What is the Average Salary of a Paralegal? | Cestar College
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13 Aug 2020

What is the Average Salary of a Paralegal?

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    Paralegals play an important role in the legal industry. Without them, lawyers would have to spend more time searching for documents, researching laws, and drafting legal documents. That would force law firms to hire more lawyers, which would cost a lot of money. By hiring paralegals, who need associate’s degrees instead of graduate degrees, law firms can meet the needs of clients while keeping costs lower.

    Becoming a paralegal allows one to enjoy benefits such as job security, steady career growth, a prestigious role, and multiple work environments to choose from. The competitive salary that goes with this sought-after profession is definitely only one of its many advantages.

    In this article, we will explore the average salary of a paralegal in Ontario – and along the way, we will provide additional context to these salary rates by talking a bit about educational requirements, job roles, and demand.

    Paralegal working on the desk beside decorative scales

    Average Salary for a Paralegal in Ontario

    The average paralegal salary in Ontario, Canada is around $55,000 per year. This equates to an hourly rate of $27.50. Considering that paralegals don’t need to complete an undergraduate degree and would only need 2 years to complete a paralegal training program accredited by the Law Society of Ontario, this is an excellent direction for men and women who want to earn a competitive salary and establish a stable career as soon as possible.

    Of course, like most other professions, the salary of a paralegal depends on their level of experience and physical location. To demonstrate how these factors affect a paralegal’s salary in Ontario, here is a list of average salaries for the cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga, and Hamilton – depending on the level of experience that the paralegal has:

    Average Paralegal Salary in Toronto

    • Early Career (Less than 5 years of experience) – $46,613 per year
    • Mid Career (More than 5 years of experience) – $53,305 per year

    Average Paralegal Salary in Ottawa

    • Early Career (Less than 5 years of experience) – $42,447 per year
    • Mid Career (More than 5 years of experience) – $46,500 per year

    Average Paralegal Salary in Mississauga

    • Early Career (Less than 5 years of experience) – $37,000 per year
    • Mid Career (More than 5 years of experience) – $49,829 per year

    Average Paralegal Salary in Hamilton

    • Early Career (Less than 5 years of experience) – $35,000 per year
    • Mid Career (More than 5 years of experience) – $41,806 per year

    It’s important to note that the above rates do not take into account the added income that paralegals can earn – which we’ll discuss in the next section.

    Furthermore, on top of factors like experience and location, other factors – such as the size of the employer, the current demand, and what area of the law the paralegal will practice – also influence the paralegals salary. Experienced paralegals who are hired by larger employers can earn around $86,000 which is well above the national average.

    How Paralegals Can Earn More Money

    Even though paralegals already earn a competitive salary, there are ways for them to add to their income. For example, law firms that pay paralegals by the hour, instead of an annual salary, would be able to offer more for those who choose to (or need to) work late hours. This can happen often in the paralegal profession because firms may need paralegals to work odd hours as court dates and deadlines draw near. By working these extra hours, paralegals could earn extra.

    Another way that paralegals can earn more money is by freelancing on the side. Freelancing with another firm or lawyer can help to generate added income. It can also be an opportunity to broaden one’s professional network and test the waters before fully becoming a freelance paralegal – which is always an option for paralegals who wish to set their own work schedule and choose the jobs that they take on.

     A paralegal who is intently at work on his desk

    What Do Paralegals Really Make?

    Not every paralegal makes over $45,000 a year. The lowest paid paralegals make just under $30,000 per year.

    Other paralegals can earn nearly $75,000 USD (about $83,000 Canadian). That’s a substantial figure for workers who only need to earn an associate’s degree to start their careers.

    Even those who make low salaries have it pretty good. It isn’t easy to find a steady job that pays over $30,000 and doesn’t require at least a bachelor’s degree. (Although many programs require paralegals to take internships that give them on-the-job training.)

    Your Next Steps in Becoming a Paralegal

    A paralegal associate’s degree only takes a couple of years and will extensively prepare you for an exciting profession that not only pays well – but also comes with good job security and multiple opportunities for growth.

    So if there is a part of you that feels compelled to be a part of something greater, to contribute positively to society, and to answer a calling in the legal field, then this career path is definitely worth exploring! If you have any questions about becoming a paralegal, feel free to contact us – there’s always someone on the line to help you out!


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