I have been a legal assistant/paralegal since 1997. My original education and experience when I started was in real estate management, but when I moved to South Florida I discovered paralegals make pretty good moolah...so I decided to change professions. I have been a real estate paralegal for the same firm all that time. I started out making $29,000/yr without experience or a CLA. Now I am an independent contractor and make approximately $50/hr., but am working only a few hours since the demand for real estate paralegals is quite low right now (it's OK - I'm also busy raising 2 little boys so it's a win-win).
First, I will tell you that it is a difficult field to break into. Just going to school and getting your Certified Legal Assistant degree/certification is not going to get you a job...unless you have experience that you can relate back to your job, as I did with real estate. Also, the field of law you work in GREATLY affects your salary. The firm I work for mainly does Estate Planning and Probate work. That is generally a very low stress environment (dead people normally don't complain much, although occasionally their beneficiaries do) - so the money is on the low side...maybe $40 to $60,000/yr. with experience.
If you want to make big bucks and big bonuses/overtime, you would definitely need to work for a big firm that does some sort of litigation. This is high stress, long hours, aggressive attorneys (aka: mean bosses!) who expect you to also be very fast and meticulous in your work. But I know many who make over $100,000/yr or more.
It sounds like you have the personality. In addition, you should type really fast, and be anal retentive. Paralegals are usually busy actually drafting all the legal documents for the attorney so he/she can meet with client/go to court, so it is very important to be a detail-oriented perfectionist type. Additionally, you'd probably be in charge of keeping track of the docket for the attorney, so that's where being organized comes in handy.
I don't know your educational background, but if you have a bachelor's degree I wouldn't waste my time going to school to get a legal assistant degree. If you can manage to get your foot in the door somewhere and they like you, they will send you to school to get your CLA. You're going to get low pay without experience with our without the CLA, so don't waste your time and money getting it until you have some experience. I think a CLA would probably increase your salary by $5,000 or $10,000/yr IF you have experience to go with it. I've never bothered to get mine because I'm planning on retiring soon---plus, I can't imagine making much more than I do already.
I have greatly enjoyed my work, and I love the law firm I work for and the money I make. I wish you the best of luck, and if I can answer any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.