Although Alaska’s economy suffered a major hit as losses in the oil and gas industry spread into other sectors during 2016, salaries for paralegals in the state remained high. These professionals earned the second highest average salary among all paralegals in the country according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The average salary of $66,950 ($32.19 hourly) exceeded the national average by 25%, while those in the top ten percent earned an average of $109,640 ($52.71 hourly). The salary for these experienced professionals exceeded the national average for the top ten percent by more than $29,000 a year.
Paralegals in Alaska are likely to earn even more than these figures suggest, since they only reflect salaries. The values do not factor in bonuses, which can add substantially to the income of a paralegal. According to the NALA 2016 National Compensation & Utilization Survey Report, the average bonus for a paralegal in the US exceeded $4,500.
Salary Prospects for Urban and Rural Paralegals in Alaska
The BLS reported Anchorage-based paralegals were exceptionally well paid with salaries exceeding the average for Alaska. In fact, professionals in this city earned the 7th highest average salary in the country in 2016.
Although Anchorage took a hit from the decline in the energy industry, its heavy military presence and transportation industry provides a buffer that helps its economy. With three military bases located at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and the busiest transportation industry in the state, the airport is a significant driving force for the city’s economy. In addition, Anchorage serves as the communications and finance center for Alaska.
With its status as the business center and capital of Alaska, Anchorage is home to more than three-quarters of the state’s 730 paralegals. Sectors such as finance, communications, and logistics offer high wages to paralegals with expertise in these areas.
Rural areas of Alaska also pay well for such professionals. The BLS reported that the nonmetropolitan areas of the state were among the top three in the country in terms of salaries for rural paralegals. In addition, professionals in Fairbanks also earned higher average salaries than their colleagues in the US overall:
- Average – $68,830 ($33.09 hourly)
- Top 10% – $114,950 ($55.27 hourly)
- Average – $57,010 ($27.41 hourly)
- Top 10% – $74,930 ($36.03 hourly)
Nonmetropolitan Area of Southeast Alaska:
- Average – $63,250 ($30.41 hourly)
- Top 10% – $79,980 ($38.45 hourly)
Nonmetropolitan Area of Balance of Alaska:
- Average – $63,630 ($33.09 hourly)
- Top 10% – $87,930 ($42.47 hourly)
Salary and employment data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016.