Paralegal earnings by seniority

Approximate values based on highest and lowest earning segments.

Paralegal salary by state

State Name Average Salary
New Jersey $46,293
Illinois $44,684
Virginia $44,320
Pennsylvania $38,650
California $40,693
Georgia $39,622
Michigan $35,764
New York $38,624
North Carolina $35,854
Maryland $48,000
Texas $37,472
Florida $35,279
Washington $39,000
Massachusetts $39,500
Colorado $37,220
Ohio $32,000

How much does a Paralegal earn?

The average annual paralegal salary for the entire United States ranges from around $47,000 to $52,000, or close to $22 per hour. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook, that average will be a little lower in 2014-2015, as the Bureau states the median national annual salary for paralegals as $46,990. The average starting salary is around $39,938 while some may earn as little as $18,000 or as much as $110,000. Actual salaries will often vary, and in some cases by a significant amount of money, based on specialization within the field, region and location, years of experience, the employers’ business, and a variety of other components.

When considering high salaries in certain regions, it is important to take into account what might factor in to that salary – factors such as the median home price, projected paralegal employment growth, taxes for the regions, and cost of living. The average paralegal salary tends to be higher on the east and west coasts, and in the northeast and northwest as well. The Midwest and southern regions tend to yield the lowest average paralegal salary in the United States. States with average paralegal salaries over $50,000 are Hawaii, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C, and Washington. Regardless of the state or region under consideration, paralegals located closer to metropolitan areas tend to earn higher salaries than those working in rural areas. States that have higher living expenses typically payout a higher average paralegal salary as well.

The highest wages are found in law firms and legal firms, and some small firms. Next, family law firms, then smaller wages when employed by private insurance businesses and legal aide groups. A few employers offer regular bonuses and some areas of paralegal employment involve commissions.

How do paralegal salaries compare to similar careers?

Paralegals earn 8% less than similar careers in the United States. On average, they make less than probation officers but more than security guards.

Career Median Salary
Probation officer salary $44K
Police officer salary $43K
Forensic science technician salary $41K
Legislator salary $26K
Bailiff salary $43K
Paralegal salary $36K
Correctional officer salary $35K
Legal secretary salary $30K
Security guard salary $24K