A notary is certified by their state to be a legal witness on documents and they also verify their customer’s identity against legal documentation they provide. They document the services they provided to each customer as well so there is a record of the interaction.
How to Become a Notary
Step 1: Submit an Application
Make sure you meet the requirements to become a notary before submitting an application. Requirements do vary by state but at a basic level, most require you to have no criminal record and be of at least 18 years of age. Also, according to the National Notary Organization, some states require you to be a resident and able to read and write English. Once you discover you meet your state’s eligibility requirements, you’ll submit an application to become a notary. There is generally an application fee that is less than $100 to apply. You can find out your specific state’s requirements from NationalNotary.org (link opens in a new tab).
Step 2: Attend Notary Training
Some states require you to have formal education to become a notary and some require you to pass an exam. Other states expect you to get trained on your own and you may not need to show proof of attending a training course. Either way, you will need to learn the duties notaries provide so being properly trained is important. You can research courses that are offered online or in a live class. A good place to learn more information is to look up the webpage of your Secretary of State which often lists a state’s training requirements and offerings.
Step 3: Get Bonded and Insured
Your state may require you to carry a notary bond in the event you make a mistake on a customer’s documentation and they need appropriate compensation for the error. To protect the notary, some notaries may elect to carry a separate errors and omissions insurance policy should a customer seek a lawsuit against them.
Step 4: Help Customers
The entire process to become a notary can take you less than 10 weeks and then you can help customers. At this point, you can decide to work at a company as a notary or you can become self-employed and provide services on an as-needed basis. If you are self-employed, you may need to market your services to gain customers. States also mandate how much you can charge for your services. For instance, in Arizona a notary can charge a customer a cost range of $0 – $10 for their services, must post their rate where customers can see it, and once they choose the rate a notary in Arizona must charge this rate at all times to all customers. All states though have their own rules.
Job Description of a Notary
A notary minimizes fraud by authenticating important legal documentation. They witness customers sign documents, verify their identity, and stamp the final documentation with their own personal notary seal. This seal proves the notary witnessed and verified the appropriate documents. Finally, they document each interaction so there is a record that the service took place.
National Center for O*NET Development. 43-9199.00. O*NET OnLine. This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. RethinkOldSchool, Inc. has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.
National Notary Association (2018, April 12). What Arizona Notaries Need To Know About Their New Fee Rule.