The Hawaii Teaching and Certification Resource
Hawaii is a great place to work as a teacher. Prospective educators should follow the recommended credentialing procedures, which are overseen by the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board and described below for those looking to learn how to become a teacher in Hawaii.
How to Become a Teacher in Hawaii
Like all states, Hawaii requires prospective teachers to hold a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, teachers must attend an approved teacher preparation program from an accredited school in order to qualify for Hawaii teacher certification.
Hawaii uses a tiered licensing structure that encourages educators to advance through continuing education. The initial license for those who have completed a bachelor’s degree and approved teacher preparation program is the Provisional License. After three years of successful teaching, educators can apply for the Standard License. Those who complete five years of successful teaching and earn a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree and/or earn National Board for Professional Teaching (NBPTS) certification may apply for the highest category of licensure, the Advanced License.
For those interested in becoming a teacher in Hawaii who have not completed traditional teacher preparation programs, there are alternative routes to Hawaii teacher certification for those who qualify.
- I want to be a teacher in Hawaii, but don’t have a degree: Earn an Education Degree
- I want to be a teacher and have a degree, but not in education: Learn about Hawaii’s Alternative Certification Process and Programs
- I have a teaching degree and am interested in more education: Learn about Master’s Degree Education Programs or Doctorate Education Programs and Information.
- I am already certified and want to teach in another state: Learn about Teacher Certification Reciprocity.
Finding Approved Teacher Education Programs in Hawaii
Projected Job Growth
Growth in Teaching Jobs in HI through 20262
All prospective educators in Hawaii must attend a teacher preparation program that has been approved by the state. You can see a list of approved Hawaii teacher preparation programs through the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board. To compare key metrics for these state-approved teacher preparation programs, use the sortable table on our Hawaii schools page.
Candidates must also hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited school. There are six regional accreditation bodies recognized by the US Department of Education. Applicants evaluating online or out-of-state bachelor’s degree programs should confirm that the school offering the program is accredited by its corresponding regional accreditation agency.
Additionally, schools may have earned accreditation from the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). This organization is the result of the merger of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC). Accreditation from CAEP is seen as a distinguishing marker of quality curriculum and rigorous standards in teacher preparation.
Hawaii Teacher Education Requirements
In order to qualify for an initial teaching license in Hawaii, applicants must complete a state-approved teacher preparation program and a bachelor’s degree or higher. Candidates for Hawaii teacher certification who wish to obtain an advanced certificate must teach for at least three years with a satisfactory rating and complete continuing education such as a master’s or specialist degree.
Hawaii Teacher Testing Requirements
Prospective teachers in Hawaii must take and pass the appropriate Praxis Subject Assessments 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. All candidates will also be required to pass the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators exam. Those who completed an out-of-state teacher preparation program will also typically be required to take the Praxis Principles of Learning and Teaching exam.
Additional Hawaii Teacher Certification Requirements
Like most states, Hawaii requires all public school employees to submit to a state and federal background check. Applicants typically submit a fingerprint card for a criminal history record check as part of the teacher preparation program requirements prior to completing student teaching fieldwork.
Hawaii Teachers Licensing Application Process
Those seeking Hawaii teacher licensing must apply for a certificate once all requirements have been met. Candidates must provide the following documentation to support an application:
- A completed background check.
- Official transcripts detailing completion of a bachelor’s degree and teacher preparation program, as well as an institutional recommendation for a license from the teacher preparation program.
- Verification of passing scores on the appropriate Praxis assessments.
- An application with the appropriate documents and non-refundable application fee.
Hawaii uses an online system, MyHTSB, to process applications and renewals. Visit the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board for further details on teaching certification in Hawaii.
Hawaii Teacher Outlook, Salary, and Jobs
As of the 2016-2017 school year, there were 290 public schools in Hawaii serving an estimated 181,550 K-12 students.3 With an estimated 11,781 teachers, this gives Hawaii a student-to-teacher ratio of 15:1.3
Projections suggest that there will be 520 average annual openings for elementary school teachers, 160 average annual openings for middle school teachers, and 300 average annual openings for secondary school teachers in Hawaii through 2026.3 The average annual salary for in-state elementary school teachers is $61,240, the average annual salary for middle school teachers is $60,900, and the average annual salary for secondary school teachers is $60,810.4 The Hawaii State Teachers Association, the largest active teachers union in Hawaii, is a good resource for information concerning teaching careers and education news in the state.
|Type||Number Employed||Average Annual Salary|
|Preschool Teachers, Special Education||Not available||Not available|
|Elementary School Teachers||6,040||$61,240|
|Special Education Teachers, Kindergarten and Elementary School||1,770||$54,000|
|Middle School Teachers||1,960||$60,900|
|Middle School Teachers, Special Education||Not available||Not available|
|Secondary School Teachers||4,310||$60,810|
|Secondary School Teachers, Special Education||180||$56,680|
|Secondary School Teachers, Career/Technical Education||Not available||Not available|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2018.4
*Data as of 2015.4
Teacher Shortages in Hawaii
According to the US Department of Education Teacher Shortage Area report for 2021-2022, Hawaii broadly has the following shortages5:
- Career and Technical Education (General), Pre-K-12
- Language Arts (English), Pre-K-12
- Mathematics (General), Pre-K-12
- Science (General), Pre-K-12
- Special Education (General), Pre-K-12
- World Languages (General, Hawaiian, Hawaiian Immersion), Pre-K-12
Hawaii Teacher Career Interviews
- Former President, Hawaii Association of Language Teachers, Satoru Shinagawa
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do I become an elementary teacher in Hawaii?
Answer: Elementary school teachers in Hawaii must meet the state’s licensure requirements. This includes completing a bachelor’s degree and an approved teacher preparation program in elementary education. You must also pass the state’s exams for educators for the grade level(s) you wish to teach.
Question: How much do teachers make in Hawaii?
Answer: According to the BLS, teachers in Hawaii earn yearly salaries averaging from $39,560 (preschool teachers) to $61,240 (elementary school teachers).4 Factors that may affect teacher salary include location, years of experience, and education level.
Question: What kind of teachers are needed in Hawaii?
Answer: Hawaii reports teacher shortages in the following areas for the 2021-22 school year: special education, mathematics, science, language arts, career and technical education, and world languages including Hawaiian.5
1. Hawaii Teacher Standards Board: https://hawaiiteacherstandardsboard.org/
2. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections: https://projectionscentral.org/Projections/LongTerm
3. National Center for Education Statistics, State Nonfiscal Public Elementary/Secondary Education Survey Data, 2016-2017: https://nces.ed.gov/ccd/stnfis.asp
4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Hawaii: https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_hi.htm
5. US Department of Education, Teacher Shortage Areas: https://tsa.ed.gov/