are qualified to work in a variety of business and industry, including education, healthcare, business law and government.

Education Requirements

There are several degree options available to those who wish to pursue a career in negotiations and conflict resolution.

An associate degree in the field will take two years to obtain and will focus on the basic principles of negotiation and conflict resolution. Coursework will include public speaking, writing, peace and conflict situations, critical thinking, organizational psychology, finance, business law and management.

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree is required for most jobs in the industry. This undergraduate degree program will take four years to complete, and is offered through a variety of online and traditional colleges. Coursework tends to focus on advanced negotiation techniques, leadership skills and diplomatic communications.

Master degree programs in negotiations and conflict resolution center on the management aspects of the discipline. Coursework includes a mix of legal and business classes, and teaches students how to analyze and address all forms of conflict in a variety of settings. Candidates who possess a master’s degree can work with individuals, organizations, regulatory bodies, or the government.

Doctorate degree programs in negotiations and conflict resolution are available, but not required in order to secure employment in the field. Doctorate studies emphasize interdisciplinary research, policy and program development, as well as the theoretical perspectives behind the historical practice of negotiation and conflict resolution.

Future Outlook

According to information provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the areas showing the biggest demand for trained negotiation and conflict resolution specialists are legal services and state and local government.

Those who work for legal services can expect to earn an average annual salary of $113,730, while those working for state and local government earn around $64,000.

The states which employ the highest number of negotiation and conflict resolution specialists are New York, Minnesota, California, Texas, Florida and Ohio.

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