How to Become a Notary Public: What is Required?

Brandi Glass
December 29, 20224 min read
Man signing papers

Becoming a notary public is an excellent way to improve your career prospects, whether you’re hoping for an exciting new job, a promotion or simply some freelance work to boost your income.

Making this job even more attractive, it takes very little time or investment to become a notary public. While requirements vary by state, you could become a licensed notary public within weeks, if not days.

Keep reading to discover how to become a notary public, as well as tips for leveraging it to achieve a job offer or promotion.

What Does a Notary Public Do?

A notary public is a witness to the signing of important documents. If you become a licensed notary public, you’ll be responsible for tasks such as:

  • Checking people’s identity
  • Confirming that the people signing the document are doing so of their own free will
  • Verifying that witnesses meet the legal requirements
  • Making sure that documentation and/or evidence is complete
  • Administering oaths and affirmations
  • Filling out a notary journal
  • Stamping and/or signing documents

Depending on the state, you may also be able to notarize electronically signed documentation. However, in most cases, the signing will need to take place in front of you.

As a licensed notary public, you are employed by the state government. Your role is to prevent fraud. As such, even if you are also employed by a company to notarize their documents, you have a duty to the state to ensure that processes are correctly followed.

Why Become a Notary Public?

There are many reasons to become a notary public. It’s an easy way to boost your income. The path to becoming licensed is also relatively quick, and the work tends to not be stressful.

However, it’s not just about your earnings. When you become a notary public, you take on a valuable role in society. You help people complete the necessary paperwork for administrative processes that often have a significant impact on their lives, such as buying a house, getting married, taking out a loan or achieving residency rights or citizenship.

How to Become a Notary Public

Unlike some professional certifications, you don’t need to obtain a degree or clock up hours of trainee experience to become a notary public. The process is much more simple. Here’s what you need to do:

State Requirements for Notary Publics

It’s important to check the requirements in your state. As a general rule, however, most states require you to be at least 18 before you can become a licensed notary public. In addition, you may have to:

  • Do notary public training (more on that to come!)
  • Sit an exam
  • Pass a background check
  • Purchase a surety bond that will protect the public if you make a mistake

You will also typically need to renew your notary public licensing every few years. Again, it’s important to confirm local requirements. Different states have different notary public license durations.

Notary Public Training

Some states require notary publics to take a short course and/or pass an exam in order to become licensed. These courses can typically be completed in a day and teach you essentials such as how to verify a person’s identity.

It’s important that you choose a course that is state-approved. The Secretary of State’s office can typically point you in the direction of appropriate courses.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Notary Public?

You can become a licensed notary public very quickly. In states where you have to take a course and/or an exam, there’s typically just a short wait until the next one is held. If you have to pass a background check, you will also need to wait for that to be completed. Other than these two things, however, becoming a notary public is as simple as filing your paperwork and waiting for the state to process it.

Is It Easy to Find Notary Public Jobs?

Notary publics are in high demand. Whether you work in a bank or advertise freelance services, you’ll soon discover that plenty of people need a notary public.

Your customers will include businesses as well as ordinary people who need documents notarized for everything from civil unions to visa applications.

While there’s lots of work for notary publics, finding work may require a bit of effort. This is especially true if you’re working freelance or taking on notary public work as a side job. You’ll need to effectively market your services, which may mean creating your own website in addition to being in the state’s database of registered notary publics.

On the other hand, if your goal is to work as an employee, you can find notary public roles via job boards or internal job progression. Banks, law firms, real estate agents and other financial institutions often need notary publics. If you’re already working in one of these industries, you can talk to your boss about whether being a notary public could lead to a promotion or pay rise.

Alternatively, keep an eye out for openings at these types of companies. Even if the job listing doesn’t mention notary public work, being licensed could give you an edge over other candidates.

Highlight Your Notary Public Licensing on Your Resume

Being a notary public can help you stand out from other applicants, but only if prospective employers are aware that you’re licensed. That’s why you need to highlight it on your resume.

Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you’re invited to an interview before bringing it to a recruiter’s attention. Instead, include it either in the Licenses or Skills sections of your resume. (Our handy a will help you work out which is best.)

Make sure that this information is easy to spot when scanning your resume, too. Recruiters spend fewer than eight seconds reviewing resumes before deciding whether or not to discard them. As such, your resume needs to be concise and attractively laid out, in addition to being customized for the role in question.

This might sound challenging, but writing an excellent resume doesn’t have to be hard work. Our notary public resume templates will help you get started. Each one is machine-readable so you can increase your chances of getting invited to interviews.

What’s more, our resume builder will walk you through adapting the templates to your background. It will recommend the ideal structure based on your professional experience, as well as recruiter-suggested phrasing to help you attract an employer’s eye.

With our tools, you can build an excellent resume in minutes. Get started now.