The prospects for South Dakota’s paralegals are great for twofold reasons: a recent 14 percent increase in average salary and a 12 percent job growth projection.
The average salary for paralegals in South Dakota has gone up $5,580 in just the last five years to $44,560 in 2016. Those with a 90th-percentile salary earn $62,250 (US Department of Labor).
Paralegal job prospects are also great, reports the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation. Between 2014 and 2024 it estimates the number of paralegal jobs will increase by 12.1 percent. That’s a full 4.5 percentage points higher than the national average for paralegals, and is also a higher rate than most neighboring states’.
The industries that offer the highest average paralegal salaries are:
- Pharmaceuticals, especially agriculture and livestock pharmaceuticals in South Dakota
- Aerospace – In South Dakota these companies are primarily concentrated in the Sioux Falls and Rapid City areas
- Computer and electronic component manufacturing – These companies are primarily located in the state’s largest cities, including Yankton
Law firms and the government are the largest employers of paralegals throughout the state, including recognizable names like:
- Law firms – Janklow Abdallah Law Firm, Cutler Law Firm, and Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith in Sioux Falls
- Government – Minnehaha County Public Defender’s Office, South Dakota Attorney General’s Office, Pennington County State’s Attorney General’s Office
In 2016 the state was home to 350 paralegals in total; 130 in the rural east, 110 in Sioux Falls, 70 in Rapid City, and 40 in the rural west (US Department of Labor).
- The online Master of Legal Studies from American University equips students with fundamental legal training and industry-specific knowledge. Students attend online classes and an in-person immersion in Washington, D.C. Complete in as few as 15 months. No GRE or LSAT required.
- Fordham Law’s online master’s in corporate compliance. Bachelor’s degree required. Complete in as few as 20 months. GRE, GMAT, and LSAT scores not required to apply.
- The online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) degree from Washington University School of Law offers current and future paralegals an in-depth perspective of the U.S. legal system. GRE an LSAT scores are not required.
- The online Master of Legal Studies program from Pepperdine Law teaches professionals from a variety of fields the fundamental legal skills they need to better execute their law-related responsibilities. No GRE or LSAT scores are required to apply.
Paralegal Salaries in South Dakota
These statistics are reported in 2016 by the US Department of Labor:
- Average annual – $41,430
- Average hourly – $19.92
- Top-10th annual – $56,620
- Top-10th hourly – $27.22
- Average annual – $49,010
- Average hourly – $23.57
- Top-10th annual – $63,660
- Top-10th hourly – $30.60
Rural West South Dakota:
- Average annual – $45,640
- Average hourly – $21.94
- Top-10th annual – $63,670
- Top-10th hourly – $30.61
Rural East South Dakota:
- Average annual – $42,510
- Average hourly – $20.44
- Top-10th annual – $60,400
- Top-10th hourly – $29.04
Salary and employment data from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016.