Hawaii Nursing Schools and Programs

June 7, 2021 · 6 Min Read

Top Hawaii Nursing Schools, Colleges & Degree Programs There is some confusion about whether or not Hawaii is currently facing a nursing shortage or not. There are four schools in Hawaii that are accredited with the American Association of Colleges...

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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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Hawaii Nursing Schools and Programs

Schools, Licensing Requirements, and Resources

Students researching online nursing programs in Hawaii can review this guide to explore opportunities in the state. Prospective students learn why they should enroll and what courses they might take. Readers can also explore licensing and state requirements for different nursing types, salary and employment information, and resources specifically for nurses practicing in Hawaii.

Read on to learn more about online nursing programs in Hawaii.

Why Attend Online Nursing Programs in Hawaii?

While Hawaii features the 18th-highest tuition costs for in-state and out-of-state students at public institutions, learners can explore a variety of scholarship opportunities along with other financial aid possibilities specific to students pursuing a degree in Hawaii.

The state boasts a picturesque landscape, featuring islands, a tropical environment, and scenic beaches. Many learners are attracted to the state for the unique experiences they can enjoy by enrolling in a Hawaii school.

Featured Online Programs

How to Become a Nurse in Hawaii

Hawaii nursing school graduates generally follow the same path to licensure as their peers in other states. When it comes to licensing, every state's board of nursing establishes details, such as application fees and procedural steps. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from attending nursing school in Hawaii.

  • 1. Choose the Path That's Right for You

    Entry-level nurses need at least a two-year associate degree in nursing (ADN) to qualify for registered nurse (RN) licensure. Students can earn this degree at one of Hawaii's on-campus or online RN programs. The Institute of Medicine and the American Nurses Association recommend all RNs hold a four-year bachelor's degree. Many working RNs return to school to complete online RN-to-BSN programs in Hawaii. Most new nursing students pursue a four-year bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program. If your career goals extend to advanced practice nursing or teaching, you can continue your studies at the postgraduate level with a master of science in nursing (MSN) or doctoral program.
  • 2. Earn Your Nursing Degree

    As you evaluate nursing schools in Hawaii, ask yourself how each program can help you achieve your career goals. Aspiring nurses often take advantage of the flexibility an online nursing degree offers. Carefully consider whether online study meets your needs. All nursing programs in Hawaii carry prerequisite requirements. Assess program logistics, including class length, part-time availability, and the time it takes to graduate. Pay attention to clinical experience and internship requirements, and make sure you can meet them.
  • 3. Pass the Licensing Exam and Earn Your License

    Though learners can access standalone exam prep tools, nursing schools in Hawaii design their curricula to prepare graduates for the NCLEX-RN licensing examination. Shortly before graduation, students must apply for professional licensing in Hawaii. This application requires a $40 fee. After the application is approved, students must apply for NCLEX-RN exam registration. Successful applicants can then complete the NCLEX-RN exam. Successful licensure qualifies RNs for employment in Hawaii but does not guarantee a job.

Online Nursing Degree Programs in Hawaii

The nursing field highlights a variety of career opportunities for professionals in Hawaii, requiring varying degree levels along with licensing and certification requirements. Students in Hawaii can explore online nursing degree options, allowing them to complete education requirements while managing work or family commitments.

What Courses Are Part of an Online Nursing Degree Program in Hawaii?

Nursing students explore different types of coursework across degree levels. At the bachelor's level, learners focus on foundational nursing topics. Master's students expand upon the foundational skills and knowledge to focus on more advanced nursing concepts. Doctoral learners focus on the field's most specialized topics. Courses vary by school, but most nursing students experience the following courses.

Patient-Centered Care

Students explore health promotion and wellness, learning how to motivate and educate their patients to accomplish optimum health. The course emphasizes both screening and early intervention concepts.


This course teaches students about prescription drugs, including side effects, adverse effects, drug interactions, expected effects, and the key nursing responsibilities for drug administration.

Policy and Issues in Healthcare Development

Degree-seekers focus on management, leadership, and professionalism of nurses, emphasizing the economic, social, environmental, and political factors that impact healthcare policy.

How Do Online Nursing Degree Programs Work?

Nursing programs feature different structures and requirements across online nursing schools in Hawaii. Some programs feature fully online coursework, while others highlight a hybrid approach, combining online components with on-campus requirements. A hybrid format allows learners to enjoy both styles of learning and course content delivery.

