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Three Ways to Earn the Paralegal Salary You Desire

Posted by Gail Armatys

May 29, 2013 3:23:00 PM

Are you considering becoming a paralegal? The choices you make can have a big impact on the salary you earn.Paralegal Salary

According to Payscale.com the salary range for paralegals is $25,000.00 to $72,000.00 depending on practice area of the firm, education, and experience.

  • Starting paralegal salaries for graduates of Center for Advanced Legal Studies for the 2011-2012 reporting year ranged from $20,800.00 - $70,000.00. Of course, earnings vary depending on experience, employer, job location, etc.

To help you secure the job and earn the paralegal salary you desire, learn three important steps you can take to maximize your salary potential as you move toward beginning your paralegal career.

1. Complete A Thorough Paralegal Program 

On-the-job training may have been sufficient for paralegals in the past but due to increased competition for paralegal jobs, an AAS Paralegal Degree or a Paralegal Certificate for College Graduates is becoming necessary to secure the positions.

Professional paralegal associations warn, when choosing a paralegal program, avoid short-term paralegal programs lasting just a few weeks. These programs cannot provide the thorough legal education needed to succeed as a paralegal and are frowned upon by some employers. Donʼt be tempted to take this shortcut; it may actually hinder your career growth and salary prospects in the long run.

  • Entering an established, comprehensive paralegal studies program makes a crucial difference in your employment opportunities, salary, preparedness, and job satisfaction.  Do your research.  Not all paralegal certificate or paralegal degree programs are the same.  Make sure you compare apples to apples: course content, length of program, career services, and most importantly, graduate success.

2. First, Get Understanding & Gain Skills. Later, Consider a Specialty.

Paralegals may enhance their salary by specializing in a certain area of law. But a comprehensive understanding of the law must come first. Some common legal specializations include corporate law, real estate, family law, bankruptcy, litigation and appeals, and intellectual property.

  • Center for Advanced Legal Studies provides a broad spectrum of legal topics and essential skills in its programs.  Why - not all programs do?  At CALS, we want our graduates prepared for a variety of paralegal job opportunities. Our programs open more doors, and create increased job opportunities. 


  • As a student, you will become familiar with the most common areas of legal practice; not just one or two topics.  Once you gain understanding, experience and/or exposure, your personal specialization interests become apparent.  Then, you can take a more specialized focus. The more experience you gain as you work in your specialty, the more valuable you will be to employers looking for your particular legal expertise.

Paralegal Career Services

3. Look for ways to Gain Experience

In most professions, the more experience you have, the higher your salary. Why? Simply put, because you've added expertise to your resume which ads value to your services.

As a student at CALS, you can gain experience through the paralegal externship program prior to graduation.  Perhaps this externship opportunity combined with the passion and experience of our faculty is what gives the salary advantage to graduates.

This also brings up the question, ‘How do I gain experience if no one will hire me because I don’t already have experience?' Sound familiar?

  • When you complete an externship at Center for Advanced Legal Studies, the issue of having previous work experience goes away. Go to http://www.paralegal.edu/career-services/ to see how we help our graduates.

Request more information about how Center for Advanced Legal Studies can help you create a new future as a paralegal. Find details about our paralegal programs, faculty, staff, and curriculum today at www.paralegal.edu, or calling 800-446-6931.

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Topics: paralegal certificate, paralegal degree, career

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