According to the Hawaii State Department of Education, the state hired nearly 6,000 new teachers between the 2012-13 and 2016-17 school years. While approximately 30% of the new hires in 2016-17 completed state-approved teacher education programs (SATEP) at colleges and universities in Hawaii, most completed their SATEP program at out-of-state institutions. Roughly 23.5% of the teachers hired in 2016-17 did not hold an SATEP degree. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hawaii reported an unemployment rate of 2.1% in February 2018 ― the lowest among all 50 states.
Teachers may qualify for a standard teaching license in Hawaii if they have completed a SATEP program at the bachelor's level or higher and have at least three years of teaching experience within the past five years. Provisional licenses are available to candidates who have completed a SATEP degree but do not have the requisite years of experience to qualify for the standard license. Alternatively, teachers in Hawaii may earn an advanced license or limited technical license. Hawaii does not accept teaching certificates earned in other states, but out-of-state teachers may apply for a reciprocal teaching license.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hawaii reported an unemployment rate of 2.1% in February 2018 ― the lowest among all 50 states.
Students who wish to earn an online teaching degree in Hawaii can choose from several accredited programs. Leeward Community College offers an online associate degree in teaching, and the University of Hawaii (UH) West O'ahu offers a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. Additionally, UH Mānoa and UH Hilo offer online graduate degrees and certificate programs.
How to Become a Teacher in Hawaii
Requirements for teachers vary from state to state, and state licenses do not automatically transfer. Hawaii participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement, which means that licensed teachers from other states are authorized to teach in Hawaii as long as they meet state standards. Additionally, Hawaii offers full reciprocity to out-of-state applicants who earned their first license on July 1, 2006 or later. However, out-of-state teachers must still apply for a Hawaii teaching license before they can begin work.
To become a teacher in Hawaii, candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree and complete an educator preparation program. New teachers earn a provisional license, which is valid for three years. After successfully teaching for three years, educators are eligible for the full standard teaching license.
Candidates who have completed a SATEP program but do not meet experience requirements and candidates who hold a license in another state must demonstrate their content knowledge. They may do so by submitting proof of sufficient and relevant coursework at the postsecondary level. Hawaii also offers exemptions for certain requirements. For example, out-of-state candidates with a bachelor's degree are not required to take the basic skills assessment, and those who have completed at least thirty course credits in their content field are not required to undergo the content knowledge assessment.
An associate degree is insufficient for obtaining a teaching position in the state of Hawaii. Like most other states, Hawaii requires teachers to hold a bachelor's degree or higher. Additionally, candidates must complete a SATEP program at an accredited college or university that features student teaching at an elementary, middle, or high school setting.
Additionally, candidates may qualify for teaching jobs if they have completed a state-approved licensure program or have earned a teaching license in another state and taught for at least three of the past seven years in that state. Teacher education programs in other countries are also acceptable, provided that an acceptable foreign credential evaluation service has verified the applicant's transcripts.
Teachers who are hired without a Hawaii teaching license are required to complete the requirements of a SATEP program within their first three years of employment.
Teachers who are hired without a Hawaii teaching license are required to complete the requirements of a SATEP program within their first three years of employment. They must apply for an emergency hire special permit for each school year until they receive a full teaching license from the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board. This permit is valid for one year, and may be renewed up to two times. The fee for new emergency hire special permits and permit renewals is $54. Regardless of when the permit is obtained or renewed, it expires on June 30 of the qualifying school year.
Hawaii authorizes licensed educators from other NASDTEC member states to teach in Hawaii as long as the license issued by the 'sending' state is deemed acceptable. At this time, the only states that do not participate in this agreement are New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
Common Courses for Teaching Degrees in Hawaii
Associate Degree in Teaching
|Partnerships with Families||Students learn strategies for working and communicating effectively with families of diverse students, including special education learners. Other topics include family system theory and relevant laws and policies.|
|Developing Language and Literacy||This course covers topics related to phonics, fluency, reading comprehension and other fundamental aspects of literacy instruction. The class is especially useful for aspiring educational assistants, elementary teachers and special education professionals.|
|Educational Media and Technology||Students learn theories, applied principles and skills related to educational media for teachers and learners. Students also discuss media tools used in non-educational settings.|
Bachelor's Degree in Teaching
|Foundations of Inclusive Learning||Students are introduced to the legal, ethical, and sociopolitical elements of special education. The class examines strategies for working with students with disabilities, their families, and other education professionals.|
|Curricular Models in Early Childhood Education||This course examines historical contexts and theories for educating young children. Future educators critique some of the field's most prominent curricular models.|
|Introduction to Middle-level and Secondary Education||This course addresses educational factors that are prominent in learners during grades 6 to 12. Topics include adolescent development and identity. A practicum component allows educators to apply what they have learned firsthand.|
Master's Degree in Teaching
|Seminar in Issues in Special Education||This course surveys emerging trends and patterns in special education, including technology, diversity, and evidence-based practices. Educators also examine developmental disabilities.|
|Education of Ethnic Groups in Hawaii||Students learn about the complex history of education in Hawaii. The course focuses on issues like inter-ethnic prejudice and identity problems associated with different groups, as well as methods of educational outreach and collaboration in Hawaiian communities.|
|School Curriculum||School reform and renewal are focal points in this course. Educators discuss practices for developing and improving school curricula. The class also explores different issues that affect how material is taught and learned in classrooms.|
Certification & Licensing Needed to Become a Teacher in Hawaii
A provisional license is available to teachers who have completed a bachelor's degree and an SATEP program, but do not have teaching experience. As such, it is the most common license for recent graduates. A provisional license is valid for three years, and it is not renewable. The one-time cost is $54.
