top of page

Career As A Notary



Who is a notary?

A notary public of the common law is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and international business.

What does a notary do?

The primary role of a Notary Public is to act as an impartial witness while discharging fraud deterrent activities related to legal documents. Such an act is usually referred to as notarization.

A Notary Public is a person designated by the Provincial Government or the pertinent regulatory body who is in charge of administering oaths, authenticating legal documents, contracts, and copies, and taking affidavits and declarations on legal matters.

Types of Notary:

Copy certification is used to help verify that any copy of an official government document is, in fact, just that—a real copy. The most common types of materials that require copies are items that generally come with a seal on the original document.

Everything from drivers’ licenses, marriage licenses, diplomas, social security cards, leases, medical records, vehicle titles, etc. The document custodian must present the official document to the notary who then makes a photocopy and places their notary stamp upon it certifying that it is a real copy.

This service of copy certification seems like an everyday occurrence many would benefit from; however, only half of the States allow such a notarization.

Signature Witnessing

This part of the process is the most common type of notarization. This type of notary is where the document custodian will present the notary with documents and a photo id before signing.

Once the notary has verified that the person presenting the documents is who they say they are, they then witness said person placing their signature on the record. This document will then require that the notary put their notary stamps, name, and date on the document as well.

Other types of notary may require an oath recited before signature; however, when it comes to signature witnessing, this is not the case.

Oaths/Affirmations

Slightly different from signature witnessing oaths and affirmations are used in a situation where the document custodian is legally stating that their intentions are true and honorable.

The most common type of situation that would require this type of notary is a wedding.

Jurats

Very similar to signature witnessing, oaths, and affirmations, Jurats combine all of the above at the time of signature. The document custodian presents the documents and identification, and once verified by the notary; they must then swear an oath that the information in the papers is accurate to the best of their knowledge.

Should, for whatever reason, the documents be found to contain false information or the signature is a forgery, the document custodian can find themselves in a courtroom under penalty of law.

What is the workplace of a notary like?

  • Real Estate Agencies - Many real estate agencies need a notary for deeds and titles.

  • Banks - A lot of banks offer notary services to their customers.

  • Lending Institutions - Some lending institutions hire notaries

Skills

Based on our collection of resumes in the field, essential qualifications are good communication and interpersonal skills, attention to details, computer competences, integrity, and knowledge of identification documents features. Formal education is usually required to become a Notary Public.

Many of the skills required of notaries are similar to those of legal secretaries, which is why many perform both jobs. The same can be said of bankers and loan officers. Notaries must be comfortable with procedures, state laws, paperwork, and the red tape associated with bureaucracy and government processes.


Verification: Notaries must verify everything in front of them before notarizing signatures. This includes checking identification and making sure that both parties understand what they are signing.

Compliance: Most regulations for notaries are applied at the state level. That means that notary laws vary from state to state. It is important that notaries not “cut corners.” It is the notary’s responsibility both to uphold the integrity of the signature process as well as to inform the parties involved who may be unaware of state laws pertaining to the signing of the document.

Record-Keeping: Notaries must keep journals. By recording names, times, locations, and more, this ensures that all signing parties will be held accountable to their agreement. Failure to record relevant details may render signatures null and void.

Familiarity with Legal Documents: Evidentiary documents, loan documents, passports, affidavits, and more fall under a notary’s realm of responsibility. While it is not necessary that you know how to compose or dissect all parts of legal documents, you must be able to identify what people are signing and what notary responsibilities apply to any given situation.

Flexibility: While not every notary has to travel, many notaries are mobile for the sake of their customers. Often, formal agreements must be signed in a quick time frame and at inconvenient times and places. You need to be prepared to work with a customer’s schedule and location, while bringing all the necessary tools required of a notary.

Abilities

1. Affidavits

Here's how Affidavits is used in Notary Public jobs:

Confirm all documents/affidavits/pleadings have been executed and notarized properly based on state guidelines.

Signed official documents such as affidavits and quitclaim deeds.-Retained confidential public information securely.

