Paralegal Salary – How Much Does a Paralegal Make a Year?

Average Paralegal Salary By State

If you are interest to know how much does a paralegal make a year, then you are in for a pleasant surprise. From now until the year 2022, employment, as well as the national average paralegal salary, is expected to grow as much as 17%.


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That is faster than any other occupation. Because law firms are trying to reduce expenses while also increasing how efficient their services are, they are going to be hiring more legal assistants to do their work. Law firms that are trying to rebuild support staff and are revamping their project staff are also looking for paralegals that they can give some administrative duties on top of their initial job description they were hired for.

Clients have been putting pressure about costs on law firms and this is adding to the demand for legal assistants because it cost less to staff them, they can perform many different tasks and they are even able to complete tasks that lawyers do.

So What Does a Paralegal Make?

There are several factors that play a part on the annual salary for a certified paralegal. These factors include things such as the industry that they work in, the size of the company that they work for, where they are located, how many years of experience they have and finally the type of education they have. Each year a survey is completed in order to get an idea of the salary range.

This year the income range, based upon the aforementioned factors, is $37,241 to $61, 330. The median for legal assistants is $48,613. Some do make a bonus, but that is not going to be part of a paralegal starting salary. Based on their income plus bonus, the range is $37,740 to $64,655 with the median being $50,365.


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Based on the national average this table below gives you an average for core compensation, as well as benefits they receive:

Average Paralegal Salary Range

Core Compensation Median Value of Benefits% of Income
Base Salary$48,61367.1%
Bonuses $1,7532.4%
Social Security $3,8535.3%
401K/ 403B$1,8132.5%
Disability$4530.6%
Healthcare$6,5929.1%
Pension $3,1734.4%
Time Off$6,1998.6%
Total Compensation$72,448100%

Certified Paralegal Salaries By State

The salary for paralegal jobs in the below table is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This table is to give you an idea of what salary can be expected for each state for legal assistants, in order to provide you with an idea of where you can make the most money in this career.

This information is the aggregate of a combination of surveys, consensus, job listings, that are currently being offered for different positions, including entry level internships, real estate, and immigration, and from various populous cities, such as Chicago and Houston.

Many job postings do not have a detailed compensation package posted. Even though that information isn’t included, there is enough postings that do list it in order to come up with the table below without it being to skewed to one extreme or the other.

One way this information could also be used, is to gain an idea for living expenses in certain states and to see how well you would be able to afford costs should you plan on moving to the higher paying ones (in the future we will include a cost of living column for comparison purposes).

StateSalaryAverage Percentage Nationwide
Alabama$48,0002% higher than average salaries
Alaska$40,00015% lower than average salaries
Arizona$41,00012% lower than average salaries
Arkansas$47,0001% lower than average salaries
California$52,00010% higher than average salaries
Colorado$41,00012% lower than average salaries
Connecticut$51,0008% higher than average salaries
Delaware$44,0007% lower than average salaries
Florida$45,0005% lower than average salaries
Georgia$51,0009% higher than average salaries
Hawaii$34,00029% lower than average salaries
Idaho$39,00017% lower than average salaries
Illinois$50,0005% higher than average salaries
Indiana$48,0001% higher than average salaries
Iowa$44,0007% lower than average salaries
Kansas$43,0009% lower than average salaries
Kentucky$41,000 12% lower than average salaries
Louisiana$39,00017% lower than average salaries
Maine$42,00010% lower than average salaries
Maryland$47,000Same as average salaries
Massachusetts$54,00014% higher than average salaries
Michigan$46,0003% lower than average salaries
Minnesota$43,0009% lower than average salaries
Mississippi$55,00017% higher than average salaries
Missouri$47,0001% lower than average salaries
Montana$48,0001% higher than average salaries
Nebraska$38,000 19% lower than average salaries
Nevada$44,0007% lower than average salaries
New Hampshire$46,0002% lower than average salaries
New Jersey$50,0005% higher than average salaries
New Mexico$42,00010% lower than average salaries
New York$55,00017% higher than average salaries
North Carolina$47,0001% lower than average salaries
North Dakota$45,0006% lower than average salaries
Ohio$45,000 5% lower than average salaries
Oklahoma$43,0009% lower than average salaries
Oregon$44,0006% lower than average salaries
Pennsylvania$41,00013% lower than average salaries
Rhode Island$47,0001% higher than average salaries
South Carolina$42,00010% lower than average salaries
South Dakota$37,00022% lower than average salaries
Tennessee$45,0006% lower than average salaries
Texas$45,0006% lower than average salaries
Utah$42,00011% lower than average salaries
Vermont$44,0006% lower than average salaries
Virginia$47,000Same as average salaries
Washington$45,000 5% lower than average salaries
Washington DC$54,00014% higher than average salaries
West Virginia$47,0001% lower than average salaries
Wisconsin$42,00012% lower than average salaries
Wyoming$44,0007% lower than average salaries

How to Increase Your Income

A few ways you can increase how much you get paid, once you become a certified paralegal, is to specialize into the more advance studies of this profession.

Such as:

  • Corporate Paralegal
  • Nurse Paralegal
  • Patent Paralegal
  • Real Estate Paralegal
  • And Litigation Paralegal

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Even though it can take longer to become adept in those sub specialties, it is well worth it. There are others that are not listed, but those are a good start to look into.