Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

General questions about Advantage’s courses and Pass the Test Promise

Are your courses approved by the California Secretary of State?

Yes. Our courses have been approved by the California Secretary of State as meeting or exceeding the notary public educational requirements. Our Notary Public Education Vendor numbers are 607114 (6-hour course) and 307115 (3-hour course).

How long will I have access to my 6-hour/3-hour course?

From the date of purchase/enrollment, you will have 30 days of unrestricted access to all course materials, quizzes, and videos, as well as unlimited State Exam practice tests. If you would like more time to lock in your notary knowledge, simply purchase a re-enrollment and pick up where you left off!

What is the Pass the Test Promise?

At Advantage Online Notary Training, we take pride in our custom classroom system. It is carefully designed to provide you with all the knowledge you need to pass the state exam the first time and become a successful California notary public. However, if you don’t pass, let us know, and we’ll extend your classroom access for an additional 30 days of unrestricted study time for free. No risk, all reward!

Becoming a Notary & Renewing a Notary Commission

General questions about how to become a notary public in California and renewing a notary commission

What is a notary public?

The California Secretary of State defines a Notary Public as “a public official who performs valuable services to the legal, business, financial and real estate communities by certifying or witnessing signatures on official documents.” For their services, the notary can receive a fee from their customer.

Notaries are a necessary part of many professions such as real estate, law, finance, and insurance. Notaries can work as independent contractors or employees; from home or in an office; part-time or full-time. The notary profession can fit easily into any lifestyle to provide supplemental income. Or combine your notary skills with additional services for a highly profitable career!

How do I become a notary in California?

To meet the growing demand for qualified notaries public, the state of California has developed a comprehensive process for motivated individuals like you who are ready to take on the challenge.

First, let’s make sure you qualify. Before starting the notary process, you must meet all of the following requirements. You must:

  • be 18 years of age or older
  • be a legal California resident
  • complete a course of study approved by the Secretary of State such as an Advantage Online Notary Training course
  • satisfactorily complete and pass a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State
  • clear a background check

Detailed information on these requirements can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.

If you meet all of the requirements, you are ready to start the Notary process:

  1. Complete approved education such as an Advantage Online Notary Training course
  2. Register for the Exam
  3. Take the Exam
  4. Submit fingerprints via LiveScan
  5. Await your commission package
  6. Purchase notary public supplies
  7. File a notary public oath and bond

It’s that easy. You can start today and be ready to take the State Exam by tomorrow!

I am currently a notary public. When should I begin my reappointment process?

The Secretary of State recommends that you begin your reappointment process at least 6 months prior to the expiration date of your current notary public commission. Because the Notary Public Exam results are valid for a period of 1 year, you can start the reappointment process up to a year prior to the expiration date of your current commission.

Enrollment

Outlining the difference between 3-hour and 6-hour courses as well as general Advantage enrollment information

Should I take the 3-hour course or the 6-hour course?

Enroll in the 6-hour course if you:

  • are an aspiring California notary public (you have never held a California notary public commission).
  • have held a California notary public commission, but your commission has expired or will expire prior to applying for a new commission.

Enroll in the 3-hour course if you:

  • are a California notary public with an active commission that will not expire prior to applying for your new commission, and you have satisfactorily completed a 6-hour notary public education course in the past.
I am already a California notary. Is this course required to renew my certification?

If you are a renewing notary public who has already taken a 6-hour course, you can take the approved 3-hour refresher educational course specifically designed for renewing notaries. In order to meet the requirement for the 3-hour refresher course, you must apply for reappointment of your notary commission before your current commission expires. If your commission expires before your application is made for a new commission, you will need to take another approved 6-hour course before being reappointed as a notary.

I’m renewing my commission. Which course should I take?

In order to meet the requirement to take the three-hour refresher course, you must apply for reappointment before your current commission expires. If your commission expires before the application is made for a new commission, you must take an approved six-hour course.

Even if your commission has not expired you can still take a six-hour course, if you wish. A six-hour approved education course always satisfies the education requirement, regardless if you are a new applicant or applying for reappointment.

My 30-day class access has expired. Can I extend my enrollment?

Absolutely! You are free to extend course access as many times as you like.

When course access expires, all course progress and quiz scores are retained for a limited time; so if you would like additional study time, simply add the course to your cart again, pay the re-enrollment fee, and pick up where you left off for an additional 30 days of flexible learning.

What payment methods do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards.

Virtual Classroom & Learning Environment

Answering the most popular questions about Advantage’s convenient and user-friendly online training format

How long will I have access to my online class?

We are invested in your success, so, from the date of your enrollment, Advantage gives you a full 30 days of unrestricted study time. In addition to the standard study materials, you will have full access to all videos, free downloads, and unlimited practice exams.