Certify the proper execution of several credentials including affidavits and legal documents.

Witness and authenticate signatures, administer oaths, verify signatures and take affidavits

2. Customer Service

Here's how Customer Service is used in Notary Public jobs:

Presented excellent customer service and received 100% customer satisfaction from mystery shoppers.

Worked independently, and maintained a very professional level of customer service.

Assisted customer service representatives with overflow of work.

Maintained superior customer service to assure repeat business.

3. Notary Services

Here's how Notary Services is used in Notary Public jobs:

Provide notary services for individuals and businesses upon request.

Travel to homes or businesses to assist clients with real estate document package signings and provide Notary services.

Provided mobile notary services for the Attorney and/or clients when requested.

Provide mobile notary services in the state of South Carolina.

4. Real Estate

Here's how Real Estate is used in Notary Public jobs:

Witness an average of 100 signings per year Notarize legal documents for Real Estate transactions Notarize translated documents for immigration cases

Coordinate closing real estate loans or any other type of documents, including general notary work.

Perform real estate closings for mortgage companies and banks around the USA;4.

Experience in passing real estate transactions, including purchases, refinances and construction loans.


Personality

As a notary, customer service is key to acquiring repeat business, and that starts with being able to easily connect with others. Be confident, relaxed, and show off your authentic self (even if that means you're a bit goofy or nerdy at times). Show kindness and sympathy to your clients, and never shy away from humor.

1. Natural Leader

Great notaries command their role by educating and supporting their customers through the signing process. They understand that signers are looking to them for guidance and expertise. And they also understand that almost all clients appreciate the comfort of a little “hand holding”. The best way to accomplish this is to be extremely familiar with your client’s documents and the overall signing process. This allows you to answer any questions that may arise. Knowledge provides so much trust and comfort in these situations

2. Professionalism

This includes everything from your attitude to how you carry yourself. Clients will remember how you were dressed, as well as how you conducted yourself before, during, and after the meeting. Were you on time? Did you look collected and presentable? Did you take care of any necessary follow-up? For first time clients, these small details are even more important and will make or break your first impression.

3. Attention to Detail

The documents that need to be signed are often lengthy and contain many required signatures., As a notary, it’s your job to not only check the documents thoroughly before a signing session, but to check again at the end of each session too (and again and again). If you are someone who naturally enjoys (or has the skill set for) paying attention to details, identifying small errors, and double (triple) checking work – then being a notary might be right up your alley!

4. Willingness to Learn

Proper training is everything, and when you aren’t properly trained, you open yourself up to unnecessary risks. It is important that you not only possess a willingness to learn, but also a willingness to say “no” when you are not properly trained to do something. Verifying that you have the proper skill set and education, and acquiring the required knowledge when you do not, will help you provide the best quality of service to your clients.

5. Keep Your Cool Under Pressure

Uncomfortable situations are unavoidable at times, so it is important that you remain calm, collected, and professional regardless of the circumstances. Don’t let anyone get under your skin. Learning to keep negative reactions from rising to the surface while dealing with the situations one step at a time will service you very well. Adopting a resolve to not take things personal and possessing the maturity to put yourself in someone else’s position, is an excellent skill to master. Most importantly, learn the techniques that work best for you to stay calm. These can vary from person to person so finds what works best for you (breathing, visualization, friendly reminders, etc.).

6. Strong Communicator

Sometimes you have more than one “customer” as a notary. For example, in home buying; you could encounter the buyer, seller, realtor, and lender, all with different needs.

It is important that you communicate well with everyone involved. Be sensitive to your customer and quick to determine the best way to communicate and create clarity in a way that resonates with them.

7. Honesty

Occasionally errors will occur. It’s a natural part of any job, but how you react can make or break your reputation as a notary. Great notaries are upfront about mistakes and communicate with everyone who is impacted by the error.

