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How Much Does A Paralegal Make During Their Career?

How Much Does A Paralegal Make?

This is a common question among those considering the field. The answer will vary depending on your experience, location and specialization if any, but the following is a good example of how you might expect your career and corresponding salary to change over the course of time.

This is based on national salary averages for a 30 year paralegal career, beginning with no experience and including a couple of job changes. I assumed average raise and bonus percentages based on recent trends and paralegal surveys.

*Note that about three-quarters of paralegals reported receiving a raise in a given year and just over 60% were given a bonus so you may or may not see these extra payments each year.*

How Much Do Paralegals In Years 0-2?

With little or no experience at the low end of the career ladder, it is not uncommon for these paralegals to make about $12 -$16 per hour starting out their first year, $29,275 annually Most paralegals use this role as experience and a springboard to a better position in about 2 years. Bonuses and raises are somewhat less likely at this level. Understandably, a paralegal with a related degree, or really any degree, can command a higher salary than one without.

Paralegal Studies
A Little More Experience: Years 2 to 6?

With more experience under your belt, a mid-level paralegal can expect to make closer to $49,650 per year. It is possible you would see raises and bonuses in these positions of about 2% and 5% each respectively.

Years 7+?

As this point, the answer to the question how much does a paralegal make gets slightly more complicated. You are solidly into the paralegal field, may or may not have a specialty and you might now move to a new paralegal position with an associated pay increase.

Paralegals at this point tend to make an average of $58,000 per year plus raises and bonuses. However, as previously stated, depending on the specialty, accomplishments, connections, etc individual paralegals could gain significantly more or less than that stated average.

How Much Does An Established Professional Make In Years 7 to 30?

Now that you’ve established yourself firmly in your career, you are more likely to be able to land a position that might command about $69,000 a year and is likely to come with more consistent bonuses and raises each year. This, however, is most likely if you have a degree in paralegal studies or another bachelor’s degree.

In total over the course of this sample 30 year paralegal career, you would make an average of just over $2.1 million in pay after factoring in raises and bonuses. There are often additional benefits available after the first few years.

For example, if you find a position that offers the opportunity to get 401k matching from your employer, they often match 100% up to 3% of your salary for up to an additional $60,000 over your career.

Employment Outlook

Employment opportunities for paralegals and legal assistants are projected to grow 19% from 2014 to 2025, faster than the average for all occupations.

Schools from around the country are gearing up both their online and campus programs to meet this huge demand. This particular area of study is attracting many applicants, and competition for jobs is competitive.

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