Career Development

What Does a Notary Public Do?

Find out what a Notary Public does, how to get this job, salary information, and what it takes to succeed as a Notary Public.

The role of a Notary Public encompasses the responsibility of serving as an impartial witness during the signing of important documents, ensuring the process is conducted with integrity and authenticity. This position upholds the trust in various transactions, from real estate deals to the execution of wills, by verifying the identity of signatories, their willingness to sign without duress or intimidation, and their awareness of the contents of the documents. Through the act of notarizing, the Notary Public helps deter fraud and promotes the smooth execution of agreements, providing a layer of confidence and legality to personal and business transactions alike. Their stamp and signature become symbols of assurance that the documents are executed properly, laying a foundation of trust and reliability in contractual and legal matters.

Notary Public Job Duties

  • Witness and authenticate the signing of official documents, including contracts, deeds, and affidavits, to prevent fraud.
  • Administer oaths and affirmations to individuals taking an oath of office or swearing to the truthfulness of information.
  • Perform jurats, which involve certifying that a document signer has sworn to or affirmed the truthfulness of the document’s contents.
  • Execute acknowledgments, verifying the identity of the signer and their voluntary signing of the document.
  • Provide certified copies of documents, ensuring the authenticity of the copies for use in legal processes.
  • Perform marriage ceremonies in jurisdictions where notaries are authorized to do so, following local laws and regulations.
  • Record notarial acts in a logbook or journal, detailing information about the parties, the type of document, and the date of notarization.
  • Handle protest of negotiable instruments, such as bills of exchange or promissory notes, certifying the dishonor of such documents.

Notary Public Salary & Outlook

Factors influencing a Notary Public’s salary include experience level, specialization in high-demand areas (e.g., real estate, legal documents), volume of notarial acts performed, offering mobile notary services, and additional services provided such as loan signing agent expertise. Networking and reputation also significantly impact earning potential.

  • Median Annual Salary: $43,575 ($20.95/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $67,500 ($32.45/hour)

The employment of notary publics is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

This growth is driven by the increasing need for notarization in legal documents, real estate transactions, and financial agreements, alongside the rise in remote notarization services due to technological advancements, ensuring the continuous demand for Notary Publics’ verification and fraud prevention services.

Notary Public Job Requirements

Education: A Notary Public often possesses a Bachelor’s Degree or a High School Diploma, with backgrounds in law, business, or public administration being advantageous. Courses in legal studies, ethics, and document verification can provide a solid foundation for this role. Majors in fields that emphasize critical thinking, attention to detail, and communication skills are particularly beneficial, preparing individuals for the diverse responsibilities they will encounter in notarization processes.

Experience: For the role of a Notary Public, a blend of on-the-job training and prior experience in legal, administrative, or customer service fields is highly beneficial. Many individuals enter the profession with varying levels of direct experience, ranging from seasoned professionals to those new to the field. Training programs, often provided by employers or professional organizations, equip candidates with the necessary skills in document verification, ethical conduct, and record-keeping. Continuous learning and adherence to state-specific regulations are crucial for success and integrity in this role.

Certifications & Licenses: To work as a Notary Public, obtaining a state-specific Notary Public License or Commission is mandatory. No additional certifications are typically required. However, some states may require passing a background check and an exam. Continuing education courses, while not universally required, are recommended in some jurisdictions to stay updated on laws and practices.

Notary Public Skills

Document Authentication: A Notary Public verifies the identity of signatories and the authenticity of documents to prevent fraud and ensure transaction integrity. This requires a detailed understanding of legal standards for various document types.

Signature Witnessing: The identity of signatories is confirmed, ensuring they sign documents willingly and without coercion. A thorough knowledge of identification verification processes is necessary to maintain document legality.

Jurat Administration: In this role, the notary public confirms the signatory’s presence, comprehension of the document, and voluntary signing. The process includes administering an oath or affirmation, identity verification, and document signing witnessing.

Record Keeping: Detailed logs of all notarial acts, including dates, document types, and party identifications, are maintained for legal compliance and client trust. This ensures a transparent and verifiable record of the notary’s activities.

Notarial Certificate Completion: Filling out notarial certificates accurately requires familiarity with state-specific notary laws. This skill is crucial for ensuring documents are legally binding and the signing process’s integrity is upheld.

Regulatory Compliance: A Notary Public must stay informed of and adhere to state and federal laws, executing document notarizations accurately while preventing fraud. Detailed record-keeping of notarial acts is necessary for audit compliance.

Notary Public Work Environment

A Notary Public typically operates in a formal office setting, though mobile notaries may work from various locations, including clients’ homes or businesses. The workspace is organized, equipped with standard office tools, specialized notary stamps, and secure storage for sensitive documents. Work hours can vary, with some notaries offering services during standard business hours, while others may provide evening or weekend appointments to accommodate client needs.

Dress code leans towards business casual, reflecting the professional nature of the role. The environment is generally quiet, conducive to concentration and attention to detail required for document verification and signing. Interaction levels with others are high, as the role involves direct communication with clients and possibly coordinating with other professionals like lawyers or real estate agents.

Notaries must stay abreast of legal changes, suggesting a continuous learning aspect to the role. Technology use is increasing, with digital notarization becoming more common. This role often allows for a balanced work-life dynamic, especially for those who operate on a freelance basis, offering a degree of flexibility in scheduling and work location.

Advancement Prospects

A Notary Public can elevate their career by specializing in sectors like real estate, legal services, or finance, where notarial services are in high demand. Gaining expertise in these areas can lead to higher fees and a more selective clientele.

Advancing as a Notary Public often involves becoming a Notary Signing Agent (NSA), which requires additional certification but opens doors to facilitating mortgage closings, a lucrative niche.

Some notaries expand their services by incorporating mobile notarization, offering convenience to clients and accessing a broader market.

Ultimately, a seasoned Notary Public may establish their own notary business, hiring other notaries to meet the demand in various sectors, thus scaling their operations and revenue. This path requires a deep understanding of business management and marketing, in addition to notarial expertise.


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