It is important to fix errors as soon as possible, and hopefully with little or no impact to the client. Regardless, it’s best to be honest about the situation, even if it temporarily places you in a bad light. Being transparent can actually build more trust with the client as you have demonstrated that you notice errors quickly and rectify them as quickly as possible – ultimately saving them time, money, and frustration. It’s hard to fault someone for being honest, upfront, and admitting their mistake.

8. Being Human

As a notary, customer service is key to acquiring repeat business, and that starts with being able to easily connect with others. Be confident, relaxed, and show off your authentic self (even if that means you’re a bit goofy or nerdy at times). Show kindness and sympathy to your clients, and never shy away from humor. Your business involves serving other humans – so it’s okay to act like one too!

Work Environment

For notaries that work primarily in a traditional office role, their work environment is the same as in a conventional office space. However, if you are a self-employed notary (full-time or part-time), then you have more opportunities to be mobile. This means that you will need to be able to provide notary services in your own office (or at home, if you wish) or travel to your customers for a scheduled signing. Mobile notaries are allowed to charge for mileage.

Work Schedule

Depending on whether you work as your own boss or for a company at which notarizing is one of your many duties, your schedule could be flexible or it could be a typical 9-to-5 office job. Mobile notaries are often required to work odd hours, including evenings and weekends, in order to accommodate their clients.

Education

Education, Training, & Certification

Qualifying as a notary can be as simple as passing a background check. However, in some states, you will need to pass an exam to become a notary. Because every state varies in its requirements for notaries, you must check with your state of residence to see what is required. Whether you want to become self-employed or add notarization to your resume, qualifying is typically a fast, straightforward, and low-cost process.

Education: Every state in the U.S. has different standards by which you can become a notary. However, all states require that you be a legal resident of that state, at least 18 years old, and without a criminal record.

Certification: There is no official certification for notaries. Most states require you to complete an application (with a fee of about $100) and receive a background check. If a notary wishes to qualify for extended duties as a notary signing agent, there may be additional fees and background checks to obtain certification.4

Training: While not every state requires notary training, it is always a good idea. Most notary courses can be completed online. Visit your local community college’s website or the National Notary Association website for more information.

Salary

Becoming a notary can be a rewarding job if you enjoy handling legal documents and guiding signers to complete an official agreement. In some parts of the U.S., finding a qualified notary can be challenging, and many formal contracts are not valid unless they are notarized.

Median Annual Salary: $34,749 ($14.53/hour)1

Top 10% Annual Salary: $51,000 ($22.93/hour)

Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $19,000 ($9.98/hour)

Notaries may also be paid on a per signature or per document basis. The amount varies based on the type of document being notarized and state law

Job outlook

Depending upon the availability of notaries in your area, demand can be high or low. For high-demand areas, self-employed notaries do quite well. They can work from their home or vehicle (i.e., mobile notaries) as their own boss. However, because many banks and mail-carrying storefronts now supply notary services, demand in some areas is low.

Office employees that are also notaries are valuable to many employers. If you work in an industry that handles legal or loan paperwork, becoming a notary is a smart move because it allows your employer to formalize transactions much faster than its competitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is some good advice for notary students?

Great notaries command their role by educating and supporting their customers through the signing process. They understand that signers are looking to them for guidance and expertise. And they also understand that almost all clients appreciate the comfort of a little “hand holding”.

Notarizing for Signers who Cover their Faces

Handling an Attorney-in-Fact Notarization

What is it like being a notary?

Make Additional Income

While Notaries are appointed by their states and serve as public officials, they charge their clients directly and the revenue is theirs to keep. That’s why tens of thousands of people hit the streets as “mobile Notaries” in their communities. Most states regulate how much a Notary can charge for an individual notarization (for example, $15 in California and $10 in Florida), but many clients often need more than one signature notarized. You’re also allowed to charge additional fees for items such as travel, supplies and other expenses.

