How to Become a California Notary: Step-By-Step Guide

In a world full of so many people, it is difficult when you think about the amount of data any authority might have to keep to keep track of the people and their rights. I have always wondered how there are so many of us, and we are still increasing.

Who takes care of everyone’s identity and the rights that come with it? Have you thought of this too? 🧑‍⚖️

A notary, that’s who. A California Notary is someone who is allowed to notarize documents in California, and they do so by abiding by the rules set by the California State Commission. 🧾

The article I have written is a small guide to help you through the process of becoming a California Notary. ✒️

Questions and Answers 

If you are someone who is not that knowledgeable about this job, then you are sure to have some doubts about pursuing this profession. It’s completely understandable. 

This is why I have come up with some questions that will help you become more sure about becoming a California notary. 

  1. Do I meet the eligibility requirements?
  2. Will I be able to handle the work stress and pressure?
  3. Can I handle documents and desk work?
  4. Is there a demand for notaries in this area?
  5. Will I be able to keep up with the laws?
  6. Will I be able to stay impartial and fair in my services?

If you have answered most of these questions with a yes, then you are sure to become a good California notary. 

Let us start discussing this properly now. 

Who is a California Notary?

The first question that comes to mind when we hear the word ‘California Notary’ is who a notary is and what notarizing means. Notarizing refers to a measure undertaken by government authorities and is a way of confirming their identity. 

This is to make sure that no fraud happens because of any identity-based issue. 📃A Notary is a government official who notarizes documents and authenticates their signing.

In simpler terms, they are people who act as witnesses to the signing of a document to take acknowledgment and verification of the identity of the person who is signing. 

In California, a notary follows the regulations set up by the state commission. Anyone who wishes to get their documents signed in California would have to appear in front of a California Notary. 🧑‍⚖️

There are over 142,295 in the United States right now. 

Scope of California Notary 

People and jobs in the legal and government sectors are always needed. These are people who are going to make government processes easier to execute. 

According to statistics published by Zippia, among the number reported for the notaries in the US, 75% are women, while the rest 25% are men. 

The notary market is also expected to rise to 347.2 million US dollars by the year 2023. This is a major leap from the year before, and stats published by another source, Future Market Insights, show there is an 18.4% increase from 2022 to 2023. 

Skill Set required to become a California Notary. 

There are some skills that you need to master in order to become a good and successful California notary. 

I have mentioned the most important ones down below. Have a good look at them. 

  1. You need to be educated properly about legal things. 
  2. You need to work on your attention and focus. 
  3. Organization is also important. 
  4. You need to have good problem-solving skills. 
  5. You need to be very good at customer service and communication. 

Use this course to learn more about customer service. 😉

How much can a California Notary earn?

It is important to understand the salary trends before taking up a job. This is so that you understand how much you should be expecting after working in that field. 📈

You can expect a base pay of $37,675 per year. Base pay means that this is what you will get paid directly. To this, we add the additional pay, which is going to be $6,114 per year. Additional pay requires payments in the form of tips, bonuses, commissions, etc. 

The total of these is going to be the average pay you can expect as a California Notary in the United States as of July 2023, which adds up to $37,675 per year plus those additional amounts you might get. 💸

You can expect to get paid $16.18 per hour as of July 2023. This is the hourly wage we have found after looking at about 300 job holders. Hence, it is statistically proven, and the rest of the salary trends are also up to date. 📊

How to Become a California Notary? (More Tips)

To make your job easier, all the steps have been thoroughly explained and are given below. You can note them down if you want for future reference. ✅

Complete your education 

If you want to become a notary public, the first step would be to get done with the required educational requirements.

At the undergraduate and postgraduate levels of education, it is suggested that you go for an LLB degree so that you can get educated about the law and judicial systems. 

This would be a four-year program for you to finish. I have included more information about these in the sections below. 🧑‍⚖️

  1. All people who wish to appear for the official exam to become a notary have to finish a necessary six-hour course before they take the exam.
  2.  There is one more three-hour refresher course that is to be taken after finishing the six-hour course. This is to be taken before reappointment. ⏳
  3. Upon completion of both of these courses, the students will get certificates as proof of completing these courses. The duration of the validity of both of these is two years. 

After this, you would have to complete these courses all over again if you wish to reapply for an appointment. 📄

Give the exam 

To get appointed as a notary public, you would have to take a written exam. You can find the syllabus for these in the notary public handbooks and notary public applications. 

  • To become able to register, you would have to contact the CPS HR consulting in your region. 
  • A score of 70 and above is required for you to pass the exam, and if you pass, your application will go directly to the Secretary of State to get processed. 
  • You will be told about this via mail by the CPS HR consulting in about 15 business days after your exam.
  • If you do not pass, then your original application will be sent back to you with the message, and you will have to reappear for the exam. 
  • You can do so but not more than once in the same calendar month. 📝

Maybe this guide will help you understand a bit more about the exam. 

