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Montana Paralegal Salaries

The Montana Department of Labor and Industry projects a job growth rate of 20.5 percent for paralegals over the decade leading up to 2024. That’s nearly three times better than the national average!

What’s most impressive is that this growth is taking place in an area that is already home to a high concentration of paralegals. A 2016 report from the US Department of Labor shows rural West Montana as having the second-highest concentration of paralegals of all rural areas in the nation. If you thought high-density would mean a low growth rate, think again.

So what makes Montana so special for the paralegal profession? Why does Montana have a much higher projected job growth rate for paralegals than places like DC, New York, and California? The answer is counterintuitive.

Ironically, the prospects for paralegals in Montana are so good because their numbers have actually been shrinking recently due to a wave of retirements, creating a vacuum that has caused a spike in demand. With longtime paralegals entering retirement, the old are making way for the new. In 2011 the US Department of Labor reported that there were 990 paralegals statewide earning an average annual salary of $38,290. Fast forward five years to the most recent report published in 2016, and there are now 880 paralegals statewide who earn an average annual salary of $44,590.

As the number of professionals has decreased, the average salary has gone up by $6,300 in just the last five years. Statewide, paralegals at the top of their game earning a 90th-percentile salary make $64,050 annually.

Critically, while the number of paralegals has been shrinking the legal profession has continued to grow. According to the US Department of Labor the number of lawyers increased by 170 over the five years leading up to 2016, during the exact same time the number of paralegals was decreasing. That’s led a perfect storm of high demand and salary growth.

Most paralegals work in the legal services industry for law firms and other legal services companies, followed by corporate legal departments and government.

*Accredited online paralegal and legal studies programs put an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree well within reach:

Salary Figures for Paralegals in Montana

Paralegal salaries for metro and rural areas across the state sourced from the US Department of Labor in 2016:

Billings:

  • Average annual – $55,390
  • Average hourly – $26.63
  • Top-10th annual – $77,990
  • Top-10th hourly – $37.50

Missoula:

  • Average annual – $42,860
  • Average hourly – $20.61
  • Top-10th annual – $60,700
  • Top-10th hourly – $29.18

Great Falls:

  • Average annual – $56,690
  • Average hourly – $27.26
  • Top-10th annual – $77,320
  • Top-10th hourly – $37.18

Rural West Montana:

  • Average annual – $33,060
  • Average hourly – $15.89
  • Top-10th annual – $42,940
  • Top-10th hourly – $20.64

Rural Southwest Montana:

  • Average annual – $45,270
  • Average hourly – $21.76
  • Top-10th annual – $58,690
  • Top-10th hourly – $28.22

Rural East Montana:

  • Average annual – $42,150
  • Average hourly – $20.27
  • Top-10th annual – $51,260
  • Top-10th hourly – $24.64

 

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Billings MT
190
39530
Great Falls MT
Estimate Not Released
43830
Missoula MT
110
41130
Southwestern Montana nonmetropolitan area
300
35500
Western Montana nonmetropolitan area
180
36180