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March 29, 2023 - 04:02am

How Does California's Notary Training Compare to Other States?

The education requirements to become a notary public vary widely from state to state. Many states do not require any education at all, some only require an exam, and some require up to six hours of training plus an exam. California falls under that final category, requiring six hours of training plus a passing grade on an exam.

Thirty-four states and territories do not require any training, though they do suggest that aspiring notaries educate themselves. The education and exam requirements for the remaining states are as follows:


New applicants must complete a state-approved, six-hour training course. Courses range in cost from $50 to $100. Notary public California classes are available live or online, and applicants must pass an exam. To renew a commission, a notary must complete a three-hour refresher course.


New applicants must complete a state-approved training course and exam. There are no minimum training hours. If a notary allows their commission to lapse for longer than 30 days, they must complete the training and exam again.


Only an exam is required, and is included in the application.

Washington, D.C.

Training is required only after the application is approved. At that point you are required to participate in an orientation and pass an exam. You only need to retake the exam if your commission expired a year ago or more.


New applicants are required to take a three-hour training course. Existing notaries may be required to retake the course after an indeterminate amount of time has lapsed since their commission expired.


Applicants are only required to pass an exam.


Applicants must take an orientation class and pass an exam. Louisiana-licensed attorneys are exempt from this requirement.


An open-book exam is required, and is included with the application. Renewing applicants must complete the exam even if their commission has not yet lapsed.


Applicants are required to take an education course, and read the Missouri Notary Public handbook in full. This is a requirement for both new and returning applicants.


An education course is required for new applicants, renewing applicants whose commission has lapsed for 30 days or more, and occasionally current notaries as determined by the Secretary of State.


A state-approved, four-hour education course is required for new applicants. The course is available online or in person. Renewing applicants whose commission has lapsed for longer than a year, and any notary who has been fined for non-compliance are also required to take the course.

New York

Applicants are only required to take an exam. Attorneys licensed in the state of New York are exempt.

North Carolina

Ranking #1 on the list for strictest requirements, North Carolina requires a minimum of six hours of classroom learning. The course is not yet available online. New and returning applicants are required to pass an exam. Members of the North Carolina State Bar are exempt from these requirements.


A three-hour state-approved course must be taken by new applicants and renewing applicants whose commission has expired. Courses are available online. An open-book exam is required, which is included in the application and may be taken online.


A three-hour education course is required for new and renewing applicants, and must be taken no more than six months before submitting an application. Courses are available online.


Exam only.

The states which do not appear on this list do not require exams or specific education, though a few of them do offer free training through the state. Others may require training for some notaries, at the Secretary of State's discretion. As you can see, California's requirements are some of the strictest in the nation. If you can make it here, you can literally make it anywhere.