Notaries play an essential role in the provision and administration of public services. They oversee the signing of depositions, contracts, affidavits, deeds and other documents that need signatures for verification. If you would like to work for the government, and you are an honest person with irrefutable integrity, this is a job that could suit you.
1. What Do Notaries Do?
- Witness the signing of documents, ensuring only the correct person signs a given document. This involves verifying the identity of the signers and ensuring they understand the contents of the documents in question
- Make and certify copies of original documents such as birth and death certificates – This means a photocopy of a document that is certified by a notary can be used in the place of an original document
- Administer oaths and take acknowledgements
- Verifying and certifying the contents of a safety deposit box
- Solemnize a marriage
- Advise clients or members of the public on the documents needed for specific purposes or transactions
- Prepare and issue notarial certificates
- Charge clients for the services provided.
2. Work Environment
Notaries work regular business hours, 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. They spend their time in an office environment, where they execute their duties. The job may involve some travel, since notaries occasionally attend public events to swear in public officers.
According to Indeed, notaries in the US earn an average annual salary of $35,000.
4. Entry Requirements
The educational requirements for becoming a notary vary from state to state. In general, however, aspirants must:
- Hold high schools diplomas
- Be at least 18 years old
- Have a clean criminal background
- Complete a state-administered notary education course
- Deposit a pre-determined notary bond with the state
For more information on state-specific requirements, visit the American Society of Notaries (ASN)
Although not mandatory, you can you can pursue at least an associate degree in any of the following fields to enhance your chances of getting the job.
- Legal studies
- Public administration
- Political science
This is because some court reporters, lawyers and public administrators often also work as notaries.
5. Important Qualities
To become a competent notary, you need:
- Excellent public relations skills
- Excellent communication skills
- A keen attention to detail
- Irrefutable integrity
- Interpersonal skills
- A sound understanding of federal and state laws
- Good customer service skills
- Organizational skills
- Record keeping skills
- Skills in information acquisition and analysis
6. Career Advancement
What next after becoming a notary? Well, it is essential to focus on improving your notarial practice competence and professionalism. ASN, for instance, offers membership opportunities that you can grab to gain access to training programs and other professional development opportunities. There are also state-specific notary associations that offer important career resources.
The Notary Learning Center also offers the Certified Notary Signing Agent certification that you can obtain to enhance your ability to attract clients.
7. Job Opportunities
The employers of notaries include:
- Federal agencies
- State governments
- Local governments
With vast notarial practice experience, you can move into the private sector and find employment in a bank, real estate closing firm or law firm. You can also establish your own private notarial office.
Finally, as long as people are going to enter into contracts with each other or with organizations, they will need notaries to certify official documents. What’s more, notaries who cannot find government jobs can turn to the private sector for employment.
If this sounds like a job you’d like, then be sure to begin by checking available opportunities in your state. Good luck!