You need to have a bc with a raised seal on it. A certified one will not be good enough unless the seal of the county you were born in is on it as well. And it is returned to you. You can expedite a passport if you need to get it in a rush. Expedited service will cost extra.. but you get it within 2 weeks. Go to http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
for info on passports and finding a service center near you. Larger cities have State Dept passport centers in them.... otherwise you can always go to a local post office.