Steps to Become a NotaryOn December 29, 2020 by Brent Bates
Becoming a licensed notary can be a great addition to an existing career or a career all on its own. Many people might think only lawyers can become notaries because the job deals so heavily with legal documents, but this isn’t true. In most states, anyone who can pass the licensing exam can become a notary. Although the tests are open to anyone, it does take a certain level of legal understanding to pass these tests, so don’t underestimate how much you’ll need to learn. The laws and processes in every state are different, but overall the process tends to take a similar path.
The first thing you need to know about how to become a notary is that there will be a lot of studying involved. Most states have private companies or universities that offer courses specifically designed to help students pass the licensing exam. These can help you stay on track and memorize all the facts and processes you’ll need for the job. These classes are similar to college classes in that there will be assignments, participation, and lots of memorizing complex information. Knowing your stuff will make taking the test much easier, though!
As previously mentioned, the next step is to pass the state licensing exam. You can usually sign up for this through your state’s Secretary of State website. If you receive a passing grade, you’re then eligible to apply to become a notary in your state. This step will come with a fee, typically hovering around the $100 range, so be sure you’ve put a little aside to cover the costs of becoming licensed. Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll also need to pay to be fingerprinted and for a background check. These two things factor into your application.
When the state accepts your application, you’ll receive an official commission certificate proving you’re a licensed notary. After you receive your certificate, if you’re working independently or through your own business, you’ll need to secure a surety bond to back your business. This is basically liability insurance to protect your clients in case something goes wrong as a result of your notarization. Once your surety bond is set up, you can purchase your notary supplies, and you’ll be in business!
Becoming a notary varies from state to state, but overall the process is similar. Study the material you need to know, pass the licensing exam, secure a surety bond for your business, then enjoy being a notary!