What is a Notary Public?
A notary public is someone who witnesses the signing of important documents, checks a person’s identification, “feels the vibes” of the room (to ensure someone isn’t being forced to sign against their will), then seals the document. They also ensure that both parties understand what they are signing.
Most people who are notary publics have become certified due to their employment position. Many agencies require someone among the staff to have the authorization to notarize. Others choose to become notaries to work as a contractor. They often attend mortgage signings, help sign trust documents, and anything else that comes their way.
Requirements for Becoming a Notary Public
The requirements for being a notary public are likely to vary from state to state. To find out exactly what is needed for your particular state, visit the National Notary Association. There are a few things that seem to overlap, including:
How Much Do Notary Publics Earn?
Notary fees will range from state to state and for the actual job you are doing. Many earn the equivalent of $13-20 per hour or between $5-$125 per signature depending on the type of documents.
The Process of Becoming a Notary Public
Once you have met the qualifications laid down by your state, you will need to do the following:
Download an application from your secretary of state’s office or website, then complete and submit it. You will need to pay a filing fee.
If needed (see states that require training below), complete the training to become a notary public as is laid out by your state.
If needed (see stated that require testing below), pass an exam.
Complete a background check and be fingerprinted
Once you have completed the first four steps, you will need to wait until your state sends you a commission certificate. When you have received it, do the following:
Obtain a surety bond.
Submit your commission paperwork and bond to the regulating official over notaries.
Gather your supplies.
States that Require Notary Public Training
While the following states do require training to become a notary public, the courses are relatively inexpensive and only last for a few hours. In fact, many people still take the classes even if their state doesn’t require them just for better clarity on the tasks before them. These are the states that require notary public training:
- North Carolina
States that Require Notary Public Testing
The tests to become a notary public generally last for about an hour. If you live in one of the following 12 states, you will be required to take a notary public exam:
- New York
- North Carolina
There are a couple of states where it may be required depending on your job or region. In Ohio, whether or not you take an exam will be up to your local judge. Additionally, if you live in Wyoming, you may be asked to take a test at home.
What Items are Needed to be a Notary Public
There are a few items that you will need when you become a notary public. You should carry most of these with you when you go meet a client to do your job. You will need the following:
Difficulties of Being a Notary Public
There will occasionally be times where you don’t get a lot of work. Occasionally, it can seem as though you have a lot of commissioned work, whereas you may go weeks without a single client. For this reason, it is important to see being a notary republic as a side-gig, at least until you gather enough clients.
If you are strictly looking for “at home” work, this may not be the job for you. While you will be able to manage a lot of the business from home, you will often have to travel to complete the actual job.
There is the potential for you to come under scrutiny or legal issues if you make a mistake. You should be bonded and insured in case this happens.