The Top Nursing Schools in Hawaii

March 2, 2022 , Modified on June 21, 2022 · 6 Min Read

If you dream of living and working in Hawaii, the demand for nurses is high. Learn about the best nursing schools in Hawaii and how to earn your Hawaii nursing license.

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The Top Nursing Schools in Hawaii
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Hawaii is a beautiful state, with year-round tropical weather and natural wonders. In addition, the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) pass rate for nursing programs in Hawaii is above the national average.

This guide can help you find the best nursing school in Hawaii for your career goals and explores how to earn a Hawaii nursing license. Read on for more on choosing a school and working as a nurse in Hawaii.

The Best Nursing Schools in Hawaii

There are nine associate degree in nursing (ADN) and bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) programs in Hawaii and two advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) programs. The average NCLEX-RN pass rate is 91.3%, higher than the national rate of 86.6%.

This guide lists only accredited nursing programs.

Our Methodology: We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best nursing schools in Hawaii, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.

Featured Online MSN Programs

How to Choose a Nursing Program in Hawaii

When choosing a nursing school in Hawaii, consider the costs and financial aid, the school's reputation and NCLEX-RN pass rate, the admission requirements and acceptance rate, and the program logistics. If you plan to attend an online nursing program in Hawaii, make sure you can find local clinical placement.

Why Become a Nurse in Hawaii

Hawaii nurses earn some of the highest rates in the country. The average salary for RNs is more than 35% higher than the national median salary, and the nurse practitioner (NP) salary is more than 10% higher. While the cost of living is higher, nurse salaries are still above the average salary for the state.

Hawaii is world-famous for its natural beauty. Temperatures generally range from 75-85°F and the weather is almost always sunny. People come from around the world for Hawaii's water activities, such as snorkeling and surfing, and for gorgeous hiking trails.

Salary and Job Outlook for Nurses in Hawaii

Hawaii is the most expensive state to live in. The cost-of-living index is 185.6, almost double the national index of 100. However, the average RN salary is $104,830, and the average NP salary is $118,780, compared to the national median RN salary of $75,330 and the national NP median salary of $117,670, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Learn more about RN salaries in Hawaii.

The number of RN jobs in Hawaii is projected to grow 12.2% between 2018 and 2018, compared to a 12.1% national growth projection. The BLS also expects a 23.8% growth for NP jobs, slower than the 28.2% national projection, but still a high average.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects a surplus of 3,300 nurses by 2030, but these projections do not factor the number of nurses leaving healthcare during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. The surplus may be smaller. Also, nursing schools in Hawaii are experiencing faculty shortages, which limits the number of graduates.

Because of Hawaii's geographical layout, even the cities aren't far from the outdoor recreation that draws so many people to Hawaii. Most Hawaiians live on O'ahu, where Honolulu is located. Kahului — Wailuku — Lahaina make up the island of Maui to the northeast of O'ahu.

Highest-Paying Cities for Nurses in Hawaii
Top Paying Metropolitan Areas Average Salary for RNs
Kahului — Wailuku — Lahaina $101,080
Urban Honolulu $106,770
Source: BLS

Steps to Becoming a Nurse in Hawaii

Every state has RN requirements where you must earn a nursing license by attending nursing school, passing the NCLEX-RN or APRN board examinations, and completing a criminal background check. The Hawaii state board of nursing requires that if you do not pass the NCLEX-RN examination after three tries (whether in Hawaii or another state), you must take a 60-hour remedial course before you can retake the examination.

RN Requirements

To become an RN in Hawaii, you must graduate from an ADN or BSN degree program and pass the NCLEX exam. To apply for a license, you must send a copy of an official government ID and your Social Security card to the state board of nursing. Have your school send a sealed copy of your transcript, and submit your fingerprints for a criminal background check.

APRN Requirements

For an APRN license, you must have a current RN license and a master of science in nursing (MSN) or a doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree. You also need to pass the board certification examination for your specialization.

In Hawaii, APRNs have full-practice authority. You must send your official sealed MSN or DNP transcript to the state board of nursing, along with a copy of your Social Security card and an official government ID.

Other Top Nursing Programs in Hawaii

Frequently Asked Questions About Nursing in Hawaii


How long does it take to be a nurse in Hawaii?

It takes two years to earn an ADN and four years to earn a BSN degree, whether you attend nursing school in Hawaii or another state. A BSN takes longer, but it can be more valuable for higher-level positions or if you want to earn an MSN.

Applications generally take 45-60 working days to process.

How much does nursing school cost in Hawaii?

For in-state tuition, ADN nursing schools in Hawaii generally cost between $3,000-$6,000 annually. BSN programs at public schools cost around $15,000-$18,000 for in-state students, and private or out-of-state public schools can cost $30,000 or more.

If you attend an on-campus nursing program in Hawaii, consider the cost of living too.

Are nurses in demand in Hawaii?

Nurses are in high demand in Hawaii, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and aging population. Because Hawaii is an attractive retirement destination, the demand for nurses should remain high.

Is it hard to get a nursing job in Hawaii?

Nursing jobs are growing faster in the U.S. as a whole than in Hawaii, and there is a projected surplus of nurses in 2030. However, the demand for nurses is still high, especially because of COVID-19 and a shortage of faculty in nursing schools in Hawaii.

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NurseJournal.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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