The Top Nursing Schools in Hawaii

Updated September 6, 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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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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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.

#1

University of Hawaii at Hilo

School Information
Location Hilo, Hawaii
Admission Rate 52%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

One of the University of Hawai'i system's ten campuses, UH Hilo offers bachelor's and doctoral nursing programs. The school of nursing emphasizes rural populations and transcultural training. The four-year basic BSN begins with two years of general education and pre-core requirements. Enrollees apply for formal admission into the nursing program in the third year. The university offers a one-year RN-to-BSN option for registered nurses.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Hilo, Hawai'i
  • Type: Public 
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $306 per credit for Hawai'i residents; $846 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; official transcripts; minimum 2.7 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 12 months 
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 73.5%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $72,357 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#2

University of Hawaii at Manoa

School Information
Location Honolulu, Hawaii
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 61%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Established in 1907, UH Mānoa is the oldest and largest of the University of Hawai'i system campuses. The school of nursing confers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. The BSN offers two options. The direct entry pathway for high school graduates takes four years to complete. Current UH Mānoa students, transfer students, and veteran students can enroll in a three-year plan of study. 

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Honolulu, Hawai'i
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $471 per credit for Hawai'i residents; $1,389 per credit for out-of-state students; $707 per credit for Pacific Island Jurisdiction and Western Undergraduate Exchange students
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; official transcripts; minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 3 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 100%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $70,710 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#3

Chaminade University of Honolulu

School Information
Location Honolulu, Hawaii
Admission Rate 95%
Graduation Rate 59%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Chaminade is the only Catholic university in Hawai'i and one of three U.S. universities sponsored by the Marianist order. The university also holds federal designation as a Native Hawaiian-serving institution. The school of nursing offers a 132-credit direct-entry BSN for first-year and transfer enrollees. Students who have completed general education and nursing prerequisites can enroll in a 24-month accelerated BSN program.

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Honolulu, Hawai'i
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $34,294 per year
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; official transcripts; minimum 2.5 GPA; written statement; letters or recommendation
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 85.3%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $62,343 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#4

Hawaii Pacific University

School Information
Location Honolulu, Hawaii
Admission Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 45%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hawai'i Pacific ranks among the nation's most culturally diverse higher learning institutions. The school of nursing confers online and on-campus graduate degrees along with several campus-based undergraduate degrees. Undergraduate programs include a four-year BSN designed for first-year students. Hawai'i Pacific also offers LPN/LVN-to-BSN and RN-to-BSN options for working nurses. Students who have served as military hospital corpsmen can access an HM-to-BSN program. 

  • Program: Bachelor of science in nursing
  • Campus: Honolulu, Hawai'i
  • Type: Private
  • Accreditation: Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)
  • Tuition: $18,660 per semester
  • Admission Requirements: High school diploma or equivalent; official transcripts; list of extracurricular activities; personal statement
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 4 years
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 86.7%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $64,990 for bachelor's graduates, according to College Scorecard
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#5

University of Hawaii Maui College

School Information
Location Kahului, Hawaii
Graduation Rate 19%
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Established in 1931 as a vocational school, this public community college administers associate degrees, certificates, and bachelor of applied science degrees. The associate of science in nursing (ASN) at UHMC prepares graduates to transfer to the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's BSN program. The ASN also allows students to exit at the practical nurse level with a certificate of achievement. 

  • Programs: Associate of science in nursing
  • Campus: Kahului, Hawai'i
  • Type: Public
  • Accreditation: Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN)
  • Tuition: $131-$306 per credit for Hawai'i residents; $345-$846 per credit for out-of-state students; $197-$459 for Pacific Island Jurisdiction and Western Undergraduate Exchange students
  • Admission Requirements: Hawai'i resident; minimum C average; completion of prerequisites; TEAS scores
  • Minimum Time Commitment: 24 months
  • On-Campus Requirements: Yes
  • School NCLEX-RN Pass Rate: 90.2%
  • Median Earnings Two Years After Graduation: $61,020 for associate graduates, according to College Scorecard
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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.

Find Nursing Programs in Other States

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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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