Are you wondering if the typical paralegal salary is substantial enough motivation for pursuing this type of work? Paralegals’ pay rates vary greatly depending on several factors including where they live and others.
There are five metropolitan areas that stand out as being the top 5 highest paying metropolitan areas for paralegals. Before launching into the specifics of paralegals’ salaries in these 5 locations, it’s important for you to understand the national benchmarks to compare these figures against. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that, in 2015, the mean hourly wage across the entire United States for paralegals and other legal assistants was $25.19. Median annual pay for the same time period was $48,810, and median hourly pay was $23.47.
Mean hourly pay for paralegals in the San Francisco metropolitan area is $34.77, and the mean annual salary is $72,310. This area includes Redwood City and South San Francisco.
Mean hourly pay for paralegals in the nation’s capital and its surrounding areas is $33.44. The mean annual salary is $69,560. This area includes nearby suburbs in Maryland and northern Virginia including Arlington, Virginia; Alexandria, Virginia; Springfield, Virginia; Bethesda, Maryland; Rockville, Maryland and many others.
As compared against the national average, there are significantly greater numbers of paralegals working in the Washington, D.C. area than there are in most of the rest of the country. As of 2015, Washington, D.C. was the metropolitan area with the second highest employment level for this occupation; New York City was the area with the highest employment level. Washington, D.C. was also the metro area with the 8th highest concentration of employed paralegals.
In comparison, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina was the area with the largest concentration of paralegals; however, Hilton Head didn’t make this list of highest paying metropolitan areas for paralegals because the mean paralegal wage in the Hilton Head area is only $21.19.
Mean hourly pay for paralegals in the San Jose metropolitan area is $33.41, and the mean annual salary is $69,490. This area includes Sunnyvale and Santa Clara.
Mean hourly pay for paralegals in the Anchorage, Alaska metropolitan area is $33.27, and the mean annual salary is $69,190.
Mean hourly pay for paralegals in the San Rafael metropolitan area is $32.99, and the mean annual salary is $68,630.
While the cities mentioned above are the ones with the highest overall pay, cost of living is a factor that you also need to consider. These are all cities where the cost of living is high. Another city to consider is Charleston, West Virginia, which offers a high concentration of paralegal jobs but an attractively low cost of living. Mean annual paralegal pay in Charleston is $46,050, and the mean hourly wage is $22.14.
Now you have a better idea about which cities are the most lucrative spots to live and work as a paralegal. If you’re interested in pursuing work as a paralegal, we hope you’ll take this data into consideration as you figure out whether or not it would be worthwhile for you to move. We also hope this information has satisfied your curiosity about how much a typical paralegal salary is.