Paralegal salaries will be based on a number of factors common to most industries and professions. Compensation will be dependent upon the individual paralegal’s experience, full-time vs. part-time employment, education, the type of firm or organization that they work for, and geographic area.
The United States Department of Labor through the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the average salary for paralegals and legal assistants was $47,000 in 2010. This means that half of all the paralegals in the United States earned more than $47,000. The BLS also reports that paralegals in the top 10 percent of the pay scale earned more than $75,000. Please note that the BLS numbers include legal assistants in this classification pool even though paralegals are more highly trained and have greater responsibilities than that of a legal assistant. (Legal assistant vs. paralegal: What is the difference?)
Junior paralegals with two to three years of experience will earn between $40-52,000 at a larger firm and $32-40,500 at smaller firms according to a 2012 survey of legal professions conducted by the well known firm, Robert Half International.
U.S. News & World Report lists the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, San Jose and Napa in California along with Flint, Michigan and Washington, D.C. as being the highest paying areas in the nation. Average salaries for paralegals in this areas range from $64,500 to $70,500.
If you are interested in learning more about how to become a paralegal, please visit our paralegal hub page.
If you are interested in learning more about other fantastic and rewarding careers that do not require a traditional four-year college degree, please visit the Ditch College career portal.