Improving attorney quality of life one complex litigation project at a time

Virtual Paralegalism

The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism

Forbes Says Paralegals among Highest Paying Two-Year Degree Jobs in U.S.

Forbes Says Paralegals among Highest Paying Two-Year Degree Jobs in U.S.

I know many of my readers are students enrolled in paralegal programs, some hoping to start second or third careers. It’s encouraging to see Forbes, a leading business publication, include paralegals among the highest paying two-year degree jobs in the United States, along with nurses, x-ray technicians, dental hygienists, computer support specialists, solar panel consultants and installers, hospitality workers – and funeral directors.

But the article might be a little misleading for paralegal wannabes that haven’t done their homework. Yes, many experienced paralegals can and do earn more than $40,000 a year, depending on where they live, who they work for, and what specialty areas they are trained in.

However, some experienced paralegals don’t make $40,000 or more a year, usually those located in rural or more depressed economic areas, and/or those that work for solos or small firms.

And very few brand new paralegals make $40,000 or more a year, unless they are extremely lucky, or bring unique transferable skills to specialized positions.

Finally, none of those paralegal positions paying $40,000 or more a year are easy to get, especially in this economy. For every job posted, even those paying $25,000 a year, there are usually a number of experienced applicants, and perhaps even a few unemployed attorneys, vying for a chance at an interview.

Being a paralegal is a great career, but it takes a lot of determination and hard work to get to the point where you can command an annual salary of $40,000 or more a year.

Source:  Forbes

7 Responses to Forbes Says Paralegals among Highest Paying Two-Year Degree Jobs in U.S.

  1. Great response to the article! You are correct… the higher paying jobs are out there, but (in my experience) they require a higher level of commitment than most paralegal hopefuls are willing to give. I am grateful for the generous salary and all of the perks/bonuses I receive, but I have worked hard for them. I graduated number one in my class with a 4.0, I studied and earned my CP, I come in early and leave late most every day, and I don't call in sick. I have made it a point to keep up with the local and state laws – I am the "go to"person in our office when it comes to Rules of Civil Procedure. I believe I read an article from Vicki Voisin which said to carve out a niche for yourself in the office… be an expert in one area. It can help to make you indispensable in the office.

    I work with some of the paralegal interns from our local community college who expect to come out of school and get a job immediately with a salary of $40K+ – it doesn't work that way. You must be at the top of your game to be rewarded with the higher salaries and terrific perks that so many expect to be handed out with their degree.

    Stepping off the soap box now…

  2. Tell 'em Andrea! I've been a paralegal for 20 years and I'm with you, you have to earn your way to the top. Your advice about carving out a niche for yourself in the office is invaluable. As you know though, it's great when you reach the point in your career where you are in demand and firms are willing to pay to get you. 😉

  3. Thanks for these comments – there are some really negative and bitter ones on the Forbes article. It's good to see experienced paralegals emphasizing the value of hard work over entitlement.

  4. I'm making twice as much now as I was when I started, but that's taken move than 15 years and several job changes. Good money can be made, but it takes time to get there.

  5. I'm not aware of any profession that will start you off at top pay straight out of school. I think this article rightfully suggests the "potential" to earn top dollar in this field for a two-year degree. As your experience and education increases, so should the amount of money that you earn.

  6. Greetings fellow Paralegals, I too agree with Andrea and even though my response is in 2013 GREAT PARALEGAL JOBS ARE OUT THERE!!! I have been a Paralegal for six years and started to make over 50,000 in year four. I work in a speciality-habeas corpus for trial court in California. The best advice I can give is education, education, education. Besides the two year degree, go for the B.S. and enhance your skills by attending educational seminars for your particular area of law. Good Luck to those of you starting out.

  7. Greetings my fellow Paralegals, yes I agree there are high paid Paralegal jobs but you must be persistent. The best advice I can give is education, education, education. Go for the two year Paralegal Degree and eventually the B.S. I am earning my four year degree in Business with the emphasis in Public Sector and have my Paralegal Degree. I work as a Paralegal for trial court in California and have specialize in post conviction review, habeas corpus petitions, and CEQUA litigation. So be a sponge and absorb the knowledge. Best of Luck to all the new Paralegals.

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

Website design by T.Marie Hilton-Girly Girl Geek Designs