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California Paralegal Salaries

Not only is California home to more paralegals than anywhere else in the country, they are also among the best paid, ranking fifth in the nation in terms of average salary. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that California’s paralegals earned an average of $59,130 ($28.43 hourly), with those in the top 10% making $93,590 ($44.51) on average as of 2016.

With a diverse economy ranging from IT and high tech to agriculture and tourism, paralegals here find more opportunities with corporate legal departments and the law firms that serve them than almost anywhere else in the county.

It’s fitting that the 6th largest economy in the world would be showing strong job growth projections for paralegals during a time of unprecedented growth. The state’s Employment Development Department projects that the number of jobs will increase by 13.2% between 2014 and 2024 – a rate that is 1.6 times the national average. This level of growth should generate more than 1,000 jobs a year on average during the ten-year period leading up to 2024.

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Paralegal Options Throughout California

While the salaries of California’s paralegals vary greatly depending on their location, six of the state’s major metropolitan areas are among the top nine highest paying areas in the country for these legal professionals:

  • #1 – San Jose metropolitan area
  • #2 – San Francisco metropolitan area
  • #4 – Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura
  • #6 – San Rafael
  • #8 – Napa
  • #9 – Santa Rosa

The salaries for paralegals earning within the top 10% were more than $111,000 in the San Jose area, the Oxnard area, and Napa. These metropolitan areas derive much of their economic strength from industries that range from IT in the San Jose area, defense spending in Oxnard and Thousand Oaks, and the agricultural and viticulture industry in Napa, all industry sectors where normal business activity routinely intersects with the law.

Anaheim-Santa Ana-Irvine:

  • Average – $50,540 ($24.30 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $79,730 ($38.33 hourly)

Bakersfield:

  • Average – $52,200 ($25.10 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $77,960 ($37.48 hourly)

Chico:

  • Average – $41,940 ($20.16 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $59,290 ($28.51 hourly)

El Centro:

  • Average – $52,710 ($25.34 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $74,040 ($35.60 hourly)

Fresno:

  • Average – $51,730 ($24.87 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $77,020 ($37.03 hourly)

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim:

  • Average – $54,110 ($26.01 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $83,470 ($40.13 hourly)

Modesto:

  • Average – $53,530 ($25.74 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $69,760 ($33.54 hourly)

Napa:

  • Average – $66,940 ($32.13 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $111,730 ($53.72 hourly)

Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley:

  • Average – $55,440 ($36.65 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $80,550 ($38.73 hourly)

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura:

  • Average – $71,920 ($34.58 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $113,090 ($54.37 hourly)

Redding:

  • Average – $56,950 ($27.38 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $77,530 ($37.27 hourly)

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario:

  • Average – $60,740 ($29.20 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $100,450 ($48.29 hourly)

Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade:

  • Average – $55,160 ($26.52 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $81,850 ($39.35 hourly)

Salinas:

  • Average – $53,070 ($25.51 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $73,970 ($35.56 hourly)

San Diego-Carlsbad:

  • Average – $62,970 ($30.28 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $82,300 ($39.57 hourly)

San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward:

  • Average – $66,400 ($31.92 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $100,830 ($48.47 hourly)

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara:

  • Average – $75,290 ($36.20 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $115,510 ($55.53 hourly)

San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande:

  • Average – $41,250 ($19.83 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $58,840 ($28.29 hourly)

San Rafael:

  • Average – $69,280 ($33.31 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $82,940 ($39.88 hourly)

Santa Cruz-Watsonville:

  • Average – $55,400 ($26.63 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $68,240 ($32.81 hourly)

Santa Maria-Santa Barbara:

  • Average – $51,630 ($24.82 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $78,650 ($37.81 hourly)

Santa Rosa:

  • Average – $65,750 ($31.61 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $103,990 ($50.00 hourly)

Stockton-Lodi:

  • Average – $43,900 ($21.11 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $67,570 ($32.49 hourly)

Vallejo-Fairfield:

  • Average – $63,900 ($30.72 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $95,550 ($45.94 hourly)

Visalia-Porterville:

  • Average – $46,640 ($22.42 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $74,650 ($35.89 hourly)

Yuba City:

  • Average – $41,260 ($19.84 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $66,500 ($31.97 hourly)

 

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Bakersfield CA
210
55730
Chico CA
110
36090
El Centro CA
40
40650
Fresno CA
500
55970
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale CA Metropolitan Division
7790
60860
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana CA
10970
60210
Modesto CA
160
47400
Napa CA
70
62140
Oakland-Fremont-Hayward CA Metropolitan Division
1920
60100
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura CA
370
53390
Redding CA
70
50500
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario CA
770
62340
Sacramento--Arden-Arcade--Roseville CA
1920
52090
Salinas CA
100
58550
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos CA
3020
57960
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont CA
5370
64230
San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City CA Metropolitan Division
3460
66520
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara CA
2250
65280
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles CA
Estimate Not Released
47010
Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine CA Metropolitan Division
3180
58620
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta CA
240
52520
Santa Cruz-Watsonville CA
140
53660
Santa Rosa-Petaluma CA
170
47760
Stockton CA
180
51110
Vallejo-Fairfield CA
110
55570
Visalia-Porterville CA
50
45870
Mother Lode Region of California nonmetropolitan area
60
38250
North Coast Region of California nonmetropolitan area
90
44690
Northern Mountains Region of California nonmetropolitan area
40
48370

Salary and employment data has been compiled by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2010.