How To Become a Notary Public In Three Easy Steps

Notary PublicBecoming a notary public is one of the easiest ways to have a career that can allow you to make a decent income. It requires very little time and money. But before the steps are explained it’s a good idea to know what a notary public does in order to decide if this is the right career path for you.

According to the National Notary Association (NNA), “A notary public is a public servant appointed by state government to witness the signing of important documents and administer oaths.”

The role of a notary public is very simple yet important. A notary public’s duties are essentially the same every time he is called to witness a signature. While this predictability is not for everyone, there are many advantages to being a notary public such as a flexible schedule and potential for a good income. Income will depend on the location and whether the notary works for the government, private entity or if he freelances. In countries where the notary is also serves as legal counsel, the income will be somewhat higher. Salary usually is $10 per signature in the US. Many notary publics run their own business literally out of their car. It’s quite easy to do this considering that a notary public only needs a notary seal, journal of notarial acts and thumb printer to conduct business. Many documents require a notary signature so there will always be a need for a notary public.

Many notary publics go on to become Certified Notary Signing Agents. These notaries witness the signatures on mortgage loan documents. This type of notary can make $50 to $200 per signing. Additional training and examination is required but it is generally very easy for a notary public to take the training and pass the exam.

 Training to Become a Notary

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The first step is notary training. In California, for example, the notary training must be taken through a state-approved education provider. This sounds more complicated than it is. It is a one-day seminar and it includes same-day notary exam. If that is not is not simple enough, then you can do your notary training online. You can study and learn at your own pace. If you decide to receive your training this way, you will need to contact www.cps.ca.gov to schedule you test date.

The second step is the notary examination. For example, in the State of California the requirements to take the notary examination are:

  •  Must be 18 years of age or older
  • Legal resident of the state of California
  •  Have no felony convictions

The third step involves notary supplies. Once the notary examination is passed, a notary public only needs California-required supplies such as notary seal, journal of notarial acts, color passport-style photo and thumb printer. A Notary bond from a licensed surety firm is also required. California requires a Notary Bond to protect the public from negligent mistakes or dishonest acts made by a Notary. This type of insurance is very inexpensive, running from $38 to $50 for several years.

Please note that these three steps are for US notary publics as many other countries may require that their notaries have legal training. If you reside out of the US, please check your region for specific information. If you are a notary public in the US you cannot give legal advice or prepare legal documents for clients. The exception to this is if you are a licensed attorney.

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From the Desk of Damen Choy.
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