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Become an RN by earning at least an Associate’s degree and passing your state’s nursing exam.
Work as an RN for at least two years.
Complete the requisite number of work hours in the specialty field in which you wish to become certified. There are a number of specialty certifications available, from ambulance work to psychiatric work to neonatal nursing. Generally, 2,000 hours of work experience in your specialty area is required before you can seek certifications, but verify the specific requirements for your certification on the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) website, or, if neonatal or obstetrics care is your specialty, the National Certification Corporation
Take the required number of continuing education classes in your specialty area, if applicable.
Register for your exam. Both ANCC and NCC give paper and pencil exams once a year and computer based tests throughout the year. To register, you must download the appropriate application for the certification you are seeking from the ANCC or NCC website, complete it and mail it with the requested supporting documentation verifying your credentials to the address on the application. You must also submit a testing fee. These fees vary depending on what kind of exam you take and what professional organizations you belong to. As of 2010, the testing fees ranged from $270 to $390.