The economic future in Florida looks bright according to a 2017 report from the University of West Florida’s Center for Research and Economic Opportunity. Florida’s growing economy bodes well for paralegals. Already home to the third highest concentration in the country, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity predicts that the number of jobs for paralegals will increase by 16.2% between 2016 and 2024. This rate of growth is twice as fast as the national average for this occupation and should result in more than 7,400 jobs becoming available during the eight-year period leading up to 2024.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that Florida’s paralegals earned an average salary of $48,680 ($23.41 hourly), while experienced professionals in the top 10% averaged $71,940 ($34.59 hourly) as of 2016.

Salaries for Paralegals Throughout Florida’s Metropolitan Areas

As befits a state with the second highest number of paralegals in the country, three of Florida’s cities have an exceptionally high concentration of legal professionals:

  • Miami metropolitan area – 3rd highest concentration in the country
  • West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach – 8th highest concentration in the country
  • Tallahassee – 10th highest concentration in the country

Despite the fact that so many paralegals service these cities, opportunities are still strong and continued job growth is expected. Salaries vary significantly depending on location with paralegals in Cape Coral/Fort Meyers, Port St. Lucie, and the Orlando area, earning a higher average salary than their colleagues in the rest of the state.

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Orlando’s reputation as a finance and business services hub has created more opportunities for paralegals interested in working in business consulting or in the legal departments of international CPA firms directly. In fact, KPMG plans to break ground on a $430 million conference center in 2017.

High-tech is in the offing, too, offering prospects to paralegals with expertise in intellectual property and patent law. 2017 brings a new $71 million high-tech research center to Osceola County. Even the Space Coast is coming back to life with a new rocket plant in the works courtesy of Blue Origin and a satellite factory being built by OneWeb.

Cape Coral-Fort Meyers:

  • Average – $54,760 ($26.33 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $75,110 ($36.11 hourly)

Crestview-Fort Walton Beach:

  • Average – $46,870 ($22.53 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $65,180 ($31.34 hourly)

Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach:

  • Average – $36,710 ($17.65 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $51,670 ($24.84 hourly)

Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach:

  • Average – $46,190 ($22.21 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $65,130 ($31.31 hourly)

Gainesville:

  • Average – $46,220 ($22.22 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $60,870 ($29.27 hourly)

Jacksonville:

  • Average – $45,800 ($22.02 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $64,650 ($30.60 hourly)

Lakeland-Winter Haven:

  • Average – $41,750 ($20.07 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $51,210 ($24.62 hourly)

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach:

  • Average – $49,110 ($23.99 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $75,490 ($36.30 hourly)

Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island:

  • Average – $49,230 ($23.67 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $65,460 ($31.47 hourly)

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton:

  • Average – $44,290 ($21.30 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $59,970 ($28.83 hourly)

Ocala:

  • Average – $35,790 ($17.21 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $45,890 ($22.06 hourly)

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford:

  • Average – $50,310 ($24.19 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $69,930 ($33.62 hourly)

Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville:

  • Average – $44,930 ($21.60 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $75,780 ($36.43 hourly)

Panama City:

  • Average – $41,870 ($20.13 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $59,130 ($28.43 hourly)

Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent:

  • Average – $45,150 ($21.71 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $62,280 ($29.94 hourly)

Port St. Lucie:

  • Average – $51,060 ($24.55 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $73,050 ($35.12 hourly)

Punta Gorda:

  • Average – $45,280 ($21.77 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $59,910 ($28.80 hourly)

Sebastian-Vero Beach:

  • Average – $43,060 ($20.70 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $60,470 ($29.07 hourly)

Tallahassee:

  • Average – $45,300 ($21.78 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $62,480 ($30.04 hourly)

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater:

  • Average – $49,650 ($23.87 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $73,290 ($35.24 hourly)

West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach:

  • Average – $49,100 ($23.60 hourly)
  • Top 10% – $66,990 ($32.21 hourly)

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