The standard license is available to teachers who have earned a bachelor's degree or higher, have completed a SATEP program, and have at least three years of teaching experience in the past five years. Additionally, candidates must meet all jurisdiction-specific requirements of the issuing member district. A standard license costs $54. It is valid for five years, and there is no limit on renewals.
The advanced license is reserved for teachers who have earned a master's degree, completed an approved teacher preparation program, and met special jurisdiction-specific requirements not needed for the Standard license. Candidates should also possess at least five years of teaching experience in the past decade. The advanced license, which also costs $54, is valid for 10 years. Teachers may renew the license indefinitely.
A provisional license is available to teachers who have completed a bachelor's degree and an SATEP program, but do not have teaching experience.
Lastly, the career and technical education standard limited license is available to teachers with at least three years of industry experience in their field of instruction. This license restricts teachers from teaching other subject areas. This license costs $54, and is valid for five years with unlimited renewals.
In order to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 ― which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 ― teachers of all subjects in the state must receive the ESSA Hawaii Qualified designation.
This designation carries certain federal requirements. Teachers may become ESSA Hawaii Qualified if they hold a valid, HTSB-issued teaching license in a subject area and grade level. Alternatively, they may become ESSA Hawaii Qualified if they hold a valid Hawaii Qualified Teacher certificate. To earn this designation, teachers must hold a license and do at least one of the following:
- Complete the Praxis Content Exam or another accepted content knowledge exam.
- Obtain a valid National Board Certificate in the subject area of their teaching position.
- Major in the subject area in a college degree program or earn at least 30 credits in the subject area.
- Complete an approved ESSA Hawaii Qualified Teacher Rubric, which awards points based on content-specific professional development and teaching pedagogy.
- Earn a Highly Qualified Teacher Certificate in their subject area.
Choosing a Degree Program in Hawaii
Aspiring teachers can choose from a handful of online teaching programs in the state of Hawaii. Choosing a program can be difficult, and students should take several factors into account when making this crucial decision.
Program cost is a major issue for most applicants. According to the latest data from the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), the average in-state student pays $9,263 in annual tuition and fees, while out-of-state students pay an average of $27,911 per year in tuition and fees. Students may be able to reduce these costs by applying for federal student loans, scholarships, or other forms of financial aid. Some distance learners also work while in school to offset these costs.
Location is another important consideration. The best online colleges and universities provide students with easy access to faculty members and learning resources. Many online colleges allow distance learners to complete student teaching components at a local school. However, some schools require students to teach in a specific state or area. Students should also ensure that the online teaching program they select meets Hawaii teaching requirements.
The duration of an online teaching program typically depends on the degree. A standard associate degree in teaching takes two years to complete, while a bachelor's degree typically requires a four-year commitment. Master's programs last two to three years.
Can You Earn a Teaching Degree Online in Hawaii?
Students seeking an online teaching degree in Hawaii can choose from associate, bachelor's and master's pathways, as well as graduate certificate programs. In order to qualify for a teaching license in the state, students must complete a Hawaii SATEP program. The Hawaii Teacher Standard Board currently lists 13 degree-granting institutions that have achieved SATEP status. A total of three organizations have accredited these institutions: the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC).
Students must demonstrate proficiency during their Hawaii SATEP program in order to qualify for licensure recommendation. They may do this in one of three ways:
- Complete a traditional student teaching experience, internship, or residency that meets program accreditation requirements.
- Provide proof of work experience in certain teaching roles, such as substitute teaching or teaching in a private school where licensing isn't required. Students who choose this option must undergo SATEP observation.
- Pass an HTSB-approved performance assessment that meets Hawaii state guidelines.
Students who fulfill SATEP requirements and complete their online teaching degree are qualified for a teaching license in the state of Hawaii.
Directory of Teaching Schools in Hawaii
Paying for Your Teaching Degree in Hawaii
A teaching degree represents a significant investment for most students. Many rely on financial aid in order to afford their degree. Federal student loans are one option. Unlike private loans, federal loans have a fixed interest rate and do not need to be paid back until the student graduates or leaves school.
