All persons seeking appointment as a notary public must satisfactorily complete a Secretary of State approved six-hour course of study prior to appointment. (Government Code section 8201.) Please note that all persons being appointed, no matter how many notary public commission terms that person has held in the past, are required to take the six-hour course of study.
Current California notaries public with a valid notary public commission and who have completed an approved six-hour course of study at least once must satisfactorily complete an approved three-hour refresher course prior to reappointment. Important: An approved three-hour refresher course is only acceptable if the notary public applies for reappointment before expiration of the current notary public commission. If the notary public commission expires before course completion and a completed application is received, the person must take another approved six-hour course before being reappointed as a notary public.
The Secretary of State reviews for approval all courses of study submitted by notary public education vendors. (Government Code section 8201.2.) To locate vendors who have been authorized to provide an approved notary public education course, please refer to our list of approved vendors.
The goal of notary public education is to:
- provide proper training for all notaries public;
- provide a full understanding of the duties and responsibilities of a notary public;
- standardize knowledge for all notaries public; and
- reduce complaints and lawsuits due to negligence or misconduct by a notary public.
Upon satisfactory completion of an approved notary public course of study, a student will receive a Proof of Completion certificate. A Proof of Completion certificate evidencing completion of a six-hour education course is valid for a period of two years from the date of issuance. If a person seeking appointment does not pass the notary public examination before expiration of the Proof of Completion certificate, that person will have to satisfactorily complete another six-hour course.
A Proof of Completion certificate evidencing completion of a three-hour refresher course is also valid for two years from the date of issuance. However, a person seeking reappointment must apply and take the notary public examination before expiration of their Proof of Completion certificate and before expiration of their notary public commission.
Once you have obtained your Proof of Completion certificate for the approved notary public education course, you will need to do the following:
- Register for an exam by contacting CPS HR Consulting; and
- Take with you to the exam site your completed notary public application form with the Proof of Completion certificate and a 2" x 2" color passport photo of yourself (stapled to your application).