Becoming a paralegal can put you into an interesting and exciting career that could lead to incomes between $28,000 and more than $69,000 per year. These variations depend somewhat on where the person chooses to live and work, but there are other factors that determine the amount of salary a person can earn.
If a paralegal wants to be in the higher level of that range, then they will have to follow these three tips for improving their chances for a higher salary:
Get A High Quality Education
It’s quite possible to get a job as a paralegal with just on the job training, but if a new paralegal wants to make the big bucks it can’t be done without a college education. That means that either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree will put the paralegal grad well on the way to a chance at the middle to higher range of pay.
According to the website Payscale.com, if a paralegal earns an associate’s degree are known to earn between $28,000 and $53,000, and if they went on two more years and earned a Bachelor’s Degree that annual pay went up to between $30,000 and more than $69,000.
Specializing Can Help to Earn More Money
If a paralegal chooses to get into a specific area of law they can also make a higher salary. Some of the specific fields of law that are open include family law, bankruptcy, real estate, litigation and appeals, corporate law and intellectual property. Many of these choices will take the paralegal into all different kinds of jobs from courtrooms to private businesses. It all depends on the area of law that is chosen.
Before choosing a specific area of specialization, paralegals need to be centered in knowing all of the general law areas. This means studying hard and learning all that can be learned during the college years. Some chose to wait and get some experience first with a lower paying position, and then work their way into a higher one after they determine the specialized area they prefer to work in. This way they will have a job in their favorite type of law.
Find Ways to Get More Experience
The paralegals with the most experience under their belts are also the ones that will make the higher salary ranges. In fact, Payscale.com says that if a paralegal has between one and four years of experience in the field, then they will likely make between $27,000 and $50,000 a year, and those that work between 10 and 19 years in the field are the ones that earn in excess of $69,000 depending on where they live and work.
Some of the ways to gain experience include taking on an internship on your way out of college. While some of these positions are either nonpaying or low pay, they do help one to earn valuable experience in the paralegal field. Some colleges include an internship the final senior year, while others do not, so choose the college you attend wisely for best results.
If the college attended doesn’t offer an internship program, experience can also be gained by volunteering to assist in a law office. If the person does well, the volunteer job could even turn into a permanent paying job offer which will also help you to gain experience in the paralegal field.
The bottom line is that becoming a paralegal is a road that includes both college, on the job experience and a decision on what field of law that one wishes to work in, plus the area that you wish to live and be employed, as all of these factors influence salary rates.
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Doug Hester is a criminal defense paralegal and guest author at Best Paralegal Schools Online, where he has written about some of the top online paralegal schools.