West Coast Notary School
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West Coast Notary School

How it Works

Steps to becoming a notary public in California.

Step 1: Take a State Approved Course

Good news! Our online notary course satisfies the mandatory pre-license requirement by the state of California.

Step 2: Take The State Exam

  • Bring a number 2 pencil
  • Bring a $40 check payable to: Secretary of State
  • Bring a 2"x2" Color "Passport" Photograph
  • Bring a valid photo ID
  • Bring a notary application
  • The test is:
    • 30 questions
    • Multiple choice
    • 50 minutes to complete
    • 70% or higher is a passing grade
Step 3: Test Scores

Receive letter in the mail saying ’You have passed’

  • You can go online to: CPSHR.us to view your test score. Test results should be posted 8-10 business days after the exam.

Step 4: Live Scan

Submit live scan fingerprints to the Department of Justice and FBI for your thorough background check.

  • Cannot be a convicted felon
  • Live scan application is included with your mailed test results.
  • Download Live Scan Form

Step 5: Processing Period

Wait for your commission paperwork to arrive (5-8 weeks from exam date). For renewing notaries, the commission paperwork for the new commission will be mailed out no sooner than 1 month prior to commission expiration.

You can check current processing times here.

Step 6: Notary Supplies

Order your official notary stamp/embosser and bond

Step 7: Notary Bond

File your 4-year/$15,000 bond and oath of office with the county clerk

Congratulations, You're Finished!

More Information About Notary Public Qualifications

Every person appointed as a notary public shall:

  • be 18 years of age or older (there is no maximum age set by statute);
  • be a legal California resident;
  • satisfactorily complete a written examination prescribed by the Secretary of State's office;
  • be able to read, write, and understand English; and
  • clear a background check

Notary course proof of completion.

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.


To determine if a person meets the requirements to fulfill the responsibilities of the position, a completed application shall be submitted at the examination site. The application is forwarded to the Office of the Secretary of State and reviewed by Secretary of State staff for qualifying information. Once an applicant has passed the examination, the applicant will be required to have his/her fingerprints submitted via live scan as part of a thorough background check. Commissioned notaries seeking reappointment with less than a six-month break in service are not required to have their fingerprints retaken. Those applicants who have held a notary public commission in the past, but have had a break in their commission of more than six months, are required to have their fingerprints submitted via live scan.

Child Support

Applicants found to be non-compliant with child or family support orders will be issued temporary term commissions. Notaries found to be non-compliant after the commission is issued may be subject to commission suspension or revocation.


State law requires all applicants be fingerprinted as part of a background check prior to being granted an appointment as a notary public. Information concerning the fingerprinting requirement will be mailed to candidates who pass the examination.

You are required to disclose all arrests and convictions on your application. Convictions dismissed under Penal Code Section 1203.4 or 1203.4a must be disclosed. If you have any questions concerning the disclosure of convictions or arrests, contact the Secretary of State prior to signing the application.

If you do not recall the specifics about your arrest(s) and or conviction(s), you can contact the California Department of Justice at (916) 227-3849.

The Secretary of State will recommend denial of an application for the following reasons:

  • Failure to disclose any arrest or conviction; or
  • Conviction of a felony; or
  • Conviction of a disqualifying misdemeanor where not more than 10 years have passed since the completion of probation.


Note: When a recommendation is made to deny an application, the applicant has the right to appeal the recommendation through the administrative hearing process.

Get Started Online Today
6-Hour Online Notary Course with Instant Proof of Completion
Only $49.99   Add to Cart

3-Hour Online Notary Course with Instant Proof of Completion
Only $39.99  Add to Cart

What's The Difference?

State Certified
West Coast Notary School, Inc.
Approved by the Secretary of State as required by California Government Code section 8201.2.
State of California Vendor:
No. 606012 & No. 306013
Q: I forgot my password?
A: Click here and enter your email and we'll send you your password.

Q: How can I schedule my State Exam?
A: Click here for the state exam schedules and registration.

Q: How do I contact the Secretary of State?
A: Click here for the Secretary of State's website.

Q: What is the complete process to become a certified notary?
A: View the Checklist provided by the Secretary of State.

Q: Is the California notary exam difficult?
A: The California notary exam is a 30 question exam in which you have 50 minutes to complete. You must achieve a score of 70 percent to pass. Although the test can be difficult at times , West Coast Notary School's comprehensive course will provide you with the necessary tools, to not only succeed but to learn the information.

Q: Can I receive a refund?
A: The course is 100% refundable as long as you have not completed it. No refunds will be issued once the certificate of completion has been created.

Q: How soon will I receive my certificate and do I have to pay extra for it?
A: The certificate of completion can be downloaded or printed as soon as you successfully complete the course at no extra charge!

Q: How long will I have access to complete the course?
A: Once you enroll, you have 365 days to complete the course.

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