The average salary for a paralegal in the U.S. is about $52,920 per year.
$32,900 (low 10%)
$85,160 (top 90%)
Paralegals earn an average of $52,920 per year according to the bls.gov as of May 2020.
The range in pay for paralegals is $32,900 to $85,160 per year.
How much does a paralegal make?
According to data from the bls.gov, paralegals earn $52,920 per year on average. This equals $25.44 per hour. The low end of paralegal salaries is around $32,900 per year or $15.82 per hour while the high end pays around $85,160 per year or $40.94 per hour.
As you can see, there is a big range in pay for paralegals. Your salary will be determined by your experience and education as well as your location and industry.
Top paying industries for paralegals
Some industries for paralegals pay better than others. Merchant wholesalers with nondurable goods pay an average of $134,210 per year. That’s about $80,000 more than the typical paralegal salary which is $52,920. Paralegals in land subdivision earn around $90,360 per year which is also much higher pay.
Paralegals in semiconductor, grant making, and natural gas distribution all pay around $85,000 per year which is still about $30,000 more per year than the typical paralegal earns.
|Industry||Annual mean wage|
|Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods||$134,210|
|Semiconductor & other electronic component manufacturing||$85,440|
|Grantmaking & giving services||$85,350|
|Natural gas distribution||$84,300|
Top paying cities for paralegals
Depending on where you live, you can earn higher salaries than the average paralegal. For instance, paralegals in the Napa, CA area earn $93,110 per year which is around $40,000 per year more than the typical paralegal earns. Paralegals in the San Jose, CA area also earn over $90,000 per year on average.
After these two top-paying cities, paralegals employed in Trenton, NJ, San Francisco, CA, and Santa Rosa, CA earn around $75,000 per year. Living in any of these top 5 cities will result in higher pay as a paralegal.
|San Jose Area, CA||$90,280|
|San Francisco Area, CA||$75,820|
|Santa Rosa, CA||75,390|
Paralegal salaries by state
The top-paying states for paralegals are the District of Columbia, California, Washington, Colorado, and New York. The District of Columbia pays the most by far with the average paralegal in the District of Columbia earning $83,330 per year. California is the second-highest paying state, but the pay drops down to $66,250 per year. Both are well above the average paralegal salary which is around $52,920 per year.
|District of Columbia||$83,330|
How do paralegal salaries compare to related careers?
Paralegals work in law offices to help attorneys understand laws, file paperwork, and research cases. They often work under the supervision of an attorney or may be responsible for managing a case on their own. While paralegals typically earn around $52,910 per year, attorneys typically earn around $126,930 per year which is more than double. However, many paralegals only possess a Bachelor’s degree while attorneys have a Bachelor’s degree plus have successfully completed a law degree.
Other similar careers to a paralegal include secretaries and administrative assistants. People employed in these professions earn around $40,000 per year which is around $12,000 less than paralegals.
|Secretaries & Administrative assistants||$40,990|
|Judges & Hearing officers||$124,200|
|Arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators||$66,130|