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California has a few specific requirements to become a notary public. Aspiring notaries must complete a six-hour training class, pass a state exam and submit to a fingerprint background check. Purchasing official supplies and being bonded are additional requirements.
Training and Test-Taking
Some states have optional training for notaries, but California requires that you complete a six-hour training program before applying. You may take the classes online or via DVD. As of the time of publication, a $40 payment to "Secretary of State" and your notary application are due at the time of your scheduled state exam. The exam covers 30 questions with a 50-minute time limit. You must achieve a minimum score of 70 percent to pass.
The Department of Justice and FBI conduct your criminal background checks. You are not eligible if you have a felony conviction. After you receive an approved notary commission, you have 30 days to order stamp and embossing supplies and to get bonded.
You can order your bond through various providers, but the National Notary Association and Golden State Notary both sell four-year/$15,000 bonds for $38 as of March 2015. Golden State Notary also quotes a two-year $100,000 errors and omissions insurance policy, which meets the minimum requirement, at $234. A similar policy from National Notary Association was $281 as of March 2015.
- Notary Learning Center: Five Easy Steps to Becoming a Notary Public in California
- Golden State Notary: How to Become a New California Notary Public
- Golden State Notary: California Notary Public Supplies
- California Secretary of State: Notary Public and Authentications: Qualifications
- California Secretary of State: Notary Public and Authentications: Take the Exam
- National Notary Association: California Notary Surety Bond
- National Notary Association: Errors and Omissions Insurance in California
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.