Start your career now!

Get information from local schools

Matching

Notary Public - Learn About Salary and Requirements

how to become a notary public


There are so many reasons people decide to become, notary publics. There are plenty of job options where being a notary is a great fit, like law offices, banks, and title companies where they have notary publics on staff. Becoming a notary is an excellent way to be able to work from home. Also, notary publics enjoy a stable job because of no matter the economy, there is always a need for documents to be notarized.

WHAT IS A NOTARY?

Some official documents require an official person to witness signatures to prevent fraud. A notary public is selected by the state they reside or work in to serve as a third-party, impartial witness over the signing of important papers. Notaries also need to note whether or not those who are signing the document are doing so of their own free will or if they are under some sort of duress. Documents officiated by Notary Publics are usually having to do with estates, deeds, power of attorney, and other business-related papers.


WHAT DO THEY DO?

Ken Salazar quote-how to become a notary public article

There are over 4.4 million notary publics in the United States. Some of them become notaries because it’s part of their job requirements, while others become notary publics in the context of a resume enhancer. Others become notaries to start their own traveling notary business. The main job duty of a notary is to act as an official of their state and make sure documents are properly executed. However, each state has its own set of laws for notaries to follow.


HOW DO YOU BECOME ONE?

Not all states require notaries to have formal training, and each state has their own set of requirements. In fact, only 12 states in the US require any type of training for notaries and they are California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. The other states urge potential notary publics to find training on their own. You can check your local secretary of state office, they may offer training or they can refer you to somewhere you can get proper notary training.

To become a notary, you must be 18 years old, be a legal resident of your state, and have no criminal record. In some states, you must be completely fluent in English for both reading and writing. Some states, like California, have stricter policies for their notaries such as fingerprinting and carrying a passport type of identification.

There are quite a few training programs for notaries available, both online and brick and mortar locations. You can find more programs through your Secretary of State websites, as well as a quick search on your favorite search engine. Training courses last between three to six hours, and the cost varies from under $100-$200 total, depending on the provider.

  • One important online source is The National Notary Association. The NNA allows you to pick your state from a drop-down bar and apply to take the course or renew your license. It also gives you a complete checklist of necessities that comply with your state’s requirements for their notary publics.
  • The American Society of Notaries has been around since 1965 and has helped train many Notary Publics through their resources. The ASN offers training programs in California, Florida, Missouri, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. They offer both web-based and in-person courses.

Becoming a notary can take a couple of weeks or up to six months, depending on the state you’re applying to be a notary in.


WHAT IS THE EXACT PROCESS?

Here is a step-by-step process to becoming a notary public:

  • Meet all your states requirements
  • Fill out and send in your application
  • If your state requires it; get your notary training from an applicable institution. Check with your SOS office to find out more
  • If applicable to your state, take and pass the exam
  • Fingerprint and background checks may be required in some states
  • Get your commission certificate from your state
  • You may need a surety bond; some states require their notaries to be bonded
  • Fill all the necessary paperwork with your state’s Notary regulating official which may be your Secretary of State or county recorder.
  • Get your state-required tools such as your official notary seal, certificate, guidebook, journal, and any other tool expected from your residing state
  • An option that is STRONGLY recommended is to get errors and omissions insurance
  • Begin performing your notarizing!


WHAT KIND OF LICENSE OR CERTIFICATION DOES A NOTARY PUBLIC NEED?

Most of the United States does not have a certification requirement when it comes to Notary Public. However, 12 states do. If you live or plan on working in California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, or Utah, you’ll need to sit for, and pass, an exam that will allow you to perform Notary Public duties. If you have to sit for a Notary exam, expect it to take approximately one hour to complete. It may include fingerprinting upon the exams completion.

Once you are a notary, you are able to perform notary duties throughout your state. Few states have jurisdiction rules stating boundaries of where you’ll legally be able to notarize. Mostly, you just aren’t able to cross state borders when it comes to notarizing legally. Also, your duties as a notary extend to anyone who solicits you with a legal request for notarization.

In most states, Notary terms last approximately four years before you’ll need to renew your standing.

