Notary Training Requirements
State notary training and notary exam requirements vary widely. Many states do not require any training or notary exam.
Eight states require a state-approved notary training course: California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania. DC requires an orientation session. Delaware requires education for electronic notaries.
State-approved training courses must include all training elements required by the state notary regulator, usually the Secretary of State (SOS). Course content must be updated when there are changes in notary laws, rules and regulations.
Eight states require notary applicants to pass a notary exam, but no training course: Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New York and Utah. Wyoming has an optional exam that is encouraged.
Five states require both completing a notary training course and passing a notary exam: California, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon.
Note: New Jersey has proposed new legislation in 2016, Senate Bill 333, requiring initial training, continuing education and a notary exam.
In Ohio, state law does not require training or an exam. However, most counties require notary training and/or a notary exam. Contact the county for more information.
California and Missouri also require continuing education for notaries. Delaware requires continuing education for electronic notaries.
Whether your state requires notary training or a notary exam or not, all notaries have a duty to know and follow state notary laws, and to use reasonable care, to avoid negligence claims. It is smart to complete a training course, and exam, whether it is required or not, to make sure you understand the notary laws and to reduce your risk of mistakes, errors and omissions. Notaries are liable for their mistakes, and should buy notary errors and omissions (E&O) insurance for protection.
Employers should require employee notaries to complete a notary training course and notary exam, to ensure that the notary is knowledgeable and current, to reduce liability risk for the employer. Periodic refresher training and re-testing is smart business.
Basic and Advanced Notary Training
Most courses only provide basic notary training or notary exam preparation. For example, Colorado has about 40 laws involving notary procedures, but only 14 elements must be included in state-approved Colorado basic notary training. Notaries should also complete advanced notary training to gain more knowledge and learn how to perform less well-known and more complicated notary procedures, or decline to perform advanced notary procedures if not knowledgeable.
Notary Signing Agents
Some notaries work as notary signing agents (NSA) for title companies, signing services, mortgage lenders, auto lenders, and other companies to gather customer signatures on a bundle of documents, and notarize, where needed. Additional training is required to gain knowledge to serve as a notary signing agent. Signing agents should perform due diligence before choosing an education vendor for training and/or certification. Some states impose requirements or restrictions on signing agents, so check your state laws.
Notary Training Methods and Support
Training methods may include classroom training, webinar, teleconference, online slides or video or textbook. Choose the method that works best for you.
Be sure the notary training instructor provides support for students after you complete your training, so you can ask questions. This is very important for new notaries while learning. Look for an instructor who has notary experience in your state. Some instructors are only in the training business, or may be from out of state, and are not active notaries in your state.
Look for a notary training instructor that publishes a notary blog, which is a useful source of notary news, notary history, articles of interest, business tips, tech tips, security tips and other useful notary information.
For Colorado Notary Training students, please contact us or enroll in one of our notary classes. We do notary training for groups and individuals, including many banks, credit unions, law firms, paralegal students, law enforcement, title companies, real estate professionals, financial advisors, insurance agents, court employees and other government agencies and businesses.
revised 2016-01-14, updated Montana and Nevada information
revised 2016-01-18, added New Jersey new laws
revised 2016-02-15, added CA, MO, DE continuing ed