In the judicial world, arbitrators essentially act as alternative judges. These legal professionals resolve disputes in private, out-of-court hearings that are less formal than typical court proceedings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are no national credentials or licensing requirements for arbitrators. However, the state of Texas does have some formal requirements.
Obtain a law degree or a master's degree in law, public policy or a related field. Focus on developing dispute-resolution methods, writing skills and listening skills in your education. Consider furthering your education by enrolling in an independent mediator course. The Association of Attorney-Mediators in Dallas, a trade association, can refer you to a local course. Contact the association at 972-669-8180.
Volunteer or take on an internship or apprenticeship at a local community mediation center or dispute-resolution center. Although this isn't a state requirement, it may help you on the career path and it will help you obtain the memberships you'll need later. As of 2011, there were 20 DRCs in Texas, including Austin Dispute Resolution Center; the Dispute Resolution Center in Amarillo; Corpus Christi's Nueces County Dispute Resolution Services; Dispute Mediation Service, Inc., of Dallas; and the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center in Houston.
Apply for membership with the National Academy of Arbitrators, a professional organization of arbitrators in the U.S. and Canada, as required by Texas for professional practice. You must have at least five years of arbitration experience. Request an application by calling the academy at 416-234-0992. Texas arbitrators can also become members of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service by applying at the FMCS website.
Become listed on the state's arbitrator registry by completing a free online application from the Texas comptroller's office.
Some arbitrators specialize in areas such as insurance or construction. In this case, having a background in the field combined with a background in law will help you on the career track to becoming an arbitrator.