STATE LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

Qualifications

  • Vary from county to county
  • Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website


Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state and be physically present within the state for at least 30 days
  • legally reside in the United States
  • not have been convicted of a felony or incarcerated within 10 years from the date applying
  • not have had a notary commission revoked due to failure to obey the law or failure to maintain residency within 10 years from the date applying.
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Arizona
  • be a citizen or legal permanent resident of the United States
  • not have been convicted of a felony unless civil rights have been restored
  • be able to read and write the English language.
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website


Qualifications
  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a legal resident of Arkansas or resident of an adjoining state that is regularly employed in Arkansas
  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien
  • not have been convicted of a felony
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • review Arkansas notary law and understand the duties
  • Ink or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 10 year term

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a legal resident of California
  • complete a state-approved education course and pass the written exam
  • clear a background check, by the FBI and the California Department of Justice and submit fingerprints
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Colorado
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • not have been convicted of a misdemeanor involving dishonesty within 5 years of the date applying
  • never have been convicted of a felony
  • never have had a notary commission revoked
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Reside legally in Connecticut or conduct business on a regular basis

Term in Office

  • 5 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Delaware or be regularly employed in the State of Delaware
  • have a reasonable need for a notary commission
  • be of good character and reputation
  • have had their civil rights restored in convicted of a felony and not have been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude.
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • New commission - 2 year term
  • Renewing commission - 2 or 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the District of Columbia or be employed in the District of Columbia
  • Good moral character
  • Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 5 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a legal resident of Florida
  • have had civil rights restored, if convicted of a felony.
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a U.S. citizen or legal resident of the U.S.
  • be a resident of the state of Georgia and county in which he/she is applying;
  • have and provide a working telephone number
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Hawaii
  • be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or permanent resident alien authorized to work in the U.S.
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications
  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Idaho or employed in the state of Idaho
  • not have had a notary commission revoked for misconduct or have been convicted of a serious crime within 10 years of the date applying
  • be able to read and write the English language.
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term in Office

  • 6 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Illinois for at least 30 days or a resident of a bordering state that has been employed in Illinois for at least 30 days
  • be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • not have had a notary commission suspended or revoked within 10 years from the date applying.
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term in Office

  • 4 years resident
  • 1 year non resident

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a legal resident of Indiana
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 8 year term

State Notary Website



Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Iowa or a resident of a bordering state that is regularly employed in the state of Iowa
  • not have been disqualified from voting due to the conviction of a felony or have been adjudged mentally incompetent.
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 3 year term Iowa resident
  • 1 year term non resident

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a resident of the state of Kansas or a resident of a bordering state and regularly employed in the state of Kansas
  • not have been convicted of a felony or have had a professional license revoked.
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Kentucky who lives or is employed within the county
  • be a non-resident of the state of Kentucky that is employed in the county where applying (for a Special commission)
  • be of good moral character
  • be capable of discharging the duties of a notary public

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident citizen or alien lawfully residing in the state
  • Have received a high school diploma, has received a diploma for completion of a home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or has been issued a high school equivalency diploma after successfully completing the test of General Educational Development
  • be able to read and write the English language;
  • not be under interdiction or incapable of serving as a notary because of mental infirmity
  • not have been convicted of a felony, or if convicted of a felony, has been pardoned
  • meet the requirements established by law for each commission sought.

Term in Office

  • Lifetime commission

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Maine or a resident of a bordering state and is regularly employed in the state of Maine
  • demonstrate a proficiency in the English language
  • not have had a notary commission revoked for official misconduct in the state of Maine or any other state within 5 years from the date applying
  • not have been convicted of a crime

Term in Office

  • 7 year term for Maine residents

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Maryland or be regularly employed in the State of Maryland
  • be of good character
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website



Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • reside legally in Massachusetts or conduct business on a regular basis in Massachusetts
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 7 year term

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Michigan
  • be a resident within the county applying or for non-residents show proof of employment within the county applying
  • be a U.S. citizen or possess proof of legal residency
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • not have been convicted of two or more misdemeanors violating the Michigan Notary Public Act
  • not have been convicted of a felony within 10 years from the date applying
  • not be currently imprisoned in any state, county or federal correction facility.

