McCormack Speaks

Where are the Jobs in Conflict Resolution?


classified adsAnyone considering graduate school – or any level of training, in fact – asks “What’s in it for me?” which typically translates to “Where will I find a job?”

You do not need to seek a career as a mediator, arbitrator, or ombudsman to use your conflict resolution skills. In fact, you can choose from a myriad number of fields and roles from office supervisor to high school vice principal.

The career pages of put it this way. “Conflict resolution is not necessarily an independent profession like an airline pilot or a nurse, for example. Instead, it symbolizes a role that a professional may assume in addition to his/her existing career responsibilities.”

Although many seeking to go into criminal justice, labor relations, or even pre-law studies could benefit from a conflict resolution education program, the key skills of active listening, coaching, consensual decision-making, critical thinking, dialogue, facilitation, negotiation, problem-solving, reframing, and understanding systems change and organizational development can be used in business (here and abroad), counseling, health care administration, human resource management, and more.  One should not overlook the benefits of conflict resolution skills even in volunteer and/or unpaid positions such as a board member or a parent.

David Matz, professor emeritus at UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School and a pioneer in the field of conflict resolution education, notes, “When we opened our program in 1995, we admitted many students who already had a job and were well-launched in their careers. We admitted school teachers, architects, church ministers, lawyers, and social workers. Many an applicant said, ‘I find that conflict is a large part of my work, and graduate school taught me nothing about that.’”

“More than two decades after opening the second graduate program in conflict resolution in the country,” says Matz, “we find that our graduates are still using their mediation skills, for example, as integral parts of their lives with no need to specifically identify themselves as mediators.”

So whether you seek a career change as an arbitrator or negotiator, or you just want to be happier in any workplace or family situation where conflict is a regular or intermittent occurrence, gain conflict resolution skills and put them to use right away.

Got conflict? Learn more about our graduate programs at

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