Maryland Paralegal Career and Salary Guide
This paralegal career guide is designed to teach you how to become a paralegal in Maryland. Like most states, Maryland does not regulate the profession, nor does it have any certification requirements for prospective paralegals. On this page, you will discover information on paralegal salaries in Maryland, the job outlook in the state, and helpful resources to help you launch your career. Use the easy-to-navigate directory below to get started.
Table of Contents
- How to Become a Paralegal in Maryland
- Paralegal Certification
- Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
- Paralegal Resources
How to Become a Paralegal in Maryland
There are a few ways to get started in the paralegal field in Maryland because state regulations don’t specify one path. Most paralegals combine education (usually an associate’s degree or certificate) with internships and on-the-job training. After graduation, paralegals may work in a variety of legal settings including private firms, corporations, banks, and government agencies.
1. Earn a degree or certificate in paralegal studies.
Programs in paralegal studies are offered at many Maryland paralegal schools, including certificates, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees. The American Bar Association (ABA) has approved five of these programs, but many other in-state programs that are not ABA-approved offer coursework for aspiring paralegals.
2. Gain experience.
Work experience is a great way to get hired and to distinguish yourself early in your career. Some paralegals participate in internships during their degree programs and others work preparing documents or as legal secretaries, to get on-the-job training and a foot in the door with employers.
3. Seek certification, if desired.
Maryland does not have any legal, certification, or licensure requirements for paralegals, but voluntary certification programs may distinguish a paralegal in competitive hiring situations.
Paralegal Certification in Maryland
Maryland does not specify any education, training, or certification requirements for paralegals and legal assistants, provided they only work under the supervision of a qualified attorney. The absence of mandatory Maryland paralegal certification means that paralegals and legal assistants may still prepare for careers with on-the-job training. However, most employers favor candidates with some formal paralegal education.
Paralegal certification in Maryland is voluntary. While the state does not require it, prospective paralegals and legal assistants are encouraged to pursue national certification from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA, the Paralegal Association), American Alliance of Paralegals (AAPI), or the National Federation of Paralegal Associations (NFPA), which set the industry standard for professional excellence within the profession. Voluntary certification usually involves competency exams. Paralegals and legal assistants are also encouraged to join the Maryland Association of Paralegals (MAP) for information regarding paralegal education and paralegal jobs in Maryland. For more information on national associations and voluntary certification, take a look at our guide, Steps to Become a Paralegal.
Maryland Paralegal Career and Salary Outlook
Maryland’s paralegals work for a wide variety of employers and industries. You might find your niche with a corporation’s in-house counsel, a banking institution, or a government agency. Private law firms, though, are the largest source of paralegal positions nationwide. Venable LLP is one of Maryland’s leading law firms, specializing in a wide range of areas including corporate law, bankruptcy, creditor’s rights, and commercial litigation. Miles & Stockbridge PC is another leading law firm in the state that is known for its professionalism and innovative thinking. Because large law firms may practice many branches and specialties of law, paralegals provide crucial support. Smaller firms in Maryland may offer a more general introduction to paralegal work, which can be beneficial to paralegals new to the field.
Paralegals with their sights on the corporate world may choose from several Fortune 500 companies in Maryland, including Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Coventry Health Care, and Host Hotels & Resorts. The state’s many government agencies also employ paralegals, for those more driven to public service than business or traditional law firm positions. LinkedIn is a good research resource where you can search on geography (Maryland or city-level) for “paralegal” to find networking opportunities and also companies most associated with users identifying as paralegals; companies in Maryland with the most LinkedIn users as paralegals include:
- Office of the Public Defender Maryland
- Semmes, Bowen & Semmes
- Social Security Administration
- State of Maryland
- University of Maryland
- US Army
- US Department of Justice
For more information about paralegal careers, take a look at our careers page.
Maryland Paralegal Salary Information
Projected Job Growth
Paralegals in Maryland from 2018-20282
In May 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 6,790 paralegals and legal assistants working in the state of Maryland.3 Due to the push for efficiency and lower expenses, it is expected that paralegals will adopt a more substantial role within the legal sphere. This shift is expected to lead to more positions for paralegals and legal assistants. Projections Central predicts positive job growth of 12% for paralegals and legal assistants nationwide from 2018 to 2028, with Maryland nearly mirroring that at 11%.2
Paralegal salaries vary widely according to employer and industry, as well as with the experience of each paralegal. The average paralegal salary in Maryland was $56,710 in May 2020, on par with the national average of $56,610.3 The annual wage for paralegals can be expected to increase as more diverse and substantial tasks are allotted to support staff rather than to attorneys. Additionally, corporate positions for paralegals are expected to expand and should result in a higher average Maryland paralegal salary throughout the next decade. Prospective paralegals should also note that salaries tend to be higher in corporations and large firms, and in urban areas where employers must compete for the most talented and qualified applicants. Proximity to cities immediately outside Maryland (like Washington DC, Alexandria, VA, and Philadelphia, PA) is associated with higher salaries, though the cost of living may also be higher. Estimates are based on national data, not school-specific information; data accessed in November 2021.
Maryland Paralegal Salary by Metro Area
|Metro Area||Number Employed4||Average Annual Salary4|
Paralegal Associations in Maryland
These are volunteer organizations, typically with elected boards, that focus on professional development and networking for a specific geographical location and/or area of law.
- Maryland Association of Paralegals (MDPA): An affiliate of NFPA, offers opportunities for networking, continuing education, and scholarships for area paralegals.
- Maryland Courts: Functions as the main portal for Maryland courts, offering access to court news and publications, an employment portal, individual court pages, e-filing systems, and links to law libraries throught the state.
- Thurgood Marshall State Law Library: Contains a comprehensive collection of print titles focused on Maryland and Anglo-American law and an extensive digital collection.
- University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Thurgood Marshall Law Library: Allows legal professionals with a bar association card and government-issued identification access to the university law library’s 400,000 print volumes for legal research purposes.
- Paralegal411 Jobs Board: To search for Maryland paralegal jobs, visit our jobs board.
1. American Bar Association Directory of ABA Approved Paralegal Education Programs: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/paralegals/paralegal-resource-directory/
2. Projections Central Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Occupational Employment and Wages, Paralegals and Legal Assistants: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes232011.htm
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2020 Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm