There are so many variables involved in paralegal salaries that it is almost impossible to pin down an exact range. The median starting salary is currently in the area of $ 43,000 a year, but that’s just an average. Choose a paralegal career because you saw someone on television making $ 100,000 a year and you will probably be disappointed, at least at first. Here are the top 5 factors that affect your paralegal salary to show you why there is such a wide variation.
In most cases, a paralegal who works for a large company in New York City is going to make significantly more money than someone who works for a company of the same size in a small Midwestern city. New York has a higher cost of living than almost any other city in the country. The people who live and work there naturally earn more money.
Obviously someone with a higher level of education can charge a higher salary. To increase your earning potential, consider continuing your education. Learn some new skills, such as how to use some of the specialized computer programs or how to create PowerPoint presentations.
Yes, there are paralegals who earn 6 figures or more per year. They live in areas that can support those wages, have the education necessary to get those jobs, and generally specialize in either certain skills or certain types of law.
Of course, you’re not going to earn those high paralegal salaries right out of college. But the more experience you have, the better your earning potential. And the more time you spend in your chosen field, the higher your salary. Be careful here. Don’t confuse experience with education. There are some things you should learn from books. And there are other things you can only learn on the job.
The reputation of the company you work for will also have a lot to do with your earnings. Again, there are many variables, but there are dozens of law firms with offices around the world. Those offices may not be located in cities where high salaries are generally paid, but associates earn those salaries because of the company they work for, not the actual location of the office.
A 6-figure paralegal salary as seen on TV shows is possible and is out there. You may have to change companies several times or even have to move. The best thing to do is make sure you have a good quality education under your belt, and then start researching all the various opportunities to see what you need to do to get to the next level.