Typically, online programs follow the same structure as on-campus counterparts. Courses often cover the same topics in online programs, and many institutions feature the same instructors for online courses as the on-campus options. Program length for online programs often coincides with on-campus opportunities, although some schools offer accelerated online programs. Degree-seekers in accelerated programs complete more credits during a semester to graduate sooner.

When students earn their degree online, they receive the same diploma as those who completed their program on campus. Additionally, in employment settings, those who earned their degrees online receive the same opportunities as graduates of on-campus programs.

Nursing Licensure in Hawaii

Different types and levels of nursing in Hawaii feature different certification and licensure requirements. The Hawaii Board of Nursing regulates licensing opportunities, ensuring all professionals meet the requirements necessary for licensure, including passing the required examinations.

Nurse practitioners (NPs) in Hawaii enjoy full practice environments, meaning the licensing and state practice laws in Hawaii allow NPs to evaluate all patients, order and interpret various diagnostic tests, diagnose patients, prescribe and administer prescription drugs and controlled substances, and manage and initiate treatments under the authority of the state's nursing board.

Hawaii is not a nurse compact state, but professionals can consider multiple pathways to licensure, including opportunities through examination or endorsement for RNs and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and other alternative pathways for LPNs.

State Requirements by Nursing Type

The section below outlines the different types of certification and licensure available in Hawaii's nursing field.

Certified Nurse Assistant To become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in Hawaii, individuals must complete a state and board-approved training program. Learners can review the options for approved training programs directly on the Prometric website. After satisfying the educational/training criteria, CNA candidates must complete and pass the NursAide Competency Exam. The exam features a knowledge test and a skills test. During the knowledge evaluation, candidates answer multiple-choice questions, while the skills test focuses on test-takers' abilities to provide direct care services, including hand-washing, turning a patient in bed, helping patients complete daily tasks, helping patients walk, and measuring both pulse and breathing. Individuals can access test results online 48-72 hours after completion. After candidates complete and pass their exam, they can apply for their CNA certificate, downloading the appropriate forms online.

Hawaii Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Board-approved training program
  • Additional Clinical Hours: N/A
  • Exams: Nurse Aide Competency Exam
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
  • Continuing Education: None, but applicants must complete a minimum of eight hours of paid nursing or nursing-related services supervised by a licensed RN or LPN
Licensed Practical Nurse LPN candidates in Hawaii must complete a practical nursing program that is both state-approved and accredited by the NLN. In some situations, programs that learners complete in the armed forces are accepted. Applicants must submit their transcripts, course descriptions, and a certified letter explaining that the program is on the same level as an accredited counterpart from the nursing board where the program is located. Upon satisfying the educational requirements, LPN candidates must complete and pass the NCLEX-PN exam. Individuals may take the exam once the board determines their eligibility and they pay the associated $200 exam fee. During the application process, licensing applicants must pay the additional $40 application fee. The NCLEX-PN exam is scheduled on an ongoing basis and features a computer-adapted format. The board mails test results about two weeks after test-takers complete their examination.

Hawaii Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Board-approved practical nursing degree accredited by the National League for Nursing (NLN)
  • Additional Clinical Hours: N/A
  • Exams: NCLEX-PN
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
  • Continuing Education: At least one approved continuing competency activity
Registered Nurse Nursing students interested in pursuing RN licensure must complete either an ADN or a BSN from a state-approved or nationally accredited school. Diploma and master's programs are considered acceptable for RN licensure, but degrees completed in the armed forces are generally not approved. Students should submit an RN licensure application and pay the associated $40 fee as they approach graduation. Candidates who are or have previously been licensed as an LPN must include additional documentation with their RN licensure application. Once applicants receive board approval, they must complete and pass the NCLEX-RN exam and pay a $200 examination fee. Candidates can retake their exam if they do not pass. However they cannot allow two years to go by without attempting to take the exam or notifying the board that they still plan on completing the licensing process. Applications close upon two years of inactive status.

Hawaii Licensure Requirements

  • Education: State-approved or nationally accredited ADN or BSN
  • Additional Clinical Hours: N/A
  • Exams: NCLEX-RN
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
  • Continuing Education: At least one approved continuing competency activity
Nurse Practitioner Aspiring NPs must obtain the advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) license before they can practice professionally in Hawaii. APRN candidates must earn a minimum of a master's degree, although the requirement for licensure is a graduate degree. This can include a master's degree, post-doctoral certificate, or a doctorate. Master's programs should focus on teaching students to provide direct care. The nursing board does not accept master's programs that do not focus on providing direct care. In addition to earning a graduate degree, candidates must obtain national certification in their desired nursing specialty. Hawaii's nursing board recognizes the following NP specialties: psychiatric mental health, adult, pediatric, family, acute care, neonatal, and school. Students must complete certification at a board-approved certifying agency recognized by the American Board of Nursing Specialties. After earning national certification, candidates can apply to receive their APRN license.

