Guide to Becoming a Teacher in Hawaii

If you love to the ocean, enjoy summer weather year round, and have a cultural appreciation for Hawaii’s unique culture and history, becoming a teacher on in Hawaii may be the perfect choice for you. has created a guide to help you navigate your career path from start to finish.  To begin, anyone hoping to teach in Hawaii will need to complete the following critical steps:

1. Choosing a Program: First, you will need to find an education program that supports your budget and short- and long-term career goals.

  • Finding an appropriate program can be challenging. What matters to you as a student? Is cost a major concern? Are you concerned about the program’s graduation rate or job placement rate? Asking the right questions upfront will help you find a program that meets your academic and career goals while remaining within your budget. Do you hope to teach in Hawaii throughout your career or possibly teach in other states? If so, can the degree be used to obtain teacher licensure nationwide? If there are restrictions, where are they applicable?

2. Planning for Licensure in Hawaii: To become a teacher in Hawaii, you’ll need to complete at least a bachelor’s degree, a teacher preparation program and the state’s applicable certification exams.

3. Entering the Workforce: Once you’ve completed an education program and passed the applicable exams, you will be ready to enter the job market and launch your teaching career in Hawaii.

  • To get started, it is important to assess where you hope to teach. Are you interested in working in a city or in one of Hawaii’s smaller communities?  What are your lifestyle priorities and salary expectations? What special skills and talents do you have and what type of school would benefit most from these assets? Are you already familiar with Hawaii’s indigenous culture, history and language and if not, are you willing to learn?  Throughout this process, it is critical to continue developing your resume, expanding your education (e.g., by completing professional development courses for teachers), and gaining additional classroom experience.  If you don’t already have a deep level of familiarity with Hawaii’s indigenous culture, this would be a great time to take a course in Ōlelo Hawaiʻi (local principals will look more favorably on anyone who can demonstrate at least some fluency this local language). 

Choosing an Education Program in Hawaii understands that choosing the right education program can be a difficult task. With the aid of a complex algorithmic tool, we have reviewed, tested and documented the top education programs in Hawaii. Keeping prospective teachers’ most pressing priorities in mind, our rankings focus on total expense, student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates, potential earnings, and over all return on investment.

All the schools on’s list below are committed to excellence and have proven themselves to be among the very best places to pursue an education degree in Hawaii. Find out which schools rank best at the bachelor’s and master’s levels in education.

Brigham Young University-Hawaii

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 14 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 19080
  • Acceptance rate 36.04 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 41027
  • Graduation Rate 47.38 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 10000

University of Hawaii at Manoa

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 13 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 39616
  • Acceptance rate 80.09 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 41027
  • Graduation Rate 56.11 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 19509

University of Hawaii-West Oahu

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 20 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 25344
  • Acceptance rate 76.43 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 41027
  • Graduation Rate 25 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 12500

Chaminade University of Honolulu

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 11 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 80360
  • Acceptance rate 83.59 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 41027
  • Graduation Rate 37.15 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 24082

Hawaii Pacific University

  • Student to Faculty Ratio 15 :1
  • Total expected expense for a bachelors degree$ 80720
  • Acceptance rate 64.11 %
  • Average state starting salary$ 41027
  • Graduation Rate 39.92 %
  • Median Graduate Debt incurred$ 25000

Ranking Factors Explained

Our ranking data is based upon, IPEDS, and the Carnegie Foundation data sets.

How to Become a Teacher in Hawaii

There are several ways to become a licensed teacher in the State of Hawaii:

  • Pathway 1: To obtain a provisional or Stage 2 Teacher License, one must complete a bachelor’s degree, an approved teacher education program and pass the state’s applicable Praxis exams.
  • Pathway 2: Another popular option is the Stage 4 Teacher License; this license is available to candidates who have completed a master’s degree or higher, an approved teacher preparation program and to pass the state’s applicable Praxis exams.
  • Pathway 3: The final common option is to become a licensed teacher in another U.S. state and to apply for a Hawaii license through the state’s reciprocal agreement; notably, the type of license issued will depend on whether or not you hold a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree at the time of application.

What is the Teaching Job Outlook in the State of Hawaii?

In 2015, there were 100 kindergarten teachers, 5,940 elementary teachers, 1,930 middle school teachers and 3,560 high school teachers working in Hawaii. In addition, several thousand Hawaiians reported working as educators at the postsecondary level and over 10,000 reported working as either substitute teachers or teaching assistants.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6% to 12% rate of growth in positions for teachers over the coming decade across the United States. With most areas of the Hawaiian Islands already developed, Hawaii is neither expected to experience major population growth nor a major surge in the demand for teachers. That said, with projected retirements, jobs for teachers will continue to open up at all levels.

What Resources are Available to Teachers in Hawaii?

  • Hawaii’s main governing body for education is the Hawaii Department of Education; the Hawaii DOE enforces educational policies, oversees the state’s curriculum and makes key decisions about testing statewide.
  • Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) is a union that represents teachers across the state. The mission of the HSTA is to support the professional roles that teachers have in the State of Hawaii, advocate for teachers interests, promote the civil and human rights for teachers and collaborate with all segments of the Hawaiian communities to ensure that public education equality is enhanced for both teachers and students.
  • In Hawaii, the Hawaii Teachers Standards Board (HTSB) is another important educational organization; the HTSB oversees licensing standards and testing for teachers statewide.

What Online Teaching Programs are Available for Teachers in the State of Hawaii?

While many of Hawaii’s residents reside in urban areas, for those who live on outlying islands in remote communities, there are options. The College of Education at the University of Hawaii Manoa, for example, offers an hybrid online and face-to-face option for residents of neighboring islands. Notably, since the program takes place both face-to-face and online, the college offers a travel stipend to assist students who need support traveling to in-person meetings.

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