In the state of South Carolina, a paralegal will bring home an average salary of $43,000. This amount is higher than the average salary across all professions in the state. Whether it is higher or lower than what you expected, keep this in mind—you will not necessarily make this exact amount yourself; it is only an average.
In fact, there are many people making amounts well above, and well below the figure presented here. If you want to find yourself in the higher income bracket (and who doesn’t?), then there are certainly some things you can do to improve your chances of getting there.
First and foremost, understand that education and salary are very closely tied together. In general, the more education you have, the more money you will make, both from the start of your career and throughout its entire run. So, if you currently have only an associate’s degree, then consider transferring your credits and earning a full-fledged bachelor’s degree.
If you have a bachelor’s degree, look into a master’s degree program or just take advantage of continuing education opportunities that come your way. Those with certificates may want to think about attending a degree program as well.
Another thing that can greatly impact your salary is your level of experience and how consistent your experience is. If you are someone who has bounced around, trying out one type of paralegal job and then another, chances are you are making far less than those who have stayed in the same position for years and years.
While one of the greatest strengths of this field is its flexibility, do your best to find the perfect position for you early on and then to stay there. Consistent experience goes a long way in helping you to earn more.
You also have to think about where you are working. Those who are employed in more rural areas of South Carolina tend to make a lot less money than those employed in urban areas. This is, of course, partially due to the fact that the cost of living is higher in bigger cities.
However, it also has to do with the simple fact that, in bigger cities, there is a greater demand for paralegals.
Because they are so greatly needed, their employers tend to pay them more and treat them better in general in an effort to get them to stick around. So, while you might not want to make a huge move, making that morning commute might not be such a bad idea after all.
You should also give some thought to the type of position that you are in, as paralegals practicing in some areas make more than others. Corporate paralegals, for example, tend to make more than those just working for one particular lawyer or in a traditional law setting.
You should never base your career decision solely on salary, but if you are interested in more than one area of paralegal practice, it might not be a bad idea to see which one tends to pay the most.
Finally, remember that you can always increase your salary by being promoted to a better position. This will happen naturally if you prove yourself to be a good, reliable worker.
A lot of people get so busy trying to increase their salary in other ways that they forget the most basic way of all—working hard and doing a good job. Always be on time for work, keep a smile on your face as you work, and go above and beyond what is asked of you.