Term in Office

  • Not less than 6 years and no more than 7 years

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of the state of Minnesota or a resident of Iowa, Wisconsin, North Dakota or South Dakota
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term in Office

  • 5 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Mississippi for at least 30 days from the date applying
  • be a citizen or permanent legal resident of of the United States
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • not have been convicted of a felony (unless pardoned), not be incarcerated, on probation or parole
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be registered voter in the county in which applying or be a permanent resident alien of the United States
  • apply in the county in which the applicant legally resides
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • not have had a notary commission revoked within 10 years from the date applying
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Montana for at least 30 days prior to applying
  • not be a convicted felon
  • not have had a notary commission revoked in the State of Montana or any other state
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term in Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 19 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Nebraska
  • be a resident of a bordering state, with evidence of employment or a regular place of work or business in Nebraska
  • not have been convicted of a felony or a crime involving fraud or dishonesty within the previous five years
  • be able to read and write English
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Nevada or a resident of a bordering state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Utah or Oregon) and be regularly employed in the state of Nevada
  • be a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted permanent resident alien
  • have his/her civil rights restored if a convicted felon
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of New Hampshire
  • have two endorsements by New Hampshire notaries and one endorsement by a registered voter
  • complete a State Police Records Check Form
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 5 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of New Jersey or a resident of an adjoining state who is regularly employed in the state of New Jersey
  • not have been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty, or a crime of the first or second degree

Term of Office

  • 5 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of New Mexico
  • not have had a notary commission revoked within 5 years of the date applying;
  • not have pled guilty or nolo contendere or have been convicted of a felony
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a person of good moral character
  • be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien
  • be a resident of New York or be regularly employed in the state
  • have an equivalent of a common school education
  • not have been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanors

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be able to speak, read and write the English language
  • be a resident of North Carolina or be regularly employed in the State of North Carolina
  • reside legally in the United States
  • possess a high school diploma or the equivalent
  • purchase and have possession of the most recent state-approved North Carolina Notary Manual.
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 5 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  • be a resident of the state of North Dakota or a resident of a state and county that borders North Dakota that extends reciprocity to notaries in North Dakota
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 6 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Ohio
  • be a resident of another state who is an attorney admitted to practice law
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 5 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a citizen of the United States
  • be a legal resident of the state of Oklahoma or be regularly employed in the state of Oklahoma
  • not have been convicted of a felony
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Oregon or a resident of a bordering state that is regularly employed in the State of Oregon
  • be of good moral character
  • not have had a notary commission revoked for misconduct within 5 years of the date applying
  • not have been convicted of a felony or lesser charge incompatible with the duties of a notary public within 10 years of the date applying
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Pennsylvania or be regularly employed in the Commonwealth (must have a physical work address in Pennsylvania, not a P.O. Box)
  • not have been convicted of or have pled guilty or nolo contendere to a felony within 5 years of the date applying
  • not have had a notary commission revoked in Pennsylvania or any other state within 5 years of the date applying
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be a registered voter
  • an attorney who is registered with the Rhode Island Bar
  • a certified public accountant

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

  • be a United States citizen
  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of South Carolina
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • be a registered voter in the state declaring a county and precinct
  • not be under a court order declaring mental incompetence; not serving a term of imprisonment resulting from a conviction of a crime
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 10 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be a resident of the state of South Dakota or a resident of a county in a bordering state and is regularly employed in South Dakota
  • not have been convicted of a felony
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 6 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Tennessee or have regular employment within the state
  • be a U.S. citizen or a legal permanent resident alien
  • Round Ink Stamp Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a legal resident of Texas
  • not have been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Utah for at least 30 days from the date applying or have permanent resident status under Section 245 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • be able to read, write and speak the English language
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state or a non-resident that is regularly employed in Vermont who resides in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, or New York

