Why Notary Training Is Crucial

There are a number of states that don't require any type of formal training to become a Notary Public. Texas is one of those states, and so is New Mexico. I have been asked during appointments, What does it take to become a Texas notary public? I have gotten to the point where I am almost embarrassed to answer this question. As notaries, we play such a vital role in the communities that we serve, it's hard to believe that there are no training requirements for some states.

I have come across local notaries who tell me, I'm a notary public, but I've never done anything with it. Many people become notaries to notarize documents for their employers. Unfortunately, some employee notaries soon feel very comfortable notarizing documents for other company employees and don't necessarily follow all the state rules governing the notarization process.

I was once at a signing with an attorney and his wife (here in Texas). His wife was a notary public at her place of employment. She shared an experience she once had as a notary. By the way, she had never received any formal notary training. It seems that since she was just notarizing documents for employees of her employer, she did not feel it necessary to use her notary journal. The use of a notary journal is not optional in Texas; it is a requirement. At any rate, one of the documents she had notarized was being used in court, and a copy of the notary journal page was requested for the court proceedings. Well, lo and behold, there was no journal copy, because she had not been using a journal. She said they made a big deal out of it, and, if I remember correctly, she was also fined. She even confided in me how scared she was during the whole process.

Anyway, I shared the story above to make a point. Even though there may not be any mandatory training for your state, that does not give you an excuse not to follow the state laws and regulations governing your notary commission. The excuse I didn't know is not viable. Every notary public should make a conscious effort to learn the rules and regulations governing his or her commission.

The American Association of Notaries believes that state agencies that commission notaries public must offer free training to all notaries. The training must be comprehensive, cover applicable laws and regulations, and provide the instruction needed to ensure that they are able to properly serve their communities as notaries public.

-- Phyllis Traylor, U.S. Army Retired is a Contributing Writer with the American Association of Notaries

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