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The Hawaii Teaching and Certification Resource

Hawaii is a great place to work as a teacher, but there are a number of requirement pathways to follow before becoming a certified teacher in Hawaii. Depending on previous teaching experience and formal education, Hawaii teacher certification is available for those who are eligible. For new teachers, it’s imperative to follow the credential procedures of the state, which are overseen by the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board and described in detail below.

How to Become a Teacher in Hawaii

Hawaii’s educational system offers three distinct licenses which allow eligible candidates to teach in the Hawaii public school system: a Provisional License, a Standard License and an Advanced License.

To be eligible for these licenses, there are quite a few requirements. Firstly, like all states, Hawaii requires teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, teachers must attend an approved teacher preparation program from an accredited school in order to obtain a Hawaii teacher certification.

For non-traditional methods of becoming a teacher in Hawaii, there are a few alternative routes to Hawaii teacher certification for those who qualify.

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Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Hawaii

For aspiring teachers looking for a Hawaii teachers certification program, it’s imperative to find an accredited teacher education school. The Hawaii Teacher Standards Board (HTSB) oversees the Hawaii educator certification process and all teacher candidates must meet the HTSB Teacher Performance Standards when applying for employment. Therefore, all Hawaii State Approved Teacher Preparation schools must obtain accreditation from a national teacher education governing organization approved by both the US Department of Education and the HTSB.

There are six accreditation bodies overseen by the US Department of Education. These organizations are recognized by the US Department of Education, but work on a regional basis. For Hawaii, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) accredits all teacher certification schools in the state. Applicants evaluating online teaching certification programs should also confirm that the school offering the program is accredited by its corresponding accreditation agency.

Additionally, The HTSB looks for accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparedness or CAEP. This organization is the result of a recent merger of two educational bodies, the NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) and TEAC (Teacher Education Accreditation Council). Although the new organizational structure is fairly recent, an accreditation from this organization is still seen as a distinguished marker of quality curriculum and rigorous standards in teacher preparatory schools.

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Although there are many traditional and non-traditional ways to obtain teaching certification in Hawaii, it is imperative that applicants complete their training at an accredited school that is certified by one of the organizations mentioned above. If an applicant does not graduate from an accredited program, the Hawaiian teacher certificate will not be issued.

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Hawaii Teacher Education Requirements

In order to complete the education requirements to receive a provisional or standard license, applicants must either complete a state-approved teacher education program (SATEP), and/or prove that they hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and have at least three years of teaching experience in the content area and grade level which they wish to teach. Candidates for Hawaii teacher certification who wish to obtain an advanced certificate must hold a master’s degree or higher from an accredited, state-approved institution.

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Hawaii Teacher Outlook as of 2012
The Occupational Supply & Demand System has projected 1,199 annual new job opportunities in library and education related fields in Hawaii through 2018. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 11,295 public school and 2,880 private school teachers were registered in Hawaii in 2008 and 2007 respectively. The average beginning teacher salary in Hawaii is $43,157 and the average overall teacher salary is $55,063, the 17th highest average teacher salary in the nation (National Education Association). The US Department of Labor and Industrial Relations lists ‘Education’ 4th in their list of the 10 Hawaiian industries with the greatest hiring rates in 2011. The NEA emphasizes shortages in special education and secondary math and science teachers and librarians throughout the state. The Hawaii State Teachers Association, the largest active teachers union in Hawaii, also cites shortages in special education professionals and encourages new teachers to pursue special education certification. Overall, it is projected that new positions in education and library services will continue to become available at a reliable rate. However, the competition for jobs has tended to keep wages down despite the high cost of living across the state.

Hawaii Teacher Testing Requirements

Hawaii State SealProspective teachers who wish to receive a Provisional, Standard or Advanced License to teach in the state of Hawaii must take and successfully pass the PPST (Pre Professional Skills Test) to fulfill the Basic Skills Test requirement as well as the specific Praxis II test for the subject area and grade level they wish to teach. These tests are designed to ensure that prospective teachers have the content knowledge and teaching skills necessary to become effective educators. Specific requirements are listed at the HTSB website.

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Additional Hawaii Teacher Certification Requirements

Like most states, Hawaii requires all public school employees to submit to a state and federal background check. In order to fulfill this requisite, applicants must submit a fingerprint card for a criminal history record, employment history and background check.

Hawaii Teachers Licensing Application Process

Anyone looking for Hawaii teachers licensing will be required to complete all the appropriate steps as stipulated by the Hawaii Department of Education. Applicants must send in all of the information in a timely manner. The Hawaii Teacher Certification Office receives a lot of applications in June, July and August, so it’s advisable to send in all information three to four months in advance of the estimated date of employment.

  1. Submit an application package with the appropriate documents to the state.
  2. Submit a completed fingerprint card (along with the $40 fee) for a background check.
  3. Pay the non-refundable application fee payable to the state.
  4. Submit official transcripts detailing completion of the education program as well as an institutional recommendation verifying completion of the program.
  5. Submit a verification of passing scores of the appropriate Praxis assessments.

Hawaii State Department of Education
390 Miller St.
Honolulu, HI 96813

Visit the Hawaii Department of Education for further details on teaching certification in Hawaii.

Hawaii Teacher Salary and Jobs

Type Number Employed Average Annual Salary
Preschool Teachers 1,170 $33,500
Kindergarten Teachers 90 $42,280
Elementary School Teachers 5,910 $53,490
Middle School Teachers 1,720 $52,440
Secondary School Teachers 4,040 $55,550

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2012.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Becoming a Teacher in Hawaii

Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Hawaii?

Answer: Elementary teachers in Hawaii must meet the state’s licensure requirements. This includes completing an approved teacher preparation program in elementary education and passing the Praxis exams for educators. You must also complete an interview with a staff member from the state department of education.

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References:
1. Hawaii State Department of Education: http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/ConnectWithUs/Organization/OfficesAndBranches/Pages/home.aspx
2. Hawaii Teachers Standards Board: http://www.htsb.org/
3. US Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg6.html
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics: http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ak.htm#25-0000

Page edited by Charles Sipe.

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