Several federal loan options are available. Direct subsidized loans are available to undergraduates with significant financial need. Direct unsubsidized loans are available to both undergraduate and graduate students. Each undergraduate receives $5,500 to $12,500 in subsidized or unsubsidized loans per year, depending on factors like cost of attendance. Each graduate student receives up to $20,500 in unsubsidized loans per year. Students with exceptional financial need may also qualify for Perkins loans, which amount to $5,500 for undergraduate students and $8,000 for graduate students. In order to qualify for federal assistance, candidates must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
Additionally, students can apply for scholarships and grants, which – unlike student loans – do not need to be paid back. Teachers may also qualify for loan forgiveness by working at certain institutions after they complete their degree program.
Loan Forgiveness for Hawaii Teachers
The U.S. Department of Education oversees the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program. Under this program, teachers who work full-time for at least five consecutive years at a low-income school or educational service agency may receive forgiveness for up to $17,500 of their direct loans. Additionally, teachers are eligible for Perkins loan cancellation if they teach at a school serving low-income students. These educators must teach special education classes or teach a subject for which Hawaii has a teacher shortage.
According to the Hawaii Young Professional Educators, an affiliate of the Hawaii State Teachers Association and the National Education Association, teachers qualify for loan forgiveness of $5,000 to $17,500 after teaching five years at a Title 1 school. They may also be eligible for Perkins Loan cancellation. Additionally, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness eliminates loans for professionals working in nonprofits or government entities such as schools. Recipients must make 120 qualifying payments while working in public service. Once these requirements have been met, the government eliminates the remaining loan balance. Teachers may take advantage of both Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Teacher Loan Forgiveness, but their years in these programs cannot overlap.
Scholarships for Hawaii Teaching Students
Scholarships are widely available for all college students. Some awards specifically target aspiring teachers and education majors who are earning their degrees in specific states or regions. The following scholarships are available to applicants pursuing teaching degrees in Hawaii.
Hawaii Education Association Student Teacher Scholarship $3,000
Hawaii Community Foundation Scholarships $2,500
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Scholarship Varies
Alma White ― Delta Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma Scholarship $500 to $5,000
Job Outlook and Salary for Teachers in Hawaii
|Location||Employment||Annual Mean Wage|
The median annual salary for all teachers in Hawaii is roughly $1,600 below the average earnings for all teachers in the United States. However, teachers of certain grade levels in the state earn wages that are higher than the national average. Non-special education elementary teachers in Hawaii, for instance, earn $59,790 per year, compared to the national average salary of $55,800. Middle and high school teachers in Hawaii also reported higher earnings than the national averages for their respective professions. According to data from the Hawaii Department of Education, earnings for teachers are directly tied to their years of experience, as well as successful completion of a SATEP program.
Salaries for teaching positions in Hawaii often depend on location. In Honolulu, Hawaii's largest city, elementary and middle school teachers earn more than $60,000 per year. In the Kahului-Wailuku-Lahaina metropolitan area on the island of Maui, the median annual salary is approximately $56,000. However, preschool and secondary teachers in this city earn slightly higher salaries than those teaching in Honolulu. In nonmetropolitan areas on the islands of Hawaii and Kauai, the median annual salary for preschool teachers is $37,210, while the salaries for elementary, middle and high school teachers all fall between $58,000 and $60,000.
|Elementary School Teachers||$59,790|
|Middle School Teachers||$59,480|
|Secondary School Teachers||$59,250|
Frequently Asked Questions About Teaching in Hawaii
How do I become a teacher in Hawaii?
What is the Hawaii ranking in education?
How long does it take to get a teaching certificate in Hawaii?
How much do teachers make in Hawaii?
Resources for Teachers in Hawaii
- Hawaii State Department of Education The official page for Hawaii's Department of Education contains a wealth of resources for teachers and education majors. These include guidelines for curricular standards and testing, as well as resources for driver's education, library services, and extracurricular activities. The site also features tools and materials for parents and students.
- Hawaii Public Schools Employment Report This statistical analysis from the State of Hawaii Department of Education features more than a dozen data tables related to job placement for teachers in the state. The report discloses teacher race and gender, SATEP completion, employment location, and specific job titles.
- Hawaii Teacher Standards Board The official website of the HTSB includes detailed information about teacher licensing and permitting in Hawaii, including criteria for all four license levels. The site also features guidelines for teacher and librarian standards, as well as a collection of resources related to Hawaiian culture, history and language.
- Hawaii Education Association The HEA offers a handful of scholarships, including awards for high school students, undergraduates, student teachers, and educators. The association also hosts Teaching as a Career (TAAC), a program that promotes the teaching profession among high school clubs and organizations.
- Hawaii Young Professional Educators Established in 2015, this professional association represents pre-service and active teachers throughout the state. The HYPE's degrees not debt page contains information about loan repayment, forgiveness, and cancellation for teachers in Hawaii. The organization's student program is open to undergraduate and graduate students earning degrees at on-campus and online institutions throughout the state.