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Tennessee Paralegal Salaries

We’ve got a reputation for country music and moonshine, but we should be known for our paralegal prospects: a 21 percent salary increase and 20 percent job growth.

Paralegals in Tennessee have experienced one of the highest rates of salary increase over the last five years of any state, reports the US Department of Labor. In 2011 the average statewide salary was $40,760. By 2016 that number had shot up to $49,500 – an increase of $8,740 or 21 percent. The top-10th percentile reached $75,410 that year.

It should therefore come as no surprise that the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports the job outlook for paralegals in our state shows a 20 percent growth rate over the decade leading up to 2024. That’s the sixth-best state growth projection in the nation, higher than any of our eight neighboring states, and more than double the national average.

One of the reasons why the paralegal salaries are so good here is because we have a paralegal shortage. Paralegals in Tennessee are retiring or moving away faster than new ones are being trained. This is a regional phenomenon with Tennessee at its epicenter.

Consider the following changes in the numbers or paralegals between 2011 and 2016 (US Department of Labor):

Nashville-Murfreesboro Metro: -10 paralegals (-0.6%)

  • 2011 – 1,590 paralegals
  • 2016 – 1,580 paralegals

Memphis, TN: -230 paralegals (-25.0%)

  • 2011 – 920 paralegals
  • 2016 – 690 paralegals

Louisville Metro, KY: -140 paralegals (-9.7%)

  • 2011 – 1,440 paralegals
  • 2016 – 1,300 paralegals

Kansas City Metro, MO-KS: +240 paralegals (+9.8%)

  • 2011 – 2,450 paralegals
  • 2016 – 2,690 paralegals

Little Rock Metro, AR: -270 paralegals (-33.8%)

  • 2011 – 800 paralegals
  • 2016 – 530 paralegals

Jackson, MS: -50 paralegals (-4.8%)

  • 2011 – 1,050 paralegals
  • 2016 – 1,000 paralegals

Birmingham Metro, AL: +190 paralegals (+15.6%)

  • 2011 – 1,220 paralegals
  • 2016 – 1,410 paralegals

Atlanta Metro, GA: +980 paralegals (+18.1%)

  • 2011 – 5,410 paralegals
  • 2016 – 6,390 paralegals

Charlotte Metro, NC-SC: +680 paralegals (+30.0%)

  • 2011 – 2,280 paralegals
  • 2016 – 2,960 paralegals

Raleigh Metro, NC: -610 paralegals (-30.0%)

  • 2011 – 2,030 paralegals
  • 2016 – 1,420 paralegals

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

Tennessee Paralegal Salaries

While wages and the number of jobs for paralegals are going up across the board in Tennessee, some regions still have much better average salaries than others. The Kingsport-Bristol area, Memphis, and Knoxville offer the highest average salaries, in that order.

The following statistics are sourced from the US Department of Labor, 2016:

Chattanooga:

  • Average annual – $39,550
  • Average hourly – $19.01
  • Top-10th annual – $63,660
  • Top-10th hourly – $30.61

Clarksville:

  • Average annual – $40,910
  • Average hourly – $19.67
  • Top-10th annual – $58,700
  • Top-10th hourly – $28.22

Jackson:

  • Average annual – $37,680
  • Average hourly – $18.12
  • Top-10th annual – $49,340
  • Top-10th hourly – $23.72

Johnson City:

  • Average annual – $40,420
  • Average hourly – $19.43
  • Top-10th annual – $58,710
  • Top-10th hourly – $28.23

Kingsport-Bristol:

  • Average annual – $51,420
  • Average hourly – $24.72
  • Top-10th annual – $92,330
  • Top-10th hourly – $44.39

Knoxville:

  • Average annual – $48,840
  • Average hourly – $23.48
  • Top-10th annual – $75,160
  • Top-10th hourly – $36.14

Memphis:

  • Average annual – $48,920
  • Average hourly – $23.52
  • Top-10th annual – $70,750
  • Top-10th hourly – $34.01

Rural West:

  • Average annual – $42,780
  • Average hourly – $20.57
  • Top-10th annual – $49,410
  • Top-10th hourly – $23.75

Rural South Central:

  • Average annual – $27,500
  • Average hourly – $13.22
  • Top-10th annual – $45,660
  • Top-10th hourly – $21.95

Rural North Central:

  • Average annual – $40,390
  • Average hourly – $19.42
  • Top-10th annual – $50,170
  • Top-10th hourly – $24.12

Rural East:

  • Average annual – $43,620
  • Average hourly – $20.97
  • Top-10th annual – $49,920
  • Top-10th hourly – $24.00

 

Area name
Employment
Annual mean wage
Chattanooga TN-GA
310
46210
Clarksville TN-KY
80
36720
Jackson TN
180
32410
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol TN-VA
140
45020
Knoxville TN
760
38820
Memphis TN-MS-AR
840
38390
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin TN
1200
42280
Western Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
180
29190
South Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
60
39090
North Central Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
160
30540
Eastern Tennessee nonmetropolitan area
130
34130

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