Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Notary Public?
A notary public is an individual who helps protect the public from fraud. Because of this fact, a notary public must be a trusted individual who meets the State’s requirements for honesty and character as well as having a complete knowledge of notary law.

What are the requirements to become a notary?
Applicants must meet the following requirements:
  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
  • All applicants must be a legal California resident.
  • All applicants must complete a written exam as prescribed by the Secretary of State with a score of 70% or better.
  • All applicants must pass a background check.
  • All applicants must be able to read, write and understand English.
  • All applicants are required to complete a 6-hour course of study (3-hour for renewing notaries) through a State approved vendor.

Why should I want to become a notary?
Working as a notary is a satisfying career.
  • As a notary you may work for a company or you may be an independent notary.
  • As an independent notary your hours are flexible and you can work from your home on your own schedule.
  • As a notary, you are a trusted and respected member of the business community.
  • Notary services are always in demand.
  • All real estate sales, mortgages and powers of attorney require notarization.

Is there really a need for notaries in this modern computer age?
By law, all notary acts must be performed in the presence of the document signer. There are presently over 260,000 notaries in the State of California and more are needed. All real estate transactions, mortgages and powers of attorney require notarization. Many notaries become “Mobile Notaries” and earn extra fees for travel and perform loan signing which typically earn the notary $150.00 or more each.

What steps must I take to become a notary?
The first step is to complete a 6-hour course of study (3-hour course for renewing notaries) as required by the Secretary of State. The course must be from a State approved vendor such as Internet Notary School. Upon completion of the 6-hour or 3-hour course, you will receive a proof of completion. You will need to bring the proof of completion with you at the time that you take your State exam. Next, you must schedule and then successfully pass the State’s notary examination with a score of 70% or better.

When you pass the exam, you will be required to submit to a background check and have your fingerprints taken.

In 8-10 weeks, the Secretary of State will issue a notary commission in your name. You will have 30 days from the date of your commission letter to obtain a surety bond which is then to be registered in the office of the County Clerk in the county in which you reside. You will also be required to swear an Oath of Office before the County Clerk. Upon completion of these steps you will be a commissioned notary public, legally empowered to perform any notarial acts.

What are the State mandatory education requirements for notaries public?
Effective July 1, 2005, all applicants for a new notary commission, or a renewal commission, are required to complete a 6-hour course of study from a State approved vendor such as Internet Notary School. Applicants for renewal commissions who have already completed the 6-hour course may complete a 3-hour refresher course. The goal of mandatory education is to:
  • Provide proper training for all notaries public
  • To provide full understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a notary public
  • Standardize knowledge for all notaries public
  • Reduce complaints and lawsuits due to negligence or misconduct by the notary public.

*To be eligible to take the 3 hour refresher course, the notary must complete the 3-hour course, take and pass the state exam, and submit a complete notary application to the Secretary of State prior to the expiration of their current commission.

Completion of the online course at Internet Notary School satisfies the State requirements for notary education.

Why do I need to use an approved vendor for study prior to taking the State notary exam?
In July 2005 State law regarding notaries was amended to require all applicants for new or renewal notary commissions to complete a 6-hour course of study from an approved vendor prior to taking the State notary exam. The purpose of this law is to ensure that all notaries in the State receive adequate training in notary law, ethics and procedures and to standardize knowledge for all notaries. This standardized training is intended to result in a reduction in complaints and lawsuits due to negligence or misconduct by notaries public.

What does Internet Notary School’s online course cover?
Both the 6-hour and 3-hour online courses thoroughly cover current notary law, procedures and ethics for notaries in the State of California. Our curriculum has been reviewed and approved by the Secretary of State. The online courses cover everything the State requires a notary to know.

Why study online?
At Internet Notary School, we have developed a comprehensive online course of study that has received the approval of the Secretary of State.
  • Our online course at $29.95 for the 6-hour and $24.95 for the 3-hour course is much less expensive than the traditional classroom courses that are currently available.
  • Our online course allows you to study at your own pace and without interruptions or delays.
  • Our online course allows you to study whenever you like, 24/7/365.
  • Our online course allows you to re-study the course materials in the event you must re-take the State exam.
  • Our online course streamlines the procedure allowing you to complete the course and receive your proof of completion all in one day.

What are the advantages to taking my 6-hour course online?
  • Cost: It is far less expensive to take our online course than to attend a classroom based course.
  • Convenience: You do not have to comply with someone else’s schedule. You can work on the course whenever you like and at your own pace 24/7.
  • Time: You may study and complete the course the same day that you purchase it. Upon completion of the course you will receive your proof of completion immediately. It is therefore possible to have your proof of completion the same day.
  • Ease: It’s easier to learn online. There are no distractions or other students to interrupt your progress. You may study at your own pace, not someone else’s and you can go back and review at will.

Upon completion of the course we will provide you with links to the testing company, CPS, so you can schedule your notary exam right away.

How long does it take to complete the online notary course?
You are required by law to study the course materials for either 3 hours or 6 hours minimum.

Do I have to pass a test in order to receive my proof of completion?
Although testing of your knowledge is a part of the online course, at Internet Notary School you are not required to pass a test in order to receive your proof of completion.

What is Internet Notary School’s refund policy?
You are entitled to a full refund of your course fee if you request same via e-mail within 10 days of purchasing the course, provided that you have not yet requested or received your proof of completion.

What costs are involved in becoming a notary public?
  • The cost for Internet Notary School’s online notary class is $29.95 ($24.95 for the 3-hour course)
  • The cost to take the notary exam is $40.00
  • The cost of the background check and fingerprinting is about $32.00 for the background check and $15.00 for the fingerprinting..
  • The cost of the notary bond varies by company but ranges around $50.00 for a 4-year policy.
  • Your notary supplies can often be purchased from the bonding company or from a notary supply company. Many bonding companies offer a package deal for notary supplies including bonding, which run about $150.00, depending on the company that you select.
  • The County Clerks filing fee is $40.00

If you are an employee, many companies will pay the notary’s up front costs.

How long does it take to become a notary?
After completing the course, it will take approximately 10 weeks to complete the process and receive your commission.

Tell me about the State exam.
The State exam is administered by California Personnel Services (CPS) and consists of 30 multiple-choice questions. A passing score is 70% so you must get at least 21 correct answers. The test is not open book. During testing there will be strict measures taken to prevent cheating of any kind.

What if I fail the State exam?
If you fail the exam, you may retake the exam in the calendar month following the date of your first attempt. There will be a charge of $20.00 to retake the exam.

How many times can I re-take the State exam?
You may re-take the exam as many times as you need to pass, but only once per month.

What percentage of students pass the State exam?
Over 98% of students pass the State Exam.

How long does it take to obtain test results?
Test results are available usually in 15-20 days from CPS. Test results can be obtained online through CPS's web site.

If I fail the exam can I go back and re-study your course materials?
You will have access, via your password, to the course materials for 6 months after you purchase our online course, even after you have completed the course and printed your proof of completion.

Where can I get more information about being a California Notary Public?
Additional information on being a California Notary Public can be obtained by logging on to the Secretary of State’s web site at There, you may obtain a copy of the Notary Public Handbook, on which our online course is based, as well as other information you may find helpful.

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