Submit your fingerprints

  • After passing your examination, you will be asked to submit your fingerprints via live scan. Before this, the officials will take a thorough background check. 
  • The fingerprints should be submitted within one year of your exam date. Those who do not submit their fingerprints would have to retest. 👆

Here is a video to help you understand the process better. 

Wait for your commission packet.

Your commission packet will reach you once you have finished the background check (with the fingerprint scan) and your application has been approved. It will include : 

  • a notary public commission certificate for you;
  • a Certificate of Authorization to Manufacture Notary Public Seals for you; 
  • Your filing instructions;
  • your cover letter with instructions;
  • two Notary Public Oath and Certificate of Filing forms;
  • And lastly, a list of Authorized Manufacturers of Notary Public Seals. ✔️

Get your supplies

The next step requires you to buy your notary supplies. This includes buying and filing an official bond. You have to buy this bond from the county clerk. 

You would also need to maintain a notary journal, which should be actively updated with your recent notarial acts.

The last thing you need to buy is a notary seal. You would get this from the Secretary of State as they are the only manufacturer of this seal. 📛

This article will tell you all about the necessary supplies. 

File your oath

Lastly, you would have to file an official bond in the county clerk’s office. This has to be done within 30 days from the first day of your commission, and these 30 days cannot be extended. 📜

Read this article to understand how to file an oath as a California notary. 

Responsibilities of a California Notary

As someone who is going to be working in a field connected directly with law, you would have a lot of moral and legal responsibilities to cater to. 

There would be times when your job might get difficult because of the pressure that is placed on it, but it is worth every bit of pressure you might face. This is because you are doing something that will help people in the end. 

Be honest

All your responsibilities can be summed up into two important pieces of advice. The first is to be honest. You are someone who will be handling important identification documents. These documents would determine someone’s identity in front of the legal structures. 

Hence, it is of utmost importance that you take care of these and do not succumb to any dishonesty in the process. 🍎

Be alert 

The second piece of advice I would give you is to be alert while on duty. Your job is to prevent fraud and look out for any such people who might be guilty of this crime. 

Be alert and attentive to your work and ensure that the process of authentication of a document is carried out properly. 

You should read this article to understand more about notary fraud. 

Top California Notary Courses in the United States

There are some certifications you should apply for that would just help your career grow for the better. I have compiled a few of these sources that provide such courses. 

These will help you understand which course is going to help you in what way. ➕

National Notary Association

  • The National Notary Association has been offering courses since 1957 and provides certification public notary courses for any state. 
  • The source allows you to choose between taking an online course or a live seminar according to your comfort. 
  • If you want to take these while in California, you would have to pay about $185 for both options. 
  • Once you choose your option, they will ask for your fingerprints and your photograph. 🧐

Academy of Notaries Public 

  • This source also offers courses in both modes of education – online and offline. 
  • One good thing is that you would find the six-hour course and the three-hour course we talked about above in this institution with full adherence to the rules and regulations set up by the commission. 
  • The courses you will apply for will be sent to you via mail, and you will be able to study all of the material provided. 
  • The price range of the courses starts from $205 to $409. 📧

American Society of Notaries

  • The American Society of Notaries has courses for every state, and the prices of the states also depend on what state you are living in. 
  • If you want basic training, then it would cost you $25. If you are in California, then it can cost you around $55. 
  • The courses provided are so helpful and easily accessible that you would be able to finish them within only 14 days of purchase from any device you want to use. 🤳

Notary Class online course

  • This source also offers a six-hour program for you to get acquainted with public notaries and the services they offer. 
  • You can take the course from any device you want, as it is going to be available in online mode. 
  • It is divided into 12 sections, and there will be an exam at the end to ensure that you have learned to use it properly. 
  • The price for the course is $49.97. 💸

EZ Notary Class

  • This is the last source on the list and is a good option because it has a California-certified course made especially for aspiring notaries. 
  • The course is available for $79 and promises that you will be able to pass your state notary exam once you finish it properly. 
  • This can also be taken via online mode. 🖥️

Top California Notary Schools in the World

As we wrap up discussing online courses and certifications, it is now time to look at proper degrees and programs.

It would be better for you if you find a good school to get a proper and in-depth education about the law and such systems. 🏫

Harvard University 

  • Found in 1636 and located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University is a private Ivy League university. 
  • The university operates the main college and offers a four-year undergraduate program for law. 
  • It ranks first in a global ranking system for ranking colleges in the field of law and legal studies, which makes it the best choice for you if you wish to pursue an LLB. 
  • The university is a very good option also because of the research-based programs you will find there. 
  • The fee for the application is $75, and the total tuition fee, including the cost of tuition, room, personal finances, etc., comes out to be $73,600. 🤝

The University of Oxford

  • The University of Oxford is located in London, UK, and was founded in the 11th century, making it the oldest educational institution in the UK. 
  • It ranks second on the list of ‘the best global universities for legal studies.’ 
  • The university doesn’t really have a main campus and is divided/scattered in the city center. 
  • About 40% of the student population comprises international students. It also offers a four-year undergraduate program in law (Jurisprudence). 🧊

