Smiling paralegal viewing his printed payslip

What is the Average Salary of a Paralegal?

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 to prepare legal documents, costing a lot of money. By hiring an entry-level paralegal, who needs an associate’s degree instead of a graduate degree, law firms can meet clients’ needs while lowering costs.

Becoming an entry-level paralegal allows one to enjoy benefits such as job security, steady compensation, 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 salaries of paralegals in Ontario – and along the way, we will provide additional context to these salaries 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 Ontario paralegal salary is around $55,000 annually. This yearly salary equates to an hourly rate of pay of $27.50. This is excellent pay considering paralegals don’t need an undergraduate degree and would only need to complete two years of paralegal training accredited by the Law Society of Ontario to become an entry-level paralegal. Becoming a paralegal 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, paralegals’ salaries depend on their experience level and physical location. To demonstrate how these factors affect a paralegal’s salary in Ontario, here is a list of average paralegal salaries for the cities of Toronto, Ottawa, Mississauga, and Hamilton – depending on the level of experience 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 compensation rates and salaries do not consider the added income that paralegals can earn – which we’ll discuss in the next section.

Furthermore, on top of factors that determine this, 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 a paralegal’s salary. In contrast to an entry-level paralegal, experienced paralegals who larger employers hire can earn around $86,000, which is well above the national average.

How Paralegals Can Earn More Money

Even though paralegals already earn competitive salaries, there are ways for them to add to their income. For example, law firms that pay paralegals by the hour instead of an annual wage could offer more for those who choose to (or need to) work late hours. This can often happen 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 increase their compensation is by freelancing as a legal assistant 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 are paid nearly $75,000 USD (about $83,000 Canadian). That’s a substantial pay 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 entry-level, 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 growth opportunities.

So if a part of you 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 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!

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