If you would like more time to lock in your notary knowledge, simply re-enroll for an additional 30 days. Simply add the course to your cart, pay the re-enrollment fee, and pick up where you left off. There’s no rush; enjoy an unlimited number of pay-as-you-go course extensions.

How long will it take to complete the course?

All Advantage courses are self-paced, so how long it takes to complete the course is ultimately up to you. While there is no maximum, the Secretary of State does require a minimum study time, as noted below.

Aspiring notaries and renewing notaries public with expired commissions are required to spend at least six hours studying the training materials of the 6-hour course.

Renewing notaries with current commissions are required to spend a minimum of three hours reviewing the material included in the 3-hour course.

Advantage’s training is conveniently online and self-paced, so beyond the required 6- or 3-hour minimums, we give you the freedom to decide when you’re ready to take the State Exam.

Please note, access to study materials expire after 30 days, but if you’re not ready to take the State Exam, don’t worry. You are welcome to extend your study time as often as you wish with unlimited pay-as-you-go extensions!

Do I have to take the entire course at once? Can I stop and resume my lessons later?

During your 30-day enrollment period, you can logout of your virtual classroom and return as many times as you wish.

How will I know when I’ve studied for the required three/six hours?

Your classroom will tell you! Each course includes a handy digital timer that tracks each minute you’re logged in to the learning center. If you would like to know how long you have studied, simply click on the course dashboard to view the timer.

If I receive my Proof of Course Completion before my 30-day class time expires, can I still access my Learning Center?

Absolutely! Your online notary class will continue to be open to you for the full 30-day enrollment period, regardless if you complete the course on day 1 or day 29. In addition to the standard study materials, you will continue to have full access to all videos, free downloads, and unlimited practice exams.

What if I need more than 30 days to study?

Take as much time as you need; there’s no limit to the number of 30-day extensions you can purchase.

Do you have notary practice exams or tests I can take?

Yes, we do! State Exam practice tests are included in both the 6-hour and 3-hour course for FREE!

Inside your Personal Learning Center, you have access to unlimited practice tests, including chapter quizzes to help you retain what you read and robust practice exams to measure your learning progress. Our database is filled with over 350 quiz and exam questions, so you will never take the same test twice!

How do I request my Proof of Course Completion?

Congratulations on completing your online notary training! Per the California Secretary of State, all training providers are required to verify student study time. At the end of your required study period (6 hours or 3 hours), you will have access to the Declaration of Course Completion form. Once you complete and submit the declaration, the information will be confirmed, and the Proof of Course Completion will be emailed to you in only 24 hours. Even after requesting the Proof of Course Completion document, you will continue to have access to your course and all course materials for the full 30 days of your enrollment period.

Please note, the Proof of Course Completion is provided in pdf format. This is a popular file format, so most computers come with a pdf reader program pre-installed. If you do not have access to pdf reader software, the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC (previously Adobe Acrobat Reader) program is free to install on your computer or mobile device, you can download it directly from Adobe: https://get.adobe.com/reader/.

State Exam

Answers to the most common questions about the California notary public State Exam

How do I register for the State Exam?

The California Notary Public Exams are administered by CPS HR Consulting and registration can be made online through CPS HR Consulting or by calling CPS HR Consulting at (916) 263-3520.

What do I need to bring to my notary exam?
  • A current photo identification (e.g. California Driver’s License or Identification Card issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles)
  • A complete current Notary Public Application form
  • A 2″ x 2″ color passport photo of yourself
  • The Proof of Completion certificate supplied by Advantage Online Notary Training for your 6-hour or 3-hour approved education course
  • The registration confirmation letter supplied by CPS HR Consulting
  • Sharpened No. 2 lead pencils
  • The $40.00 exam and application processing fee in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Secretary of State. For applicants who have previously taken the exam and did not pass, the exam fee is $20.00. Cash is not accepted at the exam site.
How many questions are on the notary exam?

As of July 1, 2019, all tests consist of 45 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 60 minutes.

What is a passing score on the State Exam?

You must score 70% or higher to pass

Can the State Exam be taken online?

No. The California Secretary of State requires that all notaries be tested in person at a location approved by CPS HR Consulting. To register for an exam near you, visit https://exam-registration.cpshr.us/notary/exam-registration

All Other FAQs

Have more questions? Click below.

Additional FAQs

Information changes quickly. To ensure the answers we provide you include the most up-to-date data, we have linked to the California Secretary of State’s FAQs page. Click below for answers to frequently asked questions on notary public commissions, stamps, and journals as well as detailed information on apostilles.

Secretary of State Notary Public FAQs