How to Become a Mediator in Colorado

Since Colorado does not currently have statewide requirements for the practice of mediation, the criteria for becoming a mediator in Colorado differs slightly from the requirements in other states.

Many people flock to the state of Colorado to live life in the mountains, but there is a thriving legal and alternative dispute resolution community within the state. Colorado has established the Office of Dispute Resolution (ODR) which contracts with independent mediators to provide mediation within the state and does not charge huge fees that other mediators may. ODR does not certify or regulate mediators, but they do help people who need mediation within Colorado locate and access mediators. This article will outline how to become an ODR mediator and begin to practice mediation within the ODR.

The ODR has created guidelines for participation in their program that they have divided into two categories: mediation proficiency and suitability.

Law, Mediation, Business: Mediation Proficiency

The first step in becoming a court-referred mediator in Colorado is to ensure that you are experienced in mediation.

The considerations below will be taken into account when evaluating your application.

Basic Mediation Training: Conflict Origins, Mediation Models, and Skills

The first requirement of the program is to take part in a basic mediation training program to develop basic, essential skills for mediation. In the 40 hours of mediation training, students will learn conflict management techniques, interest-based mediation, position-based negotiation, communication skills such as active listening and non-verbals, problem-solving services, and how to modify past learned behaviors. Individuals interested will also learn writing, ethics, and mediation theory. They may also do mentored mediation training with professional mediators, and will often undergo instructor evaluation during these mediations.

Upon completion of the mediation training course, a mediator will often earn a mediation certificate. Mediator certification ensures that every mediator involved in conflict resolution has completed the recommended minimum requirement for training programs and has some knowledge and understanding of the field.

Mediation Experience

The next list of the criteria for mediators is mediation experience. This is where a budding mediator learns how to control a mediation. Through conflict coaching and management exercises, a mediator forms appreciative and empowerment strategies to effectively mediate with minimal mentor support. The state of Colorado has different requirements for the type of mediator that one would like to be, but ODR recommends that mediators mediate at 20-100 cases in their chosen field, such as divorce, at a professional level.

Substantive Knowledge of the Law and Court System

ODR also recommends that a mediator has substantive knowledge of the law and the legal system. Mediators without a law degree may be able to gain this information through a continuing education course or other programs. This ensures that all mediators providing services through the court understand the ethics and legal implications of basic mediation services.

Mediation Style

ODR also list mediation style as one of the criteria that they use to determine eligibility. Because court-ordered mediation can often feel out of control for the parties, ODR tends to hire mediators that have training and experience in party-led mediation. This returns some o the control to the parties and encourages conflict management.


After ODR determines that a mediator meets the guidelines for the program, they will also consider the suitability of the mediator within the legal community. Most mediators will be housed within a judicial district, so they must be able to work with the judges and the lawyers in the district. This may also include membership in the Colorado Bar Association or a mediation association to ensure that one is staying aware of and involved with the community. Mediators should also be willing to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution around the state and be available within the area.

Once admitted, the new contractor will need to participate in an internship with the courts that requires oversight and observation to ensure that they are ready to take on clients.

If you are looking to take career next steps and mediation practice is an area that you would like to access, the first step is signing up for a training course. Because Colorado allows many different kinds of training to count toward the 40 hours needed, you may begin your journey to becoming a mediator in Colorado from anywhere.

Additionally, ADR Times offers training programs and offers countless resources in all things related to mediation and ADR. Contact us if you are interested.

Latest posts by Emily Holland (see all)