What Does a Paralegal Make
If you came here to learn about paralegals, and more specifically, what does a paralegal make, we’re going to dive into some ranges as well as qualifications that you’ll need to start your career as a paralegal. Many people considering a career in the legal field often wonder about the difference between paralegals, legal assistants, and law clerks. To learn more about the differences in those positions, you can read our post, ‘Legal Assistant vs Paralegal: Here’s What You Need to Know.‘
What is a Paralegal?
“Paralegals provide support to the lawyer by assisting with research and preparing important legal documents. While they do not provide legal services or advise clients, paralegals play a vital role in helping lawyers and other members of the legal team be more effective in court.” (Herzig)
Paralegals can work in government, family law, criminal law, divorce law, real estate, employment and corporate law, intellectual property, and many others. The plus side is that if you want to become a paralegal, there are many different areas in which you can find employment. Plus, you always have the option of specializing in a field that you are already familiar with or have a special interest in.
While paralegals and legal assistants used to fall under the same umbrella, these roles differ greatly. Legal assistants will assist more with office management, filing, and secretarial duties, while paralegals will work more closely with lawyers and legal operations to draft legal documents and perform research.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Paralegal?
It can take anywhere between two to seven years or to become a paralegal depending on your course of study. You don’t need a law degree to be a paralegal, but a degree of some type is typically required. Once you’ve obtained your degree, you will enroll in a paralegal program that could take up to two years to complete full time. Depending on the state you live in and some hiring standards, you may need to take a certification exam once your schooling is complete.
How Much Does a Paralegal Make an Hour?
According to Salary.com, the average hourly wage for a paralegal is $29 per hour. You can find more information about paralegal salaries in each state by visiting allcriminaljusticeschools.com. In general, paralegal annual salaries start at around $50,000 and, with increased experience, will grow to over $100,000. Like with any profession, your salary will vary depending on factors such as your field of practice, your location, years of experience, education status, and if you hold any extra specializations or further expertise in your area.
Is it Worth it to Become a Paralegal?
If becoming a paralegal is something that interests you, it can be a fulfilling and rewarding career. If you are motivated to help others, work with a team, and challenge yourself to learn new and stimulating skills, then this might be the perfect fit for you. There will be ups and downs like any job, but if you’re interested in a career in law but aren’t interested in years of law school or taking the bar exam, becoming a paralegal is a great alternative. You can work in a field that excites you and provides continuous opportunities to grow.
Learn more about becoming a paralegal and what’s involved in our recent blog posts, ‘Practice Areas for Paralegals‘ and ‘Becoming a Paralegal and What Does it Take?’