Where Can I Find My State’s Notary Exam Requirement?

Do I have to take a Notary Exam?

To become a Notary Public, you will likely have to take a notary exam, and you may be required to take continuing education courses. Keep in mind a notary exam or continuing education courses are not required in all states. To determine if your state requires applicants to complete an exam to become a Notary Public, reach out to your Secretary of State’s office.  

The exam will test your knowledge of the guidelines and procedures covered in your Notary Public Manual provided to you by the Secretary of the State’s office. Continuing education classes ensure you are up to date with any changes in the performance of your notarial duties.

How long does it take to get my Notary Certificate?

If your State requires classes, an exam, or other requirements, the time to obtain your notary certificate could be 7-9 weeks. Costs and hours of class time will vary by state. If your state requirements are minimal the process would be closer to 4 weeks. A few states do require training and classes in advance of completing an exam, such as California. How exams are administered and what training or courses are required vary by state. 

business man with glasses and silver watch analyzing a notary exam paper

What is the process to obtain a Notary Commission?

The Notary process varies by state because notaries are commissioned and regulated at the individual state level. All notaries should check with their Secretary of the State to fully understand what is required to obtain their notary commission. For those states that require training, they must be state-approved service providers. While few states require in-person training, it is encouraged to obtain educational support on your own. You can do this through a service provider or organization that teaches practical information to learn how to perform official duties, record notarial acts, or obtain a mentor. Local community colleges may offer notary education classes as well.

Can I take my Notary Exam online?

Check with your state laws to see if an online option is available — in most states, a third-party proctors exams, so they are done in person. You can get more information on exam schedules and find locations with proctors on your state’s website. Be prepared to bring payment and your identification. 

As with any exam, you want to pass on the first try, so you need to prepare. The most important first step is to have a study plan. If you plan appropriately, you will be prepared and increase your chances of passing the notary exam. A helpful tip is to understand the legal terms and definitions to help understand the complexity of the material.  

Take notes, highlight the problematic parts, and write down difficult terms. Once you complete this part, you should review it to reinforce what you learned. The best way to approach the exam is to take practice tests. You can find numerous tests online through Quizlet and the National Notary Association, which offers live webinars and online exam training.

man with blue sweater and white collared shirt sitting at a desk writing a notary exam

Notary exams are timed and have multiple questions. You won’t have the opportunity to go back and check your answers so make sure you double-check before proceeding to the next question. However, you have the chance to “pass” and come back to a question you are unsure of; this is an excellent strategy since time is limited.

Go through all of the questions you are sure of first, and then return to the more difficult ones. Once you complete the exam, you are given your result immediately.  

Once you have passed your exam, the next step in most states is to obtain a surety bond. This protects consumers if you make an error. You should consider purchasing what is known as E&O insurance, as this will protect you against claims relating to any mistakes you may have made. You can read more about E&O insurance here

Passing your notary exam and ensuring you have all the requirements to perform your notary duties opens the door to many opportunities as a Notary Public. Good luck!

Are you a notary and wondering if you should expand your business as a mobile notary? Checkout our article on 5 reasons to become a mobile notary.

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