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.