How To Become A Notary: A Step-By-Step Guide

April 6, 2024



Embarking on a career as a notary public offers a unique blend of public service, flexibility, and the potential for a rewarding professional path. Whether you’re drawn to the role’s integral position within the legal system or its entrepreneurial opportunities, becoming a notary can be a fulfilling pursuit. This step-by-step guide aims to navigate through the process, highlighting the essential steps, potential earnings, and the value of certifications and professional organizations.

What Is a Notary?

A notary public is an officially appointed individual who plays a crucial role in fraud prevention by witnessing the signing of documents and administering oaths. Notaries verify the identity of the signers, ensure documents are signed voluntarily, and that the signers are aware of the contents. This role is vital across numerous transactions, including estate planning, real estate, and various legal documents.

How To Become a Notary

1. Meet Your State’s Eligibility Requirements: Generally, applicants must be at least 18 years old, legal residents of the state from which they are applying, and not have any felony convictions. Some states have additional requirements.

2. Complete a Notary Education Course (if required): Many states require prospective notaries to complete an education course that covers the laws, roles, and responsibilities of a notary public.

3. Pass a State-administered Notary Exam (if required): Some states require passing an exam to demonstrate understanding of notarial laws and practices.

4. Submit a Notary Application: Apply through your state’s notary regulating office, typically by completing an application form and paying an application fee.

5. Pass a Background Check: Most states conduct a background check on notary applicants to ensure they have no disqualifying criminal history.

6. Purchase a Notary Bond (if required): Many states require notaries to buy a surety bond to protect the public from potential mistakes made during the notarization process.

7. Obtain Your Notary Supplies: This includes a notary seal (stamp or embosser) and a journal to record all notarial acts performed.

8. Take an Oath of Office: Some states require notaries to take an oath of office, affirming their commitment to fulfill their duties with integrity.

9. File Your Commission Certificate: Depending on the state, you may need to file your commission certificate with a local county clerk or another office.

Notary Salary and Job Outlook

The salary of a notary public varies widely based on location, the demand for notary services, and how the notary business is structured (e.g., mobile notary services vs. in-office). According to the National Notary Association, full-time notaries can earn a range from $25,000 to over $70,000 annually, with notary signing agents potentially earning in the higher end of this range. The job outlook for notaries is stable, with consistent demand across sectors such as real estate, legal services, and healthcare.

Notary Certifications

While not always required, obtaining additional certifications can enhance a notary’s qualifications and open up more opportunities, particularly in specialized fields such as loan signing for real estate. Certifications through reputable organizations can demonstrate a notary’s commitment to professionalism and adherence to best practices.

Professional Organizations for Notaries

Joining a professional organization offers numerous benefits, including access to continued education, networking opportunities, legal updates, and resources. Some notable organizations for notaries include:

  • National Notary Association (NNA): Offers comprehensive resources, training, and support for notaries.
  • American Society of Notaries: Provides education, advocacy, and support to notaries.
  • American Association of Notaries: Offers notary supplies, insurance, and free educational information.

Membership in these organizations can be invaluable for staying informed about the notary profession, networking with peers, and enhancing your services.


Becoming a notary public is a process that requires meeting state-specific requirements, obtaining the necessary education and tools, and committing to uphold the integrity of the notarial act. While the path to becoming a notary involves several steps, the role offers a unique opportunity to contribute to the legal process and engage in a variety of professional settings. With the right preparation and dedication, a career as a notary can be both rewarding and prosperous.