How to Become a Notary in Ohio

Written by: Nik Ventouris

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How to Become a Notary in Ohio

Looking to make a difference in your community? Let us guide you on a rewarding journey towards a unique profession.

In this comprehensive guide on how to become a notary in Ohio, we lay out the roadmap to achieving this goal. With easy-to-follow, actionable steps, we’ll help you navigate this intriguing process, turning the complex into simple.

Whether you’re looking to serve your community or generate additional income, this article will offer everything you need to know to get started.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which include Ohio’s mandatory training and exam, notary supplies, and five years of notary hotline phone support.

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Become an Ohio Notary

In order to become a notary in Ohio, you will need to complete a few simple steps.

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirements

First and foremost, you will need to make sure that you satisfy all of the essential Ohio notary requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of Ohio or a non-resident attorney who practices law in Ohio and whose principal place of business is in the state
  • Do not have any “disqualifying offenses” on your record

Note: Disqualifying offenses are crimes of moral turpitude, fraud, theft, or violence. If you are interested in finding specific examples, have a look at the Ohio Secretary of State’s List of Disqualifying Offenses.

Step 2: Get a Criminal Records Check

Assuming that you are not a licensed attorney, you will be required to get a criminal records check (BCI) report that is no more than six months old. This will need to be filed alongside your application.

In order to obtain the BCI report, you will need to complete a form and a fingerprint impression sheet at an authorized agent of the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

You can find a link of the authorized agents, as well as book your background check, through Webcheck.

Keep in mind that it can take up to 40 days for you to receive the BCI report; when you do, you will need to upload it to the Secretary of State’s online filing system.

Note: If you are an Ohio Peace Officer, you will not need to file a BCI report, and instead can choose to upload a copy of your Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) certification.

Step 3: Complete Ohio’s Education and Testing Requirements

Next, you will need to contact an authorized education and testing provider in order to complete a three-hour course and pass a test.

The fee for a traditional notary commission is $130. If you are seeking online authorization (i.e., as a remote online notary), you will need to complete a two-hour course and pay a $250 fee instead.

For a full list of approved education course and exam providers, have a look at the Secretary of State’s Education and Testing Information and Authorized Providers page.

Note: Ohio attorneys are not required to take the 3 hour education class in order to submit their application.

Recommended Course

Have a look at the National Notary Association’s packages, which include Ohio’s mandatory training and exam, notary supplies, and five years of notary hotline phone support.

4.5 out of 5 starsNational Notary Association ($150)

Step 4: File Your Notary Application Online

After you have satisfied Ohio’s qualifying, educational, and exam requirements, you will be able to commence with the notary application process.

You can start your New Notary Commission Application online through the SOS’s website.

Keep in mind that you will need to provide:

  • Your email address, phone number, mailing address, and date of birth
  • Your criminal background check 
  • Your certificates of completion from the education and testing provider of your choice
  • An image of your signature

Keep in mind that all attachments must be uploaded in PDF form. There is a $15 filing fee that will need to be paid in order for you to submit your application.

Note: Once you complete this step, you will receive your notary public commission via email. This will include instructions (from the Secretary of State) regarding your oath of office.

Step 5: Protect Yourself with Errors and Omissions Insurance

While not required by law, it’s a good idea to consider protecting yourself with Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance.

This type of insurance provides coverage for any potential mistakes or omissions that you might make as you perform notarial acts. It’s an extra layer of protection that can give you peace of mind while operating for a relatively low opportunity cost.

Step 6: Purchase the Necessary Supplies

Once your Ohio notary commission is approved, you will need to set yourself up with the necessary notary supplies. These include a notary stamp or seal, as well as a notary journal.

The seal is used to authenticate your notarial acts, and the record book is for logging all of the Ohio notary services that you will provide.

How to Become a Notary in Ohio FAQ

How much does it cost to get a notary license in Ohio?

The cost to obtain a notary license in Ohio can vary, but typically includes a $15 application fee and a $130 notary exam fee. Moreover, you will need to purchase E&O insurance, as well as the necessary notary supplies (e.g., notary stamp, etc.). See our How to Become a Notary in Ohio article for more information.

How much money does a notary make in Ohio?

The earning potential for notaries in Ohio can vary, often based on demand, types of services offered, and location. Generally, notaries can charge between $10 to $15 per notarial act, with added income for services like an online notarization. Did you know? The course required for becoming an online notary public is more expensive than its traditional alternative.

Are notaries in demand in Ohio?

Notaries are consistently in demand in Ohio. This is because the ever-growing need for secure transactions and document authentication in the state helps maintain a steady demand for notarial services. Notarial services span various sectors, including legal, real estate, government, and private businesses.

What disqualifies you from being a notary in Ohio?

Potential disqualifications for becoming a notary in Ohio include criminal convictions, any breaches of the Notary Public law, or false information on the notary application. It’s crucial to uphold honesty and integrity as these are fundamental characteristics of an Ohio notary public. See our How to Become a Notary article for more information on everything you need to know.

For all related articles, have a look at our How to Become a Notary page.