Become a Notary Signing Agent

If you like the idea of being a Notary to make additional income, becoming a Notary Signing Agent is right up your alley. An NSA is a trained and certified professional that handles the notarization of loan documents in real estate closings. For the mortgage finance industry, NSAs serve as the critical final link between the banks and the borrower to complete the loan. They are hired directly by title companies and signing services as independent contractors to ensure that real estate loan documents are signed by the borrower, notarized, and returned for processing. Notaries make a considerable amount of extra income from this line of mortgage finance work, in addition to their work as a mobile Notary.

Improve Your Resume/Skill Set

Notaries are in high demand in a variety of industries, including banking, finance, medical, legal, government, insurance, technology … the list goes on. In fact, just about every industry uses the services of Notaries, so becoming one will add to your marketable skill sets, improve your resume and increase your value as an employee. In the workplace, Notaries serve two general functions: Notarizing documents in the back office for co-workers and bosses, or notarizing for customers in a bank or their local photocopy and shipping shop. Many employers value employees with Notary skills to handle their document authentication needs and provide customers with top-notch service.

Enjoy a Flexible Schedule

If you choose the mobile Notary/Notary Signing Agent route, you will have the flexibility to set your own hours. It’s a perfect line of work for home-based entrepreneurs, moonlighters, stay-at-home parents (who can do mobile notarizations in the evening) or anyone looking to make some additional income. Many people who need notarizations request them after normal business hours, so you can make the most of your evenings, or arrange a time that’s right for you.

Help Your Community

America’s Notaries Public are known for their spirit of helping those in need. If you are the type of person who enjoys giving back to your community, being a Notary is a great way to support that passion. Many types of people need notarization services but cannot afford them, like the elderly, homeless, disabled and college students. These groups typically need notarizations for powers of attorney, residency affidavits, advance medical directives, college transcripts and enrollment verifications. Notaries often hold events at community centers, retirement homes and campuses to provide free or low-cost notarizations. It’s also a great way to network and market yourself for paying clients.

What is the difference between a notary and a commissioner of oaths?

The main difference between a notary public and a commissioner for oaths is where a document is to be used as well as what a person needs. Once outside the province, a notary is required.

What is the difference between a notary and a lawyer?

The primary difference between a notary and a lawyer is that a lawyer can represent their client in court, whereas a notary cannot. Among other responsibilities, a lawyer has the power to act as a notary public, but not vice versa

How difficult is it to become a notary?

Be at least 18 years old. Complete a training course approved by the Secretary of State. Pass an exam prescribed by the Secretary of State. Pass a background check.

Is notary an art or a science?

A notary is a person authorized to perform acts in legal affairs, in particular witnessing signatures on documents. The form that the notarial profession takes varies with local legal systems.

Is it worth becoming a notary?

Income Potential of a Notary Public Loan Signing Agent

And the best part is, it's so easy to become a notary public. In most states (and by most states I mean 38 out of 50 states, it's as easy as applying to become one. Once again, it's so easy to become a notary public. And only 7 of the 50 states require a test.

Are Notary happy?

The second reason is that being a notary public looks good on your resume, particularly if you work in a field like real estate or banking where certain documents will need a notary's signature in order to be considered valid and binding. Jan 26, 2016

Should I become a notary?

Notaries serve an important role in society. They ensure that signatures and documents are genuine. Notaries prevent thousands of fraud cases every year. If you become a notary, you will prevent fraud and help protect society.

What is a Notary like?

A notary is a public officer who attests or certifies deeds and other writings or copies of them under his official seal and appended signatures to make them authentic. A notary is authorized to administer oath and affirm affidavits , attest and certify by his hand and official seal , certain classes of documents, in order to give them credit and authenticity, to take acknowledgements of deeds and other conveyances , and certify the same, and to perform certain official acts , chiefly in commercial matters such as the protesting of notes and bills , the noting of foreign drafts, and marine protests in case of loss and damage.

What are the professional courses one can pursue as a notary?

Providing a Valued Service

Through verifying the identity of signers and providing verification of signatures, Notary Publics help to prevent fraud and forgery. Real estate, finance, law, and many other industries rely on notary services to conduct business.


Related Videos To Watch




bottom of page