A notary, sometimes known as a notary public, is a public officer who is verified as being able to witness signatures on official documents, witness oaths, affidavits, and other important legal documentations.
This is referred to as a notarization.
In return for acting as a notary, a person will ask for a fee which is set by state law.
Education Requirements to Become a Notary
In each state, the requirements to become a notary are different.
To find out the exact requirements in your state, take a look at the National Notary Association, or NNAs, webpage.
They also provide a range of services and products for those who are looking to become a notary, or already are one.
Most states also have their own body which will provide information and advice for notaries.
For the most part, the requirements to become a notary will be that you are at least 18 years of age and state you legally reside within the state you are applying.
You will then either need to apply to the regulating body in your state, or the NNA, for the paperwork to register as a notary.
There is usually a filing fee which needs to be paid, as well as a bond which you will need to submit.
You may need an insurance broker to assist you with this task.
In some states, before you submit your application to become a notary you will also need to pass some state-set tests.
It’s a good idea at this point to educate yourself about the duties of a notary.
There are workshops held all over the country which will educate you in areas of law, ethics, and responsibly that is involved with being a notary public.
The courses are often help at community colleges.
Once you have gained permission from your state, you will need to take an oath in front of a notary public.
In most states, as a notary you will be required to have a notary seal.
Once you have made you oath, it’s a good time to order this.
They are available from the NNA.
At this point, you are ready to work as a notary.
As there are many people out there working as a notary, you will need to promote your services.
You might like to place ads in local papers, and have business cards printed up.
When you become a notary, you are providing an important service to the public.
A notary must be of good character and be trustworthy.
You may not become a notary if you are a convicted criminal.
Any unethical dealings or criminal charges will result in your qualification as notary being suspended.
Notary Job Description
A notary acts as a witness for the signing of official documents, such as property sales, wills and testaments, affidavits, and verbal testimony.
In a few states, they can also perform marriages.
Here are some of the duties of a notary:
- Witnessing signatures on official documents
- Performing marriages
- Witnessing verbal testimony
- Witnessing affidavits
In some states, a notary has a set appointment.
After a certain amount of time, you may need to reapply for your position as notary.
In others, once approved you are a notary for life.
Understanding the rules and regulations around becoming a notary are very important.
Ignoring them, or taking your responsibility lightly, could result in grave consequences.
Notary Salary and Career Path
Notaries may work in legal offices, accountants, within the court system, or amongst other professional service providers.
Many keep their own offices, work from home, or provide a mobile service.
Many have other jobs, which performing the duties of a notary public is a part of.
Almost all notaries are self-employed.
The fee they charge for their services is set by the state.
Your salary as a notary public will be determined by how many clients you see and the determined fee which has been set.
As a guide, the salary range for a notary public ranges from $38,000 to $60,000.
If you have an interest in the law and look forward to meeting with a range of people, then you might like to consider becoming a notary.
While there is a lot of competition out there, many enjoy the flexibility that this job provides.
A lot of people choose to become a notary due to the advantage it gives them in other roles in areas like law or banking.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a notary do?
A notary public is appointed by the secretary of state (in most of the cases) to be an impartial witness in a wide range of acts related to the signing of documents.
Notaries serve the public and follow a specific set of rules (they are ‘publicly commissioned’).
You can be either a common-law or a civil-law notary.
The latter are lawyers who can give the clients legal advice, while common-law notaries are not lawyers.
A notary can verify the authenticity of the documents and witness the signing of notarial acts to prevent fraud.
The main responsibilities of a notary include providing notice of foreign drafts; taking affidavits and statutory declarations; taking acknowledgments of deeds; protesting notes and bills of exchange; administering affirmations and oaths.
How much do notaries make?
The salary of a notary would depend on the location, the notary fee, and the overall number of signings the professional managed to complete.
The notary fee will vary depending on the state, it can be anywhere between around $2 and $15 per signature.
Typically, notaries can earn about $30.000-$60.000 per year.
Mobile notaries can charge a travel fee in addition to the actual signature fee.
Many notaries also offer other services (like tax preparation, insurance selling, and so on).
Bear in mind that the expenses can be great as those include insurance, journals, various forms, annual background checks, training, exams, etc.
How much does it cost to become a notary?
The cost of becoming a notary will vary depending on the state.
Before applying to become a notary, you would have to pay a small fee (anywhere from $18 to $51).
You might also need to pay an oath fee or a registration fee.
Usually, you would be required to have a stamp or a seal.
Depending on the size and a few other requirements, a stamp can cost between $18 and $40.
Some states require a notary to have a seal; this one will cost you $35-$100.
You would also need to be insured or bonded.
What is the demand for notaries?
Usually, banks have their own notaries and the demand for those is decreasing.
However, you can try to become a mobile notary.
Every single person would need the services of a notary at one point in his or her life.
In case you manage to create a special niche for your services or cover an area that lacks notaries, you will be in high demand.
How long does it take to become a notary?
There are some states where you would have to undergo a course to become a notary.
However, in most of the states, all you need to do is fill in an application form – as simple as that.
Notary classes can last from 3 to 6 hours.
You would also need to be over 18 years old, have a driving license, a surety bond in place, and, in some states, you would have to submit a background check.
All you would have to do next is get the necessary supplies and take your oath.
It can take you only a few weeks or months to become a notary.