Hawaii Licensure Requirements

  • Education: Accredited graduate degree, minimum of an MSN
  • Additional Clinical Hours: N/A
  • Exams: No exam, but applicants must earn national certification in their chosen nursing specialty
  • Renewal Frequency: Every two years
  • Continuing Education: At least one approved continuing competency activity

Online Nursing Degree Programs and Licensing in Hawaii FAQ

Is Hawaii a Nurse Compact State? Hawaii is not a nursing licensure compact state, although individuals in the state can pursue licensure by examination and endorsement. LPNs can explore additional pathways.
Does an Online Nursing Degree Have the Same Value as an On-Campus Degree? Online nursing programs typically follow the same structure and require students to satisfy the same requirements as on-campus counterparts. Because of the similarities, online programs hold the same value as on-campus degrees to employers across the nursing field.
How Should I Choose What Nursing Field to Go Into? The nursing field is vast and features a variety of nursing specialty opportunities. To choose a field, students should consider their long-term career goals and the patient population they want to work with most.
How Long Does it Take to Get an RN License in Hawaii? Earning an RN license in Hawaii can take 2-4 years depending on the degree candidates pursue before applying for licensure. ADN students can obtain RN licensure in two years while BSN students take four years.
Can Someone Become a Nurse in Two Years? Professionals can pursue a variety of nursing careers within two years, including an RN at the associate level, a CNA, and an LPN.

Hawaii Nurse Salaries and Employment Trends

Students pursuing nursing degrees in Hawaii can review salary and employment trends below. Salary and job growth data depends on a variety of factors. Professionals should understand that no education or degree guarantees a certain salary or employment opportunity.

The information below outlines salary information along with projected job growth for CNAs, LPNs, RNs, and NPs in Hawaii. The table also highlights annual mean wages for the same specialties at the national level and in the nearby states of California, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington.

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Hawaii, by Type

  Annual Mean Wage Projected Job Growth(2016-2026)
Certified Nurse Assistant $35,770 12.6%
Licensed Practical Nurse $50,930 12.0%
Registered Nurse $98,080 13.3%
Nurse Practitioner $120,570 36.4%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Projections Central

Nurse Salary and Projected Job Growth in Hawaii, by Type

  Certified Nurse Assistant Licensed Practical Nurse Registered Nurse Nurse Practitioner
United States $29,580 $47,050 $75,510 $110,030
Washington $32,130 $55,420 $82,670 $117,650
Oregon $33,230 $53,240 $91,080 $110,010
California $35,220 $56,200 $106,950 $133,780
Alaska $39,830 $58,250 $89,310 $122,880

Source: BLS

Certified Nurse Assistant

CNAs in the U.S. earn annual mean wages of $29,580, while CNAs in Hawaii earn a mean wage of $35,770. Compared to the nearby states Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and California, CNAs in Hawaii experience the occupation's second-highest salary opportunities, behind only Alaska by a difference of less than $5,000. Nationally, Hawaii is the third-highest-paying state for CNAs.

Licensed Practical Nurse

In Hawaii, LPNs earn annual mean wages of $50,930 while the U.S. reports an annual mean wage of $47,050. Jobs for LPNs in Hawaii are projected to grow 12% from 2018-28, which is faster than the projected growth rate for all other occupations in the United States. Hawaii reports the lowest annual mean wage for LPNs compared to nearby states like Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and California, but trails behind the highest-paying state by less than $10,000.

Registered Nurse

RNs working in Hawaii earn a mean wage of $96,080, more than $20,000 higher than the occupation's national annual mean wage of $75,510. Compared to the nearby states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, RNs in Hawaii experience the second-highest salary opportunities behind only California. Nationally, RNs in Hawaii also experience the second-highest annual mean wage, along with a projected job growth of 13.3%, which is much faster than the average for all occupations in the nation.

Nurse Practitioner

The U.S. reports an annual mean wage of $110,030 for NPs, while Hawaii NPs earn an annual mean wage of $120,570 along with an extremely fast projected job growth of 36.4%. Among nearby states, such as Oregon, Washington, California, and Alaska, Hawaii NPs enjoy the occupation's third-highest salary opportunities. NPs in Hawaii can explore a variety of opportunities across patient populations and healthcare settings.

Nursing Resources for 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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