The University of Cambridge 

  • The University of Cambridge is one of the oldest and largest educational institutions in the UK. It operates 31 colleges under it. 
  • The university ranks third on the list of the best law schools and operates ten schools and colleges under it. 
  • It has a plethora of courses and programs and holds a reputation for being one of the best in all the courses it offers. 
  • Found in 1209, the university’s education plan boasts excellence and credibility. 🐴

Stanford university 

  • Stanford University was founded in 1885 and ranked fifth on the list. As the name suggests, this university is located in Stanford. 
  • It operates the Stanford Law School, which holds a very esteemed reputation for being one of the best in the world. 
  • This makes it obvious that getting into this school is going to be tough and requires immense hard work. 
  • The school offers a variety of programs and degrees, such as the JD programs, advanced degree programs, and more. 
  • The resources that come along with admission to this college include a policy lab, legal design lab, discussion seminars, etc.🏒

Yale university 

  • Yale University ranks sixth on this list and is located in New Haven, Connecticut. 
  • The university was founded in 1701, which means that it might not be as old as the other universities on this list, but it has a history to speak for its excellence nonetheless. 
  • The university is one of the top ten universities in the US and offers courses from a variety of disciplines such as microbiology, engineering, geosciences, healthcare, and more. 
  • As for the Yale Law School, it offers a lot of specialization options for its students. 
  • You can choose to study human rights laws, constitutional laws, or public interest laws – it all depends on what you want. ⚖️

Columbia University 

  • Columbia University was founded in 1754. It ranks eighth on the list of top colleges for cardiology and is located in Upper Manhattan, New York City. 
  • It was originally called King’s College (changed to Columbia University after the American Revolutionary War), and about 30% of the student population here comes from international regions. 
  • This university operates the College of Physicians and Surgeons, and this is one of its highest-ranking programs, other than its legal studies branch. 
  • It has a global approach and has opened up numerous centers worldwide. 
  • The acceptance rate of this university is 5.8 percent. 👑
  • These are the top six schools in the world that offer you a program for studying legal studies and law in general. 

Take your time and carefully choose your pick amongst the given options. Your choice is important as it will determine your college life. 🎒

Where to find California Notary opportunities online?

Since the advent of online job-hunting platforms, it has been way easier for people to search for their dream job.

You have to make accounts on all of these sites (most often for free) and then just sit back and apply for jobs. 🛄


  • Jooble is a slightly lesser-known but still very credible job platform for people looking to get employed. It has a user interface that is very simple to understand. ➰
  • The site requires you to make an account for yourself, which is a free feature. 
  • Upon doing so, you set up your account and fill in your data, which is going to be helpful while looking for a job. 
  • It is all because of the increase in the use of the internet and its services that we now have the option to apply for jobs while sitting in the comfort of our homes. 
  • For our career option, that is, a California Notary, you will find a lot of full-time or part-time jobs that you will have to perform in person. 💻


  • After Jooble, let’s discuss another platform, Indeed, now. Quite similar to Jooble and all the other job sites out there, it also requires you to just open an account to avail yourself of all of the features on the platform. 
  • There has been a recent advance in the usage of online job applications and job searching, and a lot of new features have been made. 
  • After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and forced people to remain indoors, people were compelled even more to turn to this method of job applications. 
  • It was after the pandemic that people realized online services are much easier to access and utilize. 📳
  • Almost everyone uses these platforms nowadays because of their popularity and the ease they offer. 
  • If you want to increase your chances of finding employment in this growing sector, you should stay alert and use this wide range of job opportunities provided by both Jooble and Indeed. 😷


  • One more site you can consider is JobRapido, which offers a lot of jobs when it comes to becoming a notary in California. 
  • With a format and application process similar to those of both of the websites mentioned above, this site should also be on your list of job-hunting platforms. 
  • You can also subscribe to their email services, in which they send you updates and news about more job opportunities whenever they arise. 
  • The filters you can use include filtering the options by place, date of posting, and relevance to your search. 🤓


  • LinkedIn is also an online platform that is very active in the process of job-hunting. It has the same requirements as the above two – make an account so that you can access the free resources and become active. 
  • A unique feature of LinkedIn that sets it apart from the rest of the job sites is how it encourages networking. 
  • We have discussed how networking is a necessity. It is a very popular source that enables its users to connect with other people and build networks in the process.🌐


The job of a California notary is directly linked with the government sector and places a lot of responsibility upon the worker. You need to have a clear-cut stance and enough knowledge to take on this job. 

If you have any further questions about this profession, feel free to ask them in the comments section below. I’ll try to answer them as soon as possible. 

You will be monitoring other people and their legal issues. This is an honest man’s work, and there should be nothing that deters you from doing the right thing. So, if you have an interest in becoming a California notary, it is important that you keep all of this in mind. 😁

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