How to Become an Ombuds

Training, Requirements, & Stories from Other Ombuds

Unlike many professions, the journey to becoming an organizational ombuds, ombudsperson, or ombudsman does not follow a clearly identified path. The global ombuds community is filled with professionals who come from a wide variety of backgrounds. Most of the ombuds in the IOA network have a diverse range of academic credentials and professional experiences. Review the information below to learn more about the process of becoming an ombuds.


What is an Ombuds?

  • An organizational ombuds is defined as: “a designated neutral who is appointed or employed by an organization to facilitate the informal resolution of concerns of employees, managers, students and, sometimes, external clients of the organization.” Learn more >
  • There are different types of ombuds that work at varying levels in both the private and public sectors. Learn more >

What type of training is there for becoming an ombuds?

  • Formal training can be invaluable in preparing an individual for an ombuds role. The IOA offers a series of professional training courses that include skills training as well as practical instruction in establishing and maintaining an organizational ombuds office. IOA offers a selection of training opportunities for aspiring ombuds, experienced ombuds, and non-ombuds. Read the full list >
  • You can review our list of Ombuds-Related Groups & Organizations to explore other training options. Learn more >

Is there a specific degree needed to become an ombuds?

A specific career background or formal academic degree is less important than one’s demonstration of skills, including non-judgmental listening; the ability to communicate successfully with a diverse range of people; courage to speak up; discretion; creativity in developing options; and problem-solving and analytical ability. That is why, within the global IOA community, you will find ombuds from all disciplines, ranging from academia, management, human resources, law, engineering, accounting, consulting, and more.

Formal training in mediation and/or other conflict resolution processes, such as facilitation and conflict coaching, is also very valuable.

There are a few universities and higher education institutions that offer ombuds training. Here is one of the institutions that offer ombuds education.

Ombuds Journeys: Hear from Others

To celebrate and better understand what it takes to become an ombuds, The Independent Voice launched the Ombuds Journey Project in 2021. This blog mini-series features the real-life journeys of ombuds from the IOA network. One of the key goals of this project is to inspire emerging and aspiring ombuds to continue along their ombuds journey with a better understanding of what shaped the path of their colleagues in the profession.

Learn More

How do I find ombuds jobs?

  • Many new organizational ombuds assume their roles after holding other jobs within their organizations. Often, they are tapped to become the ombuds because they have established a widely known reputation for integrity, confidentiality, and knowledge of organizational processes across functions. Their specialized experience within their organizations can make them even more effective as ombuds because they have a deeper understanding and awareness of the specific issues that affect people and organizations in these fields.
  • If you are looking for open ombuds positions, check out the IOA Job Board. Learn more >
  • If you are looking to provide outsourced (external) ombuds services consider joining IOA and participating in our Outsourced Ombuds Directory. Learn more >
  • Would you like to create an ombuds position at your organization? IOA offers training and assistance in starting new ombuds offices. Learn more >

How do I become a certified ombuds? 

  • Are you interested in gaining new recognition for your role as an organizational ombuds? Become a Certified Organizational Ombudsman Practitioner®. In order to become certified you need to meet certain requirements as well as pass the certification exam. Learn more >

How can I meet and talk to other ombuds?

  • IOA would love to help connect you with other ombuds. The first step we recommend you take to get connected with our network of ombuds is to become an IOA member. Sign up now >
  • After joining, you can attend IOA's training events to learn more about the profession and network with your peers. Learn more >
  • You can also join online groups and forums. Start by exploring groups on LinkedIn. View list >

What is the salary range for an ombuds?

  • Ombuds salary ranges vary based on many different factors. IOA conducts a compensation survey every two years to try and learn more about ombuds compensation. Members have free access to these reports. Non-members can purchase these reports on the IOA website. Learn more >