Introduction to Becoming a Notary Public
A notary public can occupy many roles and find a career path in fields like real estate, legal work, banking, finance, and many others. Becoming a notary public could also be the start of a home business. Luckily, the majority of the process can be completed online with just a couple of physical signatures required. See the table below for some basic information on the notary career path.
|Required Skills||Attention to detail, professional communication skills, accuracy|
|Job Decline (2018-2028)*||7%|
|Average Salary (2019)**||$37,136 per year|
Sources: *US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Secretaries and Administrative Assistants), **Salary.com
Steps to Become a Florida State Notary Public Online
The following steps outline the process to become a notary public in Florida. Most of the process can be completed online; however, there are certain documents that will need to be printed and mailed to a bonding agency. Of course, any notarizations you perform will also have to be done in person. Additionally, non-US citizens will need to visit their local county clerk's office in order to obtain an Affidavit of Domicile.
Step 1: Check to See If You Are Qualified to Become a Florida State Notary
You will need to meet the following criteria to be issued a notary commission in the state of Florida:
- Be a legal resident of Florida
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Not be a convicted felon
No other prior work or professional experience is necessary, as you will be required to take training specific to Florida state notary laws and regulations in the following steps.
Step 2. Obtain a Notary Surety Bond from a Bonding agency
The bonding agency from which you purchase your notary surety bond must be approved by the state to issue them. This bond protects the public of Florida against any financial loss due to notary misconduct. You can find a list of recognized and approved agencies on the Florida Department of State website; most agencies will offer surety bonds that you can apply and pay for online.
Step 3. Take the Required Online Training
The first time you apply for a notary commission in the state of Florida, you are required to take a three-hour education course. This training is available for free through the Florida Department of State website. You will work through eight modules and answer various questions regarding the activities and requirements of being a notary, as well as learn the rules and regulations that must be followed to notarize documents in Florida. At the end of the course, you will receive a certificate, which can be printed and presented to the bonding agency, if necessary. This training is only required for first-time notaries; notaries who are recertifying are not required to take the course.
Step 4. Submit Your Application via Your Chosen Bonding Agency
The full application to become a notary can be filled out online. It includes an oath of office, which you will sign, and an affidavit of character, which needs to be signed by an individual who has known you for more than a year but is not a family member. Once you have completed and signed these forms, you will submit them along with your bond and application fee payment by mail to the bonding agency.
Step 5: Become Commissioned
Once your application is received, contains no errors, and is approved, the bonding agency who provided your surety bond will mail you a certificate of commission. If there are delays with your application, you may want to reach out through the agency's website to check on the status.
Step 6: Purchase the Required Supplies Online
At the very minimum, a notary should possess a notarial stamp, which is used to certify documents you are asked to notarize. There are some specific requirements for the stamp: it must use black ink, display your full name and title (notary public), and identify the state of your commission (i.e. Florida). Stamps and other accessories are often available for purchase directly through your bonding agency's website. It is highly recommended that you also keep a journal of the notarizations you perform.
Step 7: Start Advertising Your Services Online and Notarize Your First Document
Now that you possess everything you need to be a notary, the next step is to get your first customer and notarize your first document! Some notaries specialize in real estate transactions, others work with trusts or deeds of title, while others focus on certifying documents like passport copies or immigration forms. The types of services you provide will vary based on your position and/or your intended customer pool. Think about creating a business specific website, a Yelp profile, and a Google business page in order to drive new customers to your services. You could even advertise you notary services through online task apps or gig-based job pages.