Notary Public Career Information

A notary public, also known as notary or public notary, is responsible for dealing with administering oaths, statements and official documentations in public service. The job requirements for a notary public will depend on the level of responsibility they are given by state law. In general, the law recognizes that notary publics are responsible for the preparation and officiating of legal or public documentation. Notary publics may work in offices, signing or administering forms. Notary publics may also serve as personal assistants for state officials. Some court reporters are required to become notary publics due to the similarity of the jobs.

Notary Education

Working as a notary public may require a high school or four-year degree, depending on the job description. But no specific sort of degree or credential is required to become notary public material. Some states may require notary publics to take a special class before becoming a notary in the United States. Other countries may require specialized training for notary publics. If the notary public chooses higher education as a career development option, fields of interest may include political science, English, law, history and communications, among others. Notaries have to have a good knowledge of society and excellent communication skills. Look for educational opportunities that promote civil awareness and responsibility.

Notary Exam

Licensing requirements vary by state. Each state gives a different notary exam. Notary public candidates should have very specific knowledge about the legal proceedings in the state in which they choose to apply. Notaries are usually required to take a public oath, as well. Notary publics must be trusted to objectively validate and fact check information for the public record. The oath ensures not only the notary public's honesty and commitment to the job, but also usually includes a statement that the notary public will not step beyond the bounds of his or her legal jurisdiction. Notaries who work for state governments are usually given a lifelong title of "notary at law" or a similar description, signifying that once the oath has been taken, it makes the notary a public servant for life.

Job Options

Notary publics work in a variety of settings, including courthouses, courtrooms and law offices. Another option is to go into business as an independent notary, signing documents upon request. Mobile notaries travel upon customer demand from location to location. Mobile notaries may also be hired on a part-time, on-call basis for public offices or other organizations.


Notaries can prepare to earn higher wages by taking certification tests, which credentials their experience. This is different than a state administered exam in that it is an educational credential. Notary publics may take courses online or through technical schools. Notary publics may also prepare for higher earnings by earning a four-year degree. Another option is to obtain a Masters in Legal Studies, which is like a law degree for working professionals in other fields, such as notary publics. Notary publics may also pursue careers in paralegal studies or court reporting. Advanced study in law school, leading to the JD is also a possibility for the notary public accustomed to working with legal matters.