How do I Earn Notary Public Certification?

K. Testa

There are several different ways to earn notary public certification, depending on one’s location. In the U.S., certification procedures usually vary from state to state. Therefore, someone hoping to become a notary public should consult the particular requirements where he or she lives. Most states have information on their government websites concerning certification and the training obligations, if any, for becoming a notary public. After completing any necessary courses and passing an exam, an individual usually can submit an application for certification, along with the fees to cover his or her official commission and notary public seal.

There are several ways to earn a notary public certification.
There are several ways to earn a notary public certification.

For people interested in notary public certification, there are several educational options available to help them prepare for the necessary exams. They also may or may not be required to take formal notary public classes. In some cases, all that is required for certification is to pass an exam. Therefore, someone might choose to prepare for the exam by completing a self-study course on his or her own time. Other people might opt to enroll in a class, either online or in person at a traditional learning institution. Different programs generally offer varying lengths of training. Many courses last only a few hours or a full day, with the exam given upon completion of the course.

A notary public certifies documents and witnesses signatures.
A notary public certifies documents and witnesses signatures.

There are even a few states that do not normally require exams for notary public certification. In these places, an applicant can simply submit a form, pay a certification fee, and purchase his or her notary stamp. Most states require that the applicant be 18 years of age or older. They also typically stipulate that the person be a resident of the state, or have his or her primary place of business located there. To determine the exact guidelines for certification, one can usually request a notary public handbook from the state.

The National Notary Association can be another helpful resource for information on notary public certification. It usually provides state-specific information and serves as a membership organization for notaries. In addition, some online companies claim that they can provide complete preparation for someone to become certified as a notary public. Their products often include live seminars or self-paced courses, practice exams, and study guides. Some also provide business support to notaries after they have become certified. Some examples include listing the notaries in a nationwide directory or helping people to set up and host professional webpages.

A person may be required to take formal notary public classes in order to earn notary public certification.
A person may be required to take formal notary public classes in order to earn notary public certification.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


@allenJo - It must be fairly easy work because where we live I see notary public signs and services everywhere. They’re in the credit union, the bank, the post office, the tag agency – you name it.

However, I would feel more comfortable if a state insisted on at least some course work. Granted, watching someone write his signature is not exactly rocket science, but applicants need to have an understanding of the legal implications of what they’re doing, and how such signed documents hold up in courts of law.

It might be very basic instruction, but I don’t think that you should assume people know even basic stuff about these matters.


There’s a lady at my workplace who is a notary public. I asked her how she got that certification, and it was much easier than I thought.

In our state you have to fill out an application, submit a fee and also purchase something called a surety bond from the insurance company. It’s supposed to be a minimum $1,000 bond.

You don’t pay the $1,000 - that’s what the insurance is covering. You may pay anywhere from $70 - $150 depending upon the amount of the insurance you’re buying. I think the insurance is supposed to cover you in case you make mistakes, and the varying bond amounts indicate the number of errors covered.

You also have to obtain a seal from the state too. I was really surprised at how easy (at least in our state) it is to become a notary public. For many people, it can be a neat way to earn a little extra cash on the side.

Post your comments
Forgot password?