Mediation Role Play Woman Information About The National Redress Support Services Application

I want to be a family mediator

As Director of Studies for Mediation Institute I often have conversations with people. They tell me “I want to be a family mediator.”

Sometimes they think that all they need to do is get NMAS Mediator Accreditation.

Perhaps they have experienced Family Dispute Resolution in their own relationship break down. They may have heard about it through someone else and think “How hard can it be?”

The reality is that it is a responsible, professional role with people who are under a great deal of stress. These people are often vulnerable for a number of reasons. It is not a role to done without training or with only the short course that’s required for NMAS Accreditation.

Family Law Mediation

Family Law Mediation is regulated in Australia by the Family Law (Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners) Regulations 2008 and the Family Law Act 1975.

In our training for Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners we have to provide contextualised training in:

  • family violence and risk screening
  • working with victims and users of family violence
  • Family Law in terms of the role and obligations of FDR Practitioners as well as the requirements for Parenting Agreements and Parenting Plans and Property Settlements.  To be a FDR Practitioner you don’t have to be a lawyer (although that does let you get straight into the course)  You don’t do a lawyers job as a FDR Practitioner (Family Law Mediator) but you do need to have a very detailed understanding of the Family Law system.
  • Preparing for Family Dispute Resolution including mandatory pre-mediation procedures and required information that must be provided.
  • Family Dispute Resolution including the structure and process of family dispute resolution mediation, how to help parents to negotiate parenting and property agreements and how to deal with challenges during the process.

How long to learn all that?

Our course is self-paced and delivered online through eLearning, webinar discussions, role plays and other practical activities. It usually takes between eight and twelve months to complete depending on your prior knowledge, time available for study/application.

What people don’t always realise is that there is a mandatory work placement requirement. This ensures that you have the opportunity to translate the theory and basic skills you develop into real experience.

Our students can opt for Mediation Institute to provide that work placement opportunity through the not-for-profit Interact Support. Alternatively they can organise their own. We often get enquiries from students of other training providers desperate for their practice hours in order to get qualified. We make sure you can get your hours or factor in the cost of having to purchase supervision.

The cost for students of other training providers is $66 per hour.  Unless you are already working for a service, organising your own work placement is likely to be more difficult and expensive than you may guess.

Pre-requisite qualifications

You can’t just walk off the street and enrol in the CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution.  Pre-requisite qualifications apply.

Generally they relate to an undergraduate degree in Law, Psychology, Social Work or dispute resolution qualifications.

Counsellors are always disappointed to realise that your qualifications are not recognised as a pre-requisite qualification.

If you don’t have a pre-requisite qualification then an extra step of becoming a NMAS Accredited Mediator is required before you are eligible to enrol in the Graduate Diploma level qualification.

You also need to meet “good character” requirements.

Accreditation with the Attorney Generals Department

The Becoming a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner page on the Australian Attorney Generals department has more information about becoming a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. 

We partner with an RTO called Inspiritive to offer the training.  This is the page on our site with the information about the Graduate Diploma Course

National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS)

It is a bit strange that a 38 hour course and accreditation process through a voluntary industry standard accreditation process (NMAS) provides the same level of access to the Graduate Diploma level qualification as a law or psychology degree but those are the rules.

The good thing is that if you do have to complete the pathway NMAS accreditation is becoming more recognised as an entry level standard for mediators (other than family law mediators).

The Accreditation body is the Mediators Standards Board and this page on their website provides more information.  their FAQs contain a bit more information as well.


Mediation Institute is a Recognised Mediator Accreditation Body which means we can train, assess, accredit and then support mediators to meet their ongoing professional obligations once accredited.

If your main interest is in becoming a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner it is a longer journey than the 38 hour course that is required for NMAS Accreditation.

What can I earn?

There is no regulation of fees for mediators and Family Dispute Resolution so “What should I charge?” is another question that we frequently get from Graduates.

Working independently as a mediator we believe you should be earning between about $180 and $250 plus GST per hour when you start out but what you charge does depend on your belief in what value you bring, your worth, what you have charged out your time for previously and to a degree the type of clients you attract.

The register of FDR Practitioners gives some idea of what people are charging if what you can charge out at once you are qualified is something that you need to factor into your decision to train.

Search for your state or territory or city then click into the individual mediators to see what those that are publishing their fees are charging. There is a big range!

There isn’t a public register for NMAS Mediators fees.  If you just want to work for someone else and not do your own marketing then you will probably be paid between $50 and $120 an hour and even less with some not-for-profits.

Pathway to becoming a FDR Practitioner

If you don’t have one of the pre-requisite qualifications the pathway to becoming a FDR Practitioner would be:

  1. Complete the NMAS Mediator Course
  2. Pass the assessment for accreditation
  3. Apply for NMAS Accreditation
  4. Enrol in the CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution (or the core units only if you are happy with the minimum possible requirement)
  5. Complete the mandatory work placement and get your Graduate Diploma or Statement of Attainment
  6. Apply to the Attorney Generals to become a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.

We are able to provide all of these stages in the pathway along with interest free payment plans or education finance.

Start today to be a family mediator

We are currently enrolling in the CHC81115 – Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution for a mid February course start.  Grad Dip Course Application Form

That means there is time to get your NMAS Accreditation if you apply yourself to our self-paced online course.  NMAS Accreditation Course 

Contact us here at Mediation Institute for more information about what we can do for you.


I want to be a family mediator

by Paul Kenna Law time to read: 5 min