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a legal resident of the U.S.
  • not have been convicted of a felony
  • be able to read and write the English language.
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of Washington or a resident of Oregon or Idaho and be regularly employed in Washington
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of West Virginia or of another state and is regularly employed within the state of West Virginia
  • be a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • have a high school diploma or its equivalent
  • Ink Stamp Required

Term of Office

  • 5 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • have at least an equivalent of an eighth-grade education
  • be a resident of the United States
  • not have an arrest or conviction record
  • be familiar with the duties of a notary public
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

Qualifications

  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a resident of the state of Wyoming and in the county in which the applicant is applying
  • be able to read and write the English language
  • Ink Stamp or Embossing Seal Required

Term of Office

  • 4 year term

State Notary Website

What Makes the Notarization Legal and Binding?

Signing a document in front of an official notary sounds like it is a no-brainer. But, that isn’t the case. In fact, there are many steps that must be taken, by both the notary public and their client, to ensure the document is truly legal and binding.

  • The signer must be standing in front of the notary public.
  • Either the notary personally knows the signer or there is enough evidence produced to prove identification.
  • The document signed by the notary must be in its original form. Copies of any type are not permitted as legal documents.
  • The complete document is presented, in its entirety, before the notary. If any pages are missing, the document is not permissible.
  • Dates on the document must be the same as, or before, the date of notarization. Post-dated documents are invalid.
  • The language of the document must be notarial and show keywords such as ‘sworn’, ‘acknowledged’, or ‘affirmed’. These words prove, without a doubt, which act was required of the notary public.
  • The notary public has deemed the signer to be there on his or her own free will, and no act of coercion has been met.
  • The notary journal must be properly filled out. In some states, the journal is a requirement. But, in the states where isn’t, it is recommended that notaries keep their own journal to protect themselves and their customers.
  • There is a proper verbal ‘ceremony’ which has been completed. This is the part of the notarization that may be the most important because, once the documents have been signed and witnessed, the verbal affirmation that the client understood what was just done, along with the fact is was a willing act, makes it known as the absolute truth.
  • A notarial certificate, which records and states the events, is presented. Without a notarial certificate, the legitimacy of the notarization can be legally challenged.


HOW MUCH CAN THEY CHARGE?

Most states put a cap on what notary publics can charge for their service. Typically, notaries can charge between $2-$10 per page or $5-$10 for the notarial act. Notaries usually charge the highest fee allowed per their state. Notary publics can also charge a travel fee if they have to go to meet a client. Normally, these travel fees run between $50-$75 plus the additional cost of the actual notarizing.

Some places, such as local libraries and credit unions offer free or discounted notary services. Also, some states are beginning to provide electronic notarizations, such as Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Utah, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. However, there aren’t regulations on the prices for electronic notarizations so they can vary wildly.


SALARY

Indeed.com states that the average notary public’s salary is $27,000 annually. Many people become notary publics as a side job to supplement their income. Many notaries state that they don’t make much money as an actual notary, they became one as part of their job requirement. Notaries work in legal offices, mortgage companies, banks, title companies, and that’s where they make their main salary. Notarizing is an additional service they are able to offer.


HOW DO I MAKE EXTRA MONEY?

ronald reagan quote on notary public article

As a notary, you can make extra money using your notary services through a variety of different means. Even though many notaries swear that it’s nearly impossible to make a living notarizing, others have turned it into a lucrative business. It’s all in your approach and desire.

Tips for making a living as a notary public:

  • Shout it from the rooftops that you’re a notary. Use social media. Write a blog. Send out postcards. Do everything you can to announce your new notary business.
  • Have promotional materials made beforehand. Pens with your name and number on them. Magnets. Rubber bracelets. T-shirts. You know, things people wear or use that will a) be a constant reminder to the person wearing or using and b) will also inform others around that person of your service.
  • Network the heck out of it. There are so many networking events, you can make a career out of attending those things. Network After Work is one. Join your Chamber of Commerce, those are great networking resources, as well.
  • Join local notary organizations.
  • Attend conferences such as the National Notary Association Conference.
  • Wrap your car with your business logo and contact information. You’ll be a driving billboard for your own business at a relatively lower cost than traditional advertising on, say, an actual billboard.