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Why Signing Agents Should Embrace Recertification

Signing Agents benefit from recertification

As a Notary Signing Agent and signing service owner, I talk to a lot of NSAs on a daily basis. Recently, I have been hearing rumblings about companies requiring us to not only be certified, but to get recertified on a regular basis. Some are frustrated at the constant demands coming from the people who use our services. Others say it’s a money-making ploy by recertification providers. Truth be told, there are good reasons why we should want to renew our certification — whether or not it’s required.

Regardless of the industry, any independent contractor needs to keep up with all the developments and changes affecting their industry. That makes a difference in the quality of their service and their ability to meet the needs of those who hire them.

For NSAs, being untrained and uninformed is a liability and hinders their business success. For example, I recently had a Notary ask me why there was no HUD-1 in the package. Given last year’s frenzy to implement the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Closing Disclosures rule, I briefly wondered if they were joking. They were not, and I chose not to use their services.

Recertification And Related Fields

Recertification isn’t a new concept. Almost all related fields in the real estate and mortgage industries require some type of continuing education, which varies depending on your state, occupation and original date of licensure.

New York, for example, requires all licensed real estate brokers, associate brokers and salespersons to complete 22.5 hours of approved, continuing education before renewing their licenses. California realtors are required to complete 45 hours of continuing education, and Texas requires 18 hours.

Georgia real estate appraisers must complete 14 hours of continuing education. Colorado requires 42 hours and Iowa 26 hours.

Utah and Louisiana title producers are required to do 12 hours of continuing education while Pennsylvania requires 24 hours and Arkansas 3 hours.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 (SAFE Act) requires that state-licensed mortgage loan originators (MLOs) complete 8 hours of annual NMLS-approved continuing education. 22 states require continuing education hours in addition to those federally mandated.

Notary Education

I don’t know of any state that requires continuing Notary education. Only 18 states have testing or education requirements. Those 18 only touch on actual Notary law, but nothing of what a Notary encounters in their daily practice. That leaves millions of Notaries out there on their own to find the resources which will not only help them to attend to their jobs but keep them out of trouble.

Notaries do a vital, important job. One that should not be taken lightly or for granted. Sometimes, we become complacent in our duties. Education is important for a variety of reasons. It reduces our risk of liability, it gives us a better understanding of what our job entails, it helps us provide our customer with quality service and, most importantly, education increases the professionalism of our industry.

We have seen so many changes in the mortgage industry since the housing market bubble and that is likely to continue. Can you imagine not knowing what the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures (TRID) rule is and having to review the new Closing Disclosure with the borrower? Are you aware of the changes to Fannie Mae’s Form 1003 coming in 2018? Then there are the rapidly changing requirements for protecting consumers’ personal financial information. Without any additional training, you will become a dinosaur in an industry ever evolving.

Lastly, yes, some company will make money based on your need to recertify. As do the companies who cater to appraisers, loan officers and title companies. That doesn’t negate the purpose and importance of continuing education requirements. It just reinforces the idea that we need to continuously train and educate ourselves to stay relevant in the Notary world.

Marcy Tiberio is a NNA 2015 Notary of the Year Honoree and owner of Professional Notary Services, Inc., in Rochester, New York. She can be reached at


1 Comment

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Shirley B. Vanderbeck

19 Apr 2017

I understand the reason for recertification, but disagree that we have to recertify every year. Most certification requirements are 3-4 years and parliamentarians only have to recertify every 6 years. If you are actively engaged as a NSA, then it is our responsibility to keep well informed of any changes in the industry. Recertification for NSAs should be every 4 years the same time frame as for a Notary.

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