I’ve been a notary for a number of years now and although I don’t notarize nearly the number of documents I did when I worked for a corporation, I still consider it a valuable asset. For those of you who’ve thought about it, but haven’t gotten around to checking out what’s required, I wanted to share some information that I hope will urge you to consider applying.
First, some minimum requirements: you must be at least 18 years old, free of any felony convictions and be registered to vote at your current address.
You’ll need to apply in the county in which you reside, pass an exam and pay a fee. For example in Montgomery County, the Dayton Bar Association can assist you with the process (109 N. Main Street, Suite 600; 222-7902).
Once you apply and pay a $70 fee, you will receive a booklet which is a guide to the various situations where notary services are needed. The DBA schedules a test the fourth Friday of each month; they’ll also let you know the specific time and location. The test is comprised of 50 questions and a sample auto title. The guidebook isn’t very lengthy but taking the time to review and study its contents is beneficial.
After you've been notified that you’ve passed the exam, you will be commissioned as a Notary Public for five years. You are then given your first journal to record each transaction. You are responsible for purchasing your seal and name stamp (optional) though. You are also responsible for maintaining your commission and, if you move, giving notice to the new county. By the way, even if your employer has paid the exam fee and reimbursed or purchased your notary supplies, the commission and supplies belong to the individual, not the company.
I’ve been a member of the National Notary Association for some time now, too, and this group offers great support and excellent information about the notary profession. It's also a great resource for advice on how to market your notary services which may hold you over until you find that dream job. It's also another way to network with other professionals.