How Do I Become an Arbitrator?

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  • Written By: Geri Terzo
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2019
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Disputes that have the potential to be settled outside of a court of law may be handled by an arbitrator. This professional may have the same credentials as an attorney and may even be employed by a law firm. To become an arbitrator, industry experience is key, and the role can be fulfilled by business professionals who focus on cases in a specific area of expertise. A college education is necessary to become an arbitrator, and universities and colleges offer programs to equip students for careers in this field.

Education and career experience are really the launching pad to become an arbitrator. An industry professional may work for a public entity, such as a local or federal government, or a private business, including a law firm. Requirements differ from region to region, but at the very least, they are likely to include a college education with a focus on law, arbitration, or conflict analysis. Psychology majors might also be appropriate for this field because the process involves listening to and solving the problems of individuals and businesses.

In addition to a bachelor's degree, students might consider furthering their educations in graduate school. A law or business degree could certainly support a career as an arbitrator. Certain schools might offer master's degrees in arbitration. Employers look at education and career experience in a related field keenly.


An individual who wants to pursue a career and become an arbitrator should demonstrate problem-solving skills and an ability to negotiate with others successfully. The decision rendered by an arbitrator is the one that both parties who are in arbitration must follow. Individuals and corporations turn to arbitration specialists to avoid the time and expense associated with filing formal litigation in a court of law and place the outcome in the hands of the arbitrator.

To become an arbitrator in the financial services industry where disputes may arise between investors and stockbrokers, formal industry training and industry credits may be earned. For instance, in the U.S., the Financial Authority Regulatory Authority (FINRA) participates in conflict regulation in the investment community. Upon becoming certified by this agency, arbitrators can be included among a pool of registered arbitrators who are deemed competent to settle investment disputes. The agency's standards for inclusion in its pool of professionals are not limited to careers in finance, and experience in industries such as medicine and law could qualify an arbitrator for FINRA following the completion of the necessary training.


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