Step 1: Earn a Nursing Degree
The first step to becoming a forensic nurse is to earn a nursing degree. There are a number of ways to become a nurse. Here are some common paths:
- Licensed practical nurse to registered nurse (LPN to RN)
- Registered nurse to master of science in nursing (RN to MSN)
Step 2: Pass Licensing Exams
The second step is to pass a nurse licensing examination in your state. Nursing license requirements vary by state. You’ll want to find the unique requirements for the state in which you live or want to work.
Step 3: Earn a Forensic Nursing Certificate
Certification isn’t required to work as a forensic nurse, but it can help you enter the field. The IAFN offers two certifications for forensic nursing: sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE-A works with adults and SANE-P works with pediatrics) and advanced forensic nursing (AFN-BC), which can only be renewed.
Step 4: Apply for Jobs as a Forensic Nurse
Obtaining state licensure and a certificate in forensic nursing, may increase your chances of getting hired as a forensic nurse. Again, it is not required that you get a SANE certification to become a forensic nurse but it could help with applications and hiring.