Nursing Schools and Licensing Requirements in Hawaii

It might come as no surprise that tropical Hawaii is one of the few states not experiencing a nursing shortage. Because of this, a 2013 survey by the Hawaii Center for Nursing found that 34 percent of RNs took over six months to land their first job. However, it likely won’t remain that way for long. Although many nurses have delayed their retirement in recent years, contributing to the nursing surplus, the same survey found that around 15 percent of the state’s RNs — and 20 percent of advanced practice nurses — are over the age of 60 and expected to retire soon. To establish a nursing career in the tranquil Hawaiian atmosphere, keep reading. There is plenty of information on state salary trends, which schools’ programs to target, and how to get licensed.

The Big Picture: Hawaii Nursing Schools

In the late 1990s, nursing schools prepared for a predicted nursing shortage and increased enrollment efforts. As a result, between 2002 and 2012, Hawaii doubled the number of students that graduated from its nursing institutions. To prepare for another nursing shortage, schools are once again working to entice students to pursue nursing degrees, as well as encouraging practicing nurses to return to school to complete graduate programs and qualify for advanced roles. The following search tool can help those looking for nursing schools in Hawaii.

Obtaining a License in HI

Nurses in Hawaii receive their licenses through the Hawaii Board of Nursing. The board, which is part of the state’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, works to ensure that nurses are professional and knowledgeable. It also handles disciplinary action against those who do not meet nursing standards.

The Licensure Process for Hawaii Nurses

The state of Hawaii has a relatively straightforward licensure process for new nursing program graduates. Steps include:

  • Earn a master’s degree from an accredited program in one of four specialty areas: nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist
  • Get certified by the relevant national certification body for that specialty
  • Fill out and send an application to the nursing board along with $162 or $106, depending on the time of year

Nurses transferring in from other states must provide proofs of their education, NCLEX scores, and licensure from the state in which they were originally licensed. They must also send in an application and a fee of either $146 or $202, depending on the time of year they are applying.

Renewing a Hawaiian Nursing License

Nursing licenses must be renewed online by June 30 of every odd-numbered year. The renewal fee is $130. To renew a license, RNs must show “continuing competency” by doing any one of nine “learning activities”:

  • Earning national certification
  • Completing 30 continuing education hours
  • Taking a refresher course
  • Taking a course from an accredited nursing program
  • Serving as a preceptor to a student nurse
  • Conducting a research project
  • Publishing an article in a peer-reviewed publication
  • Delivering presentations on nursing
  • Doing a nursing residency

Overview of Advanced Practice Licensure in Hawaii

Licensed registered nurses in Hawaii can become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) by following these steps:

  • Earn a master’s degree from an accredited program in one of four specialty areas: nurse anesthetist, nurse midwife, nurse practitioner or clinical nurse specialist
  • Get certified by the relevant national certification body for that specialty
  • Fill out and send an application to the nursing board along with $162 or $106, depending on the time of year

To keep their status current, APRNs must renew both their RN and APRN licenses every two years.

APRNs who want to be able to prescribe medications must complete pharmacology coursework, pay a $50 fee, and complete five hours of continuing education in pharmacology every two years.

For more information regarding RN or APRN license and renewal, visit Hawaii’s Board of Nursing.

Hawaii Nursing Numbers

RNs in Hawaii are the second-highest paid in the nation, and nurse practitioners in the state top the list of earners in that profession nationally. Yet the state has particularly low concentrations of nurses compared to most other states, meaning there is room for growth. Indeed, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be 17 percent more RN jobs in the state and 24 percent more nurse practitioner jobs in 2022 than there were in 2012. For a closer look at how these and other nursing jobs pay, check out the numbers below.

Top-Paying Areas for RNs in Hawaii

AreaHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Honolulu$44.61$92,790
Hawaii / Maui / Kauai nonmetropolitan area$40.75$84,750

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014

Hawaii vs. National Numbers

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Salary

YearAnnual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)Annual salary(25th percentile)Annual salary(median)Annual salary(75th percentile)
Registered Nurse$75,360$90,220$103,320$0$54,620$66,640$81,080
Certified Nurse Midwife$0$0$0$0$82,580$96,970$114,090
Nurse Anesthetist$0$0$0$0$132,380$153,780$181,860
Nurse Practitioner$87,600$114,470$144,720$0$82,720$95,350$113,470

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 

Employment

TOTAL EMPLOYMENT (2014)

TypeHawaiiNational
Registered Nurse10,6502,687,310
Certified Nurse Midwife05,110
Nurse Anesthetist036,590
Nurse Practitioner280122,050

2022 OCCUPATIONAL OUTLOOK

TypeHawaiiNational
Registered Nurse12,1703,238,400
Certified Nurse Midwife07,700
Nurse Anesthetist043,900
Nurse Practitioner310147,300

AVG. ANNUAL OPENINGS (2012 – 2022)

TypeHawaiiNational
Registered Nurse380105,260
Certified Nurse Midwife0290
Nurse Anesthetist01,560
Nurse Practitioner105,850

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014 and Projections Central

Professional Organizations for Hawaii Nurses

AONE Hawaii

As part of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, AONE Hawaii works on behalf of nursing leaders in the state. Members have special networking opportunities and remain updated on developments in the industry.

Hawaii Affiliate of American College of Nurse-Midwives

HAA represents the small band of certified nurse midwives in the state. It hopes to grow the profession in Hawaii and educate the public about the benefits midwives can bring.

Hawaii Association of Nurse Anesthetists

HANA provides educational opportunities to help certified registered nurse anesthetists meet challenges in the field. In addition, the organization works with lawmakers to produce legislation favorable to the state’s nursing population.

Hawaii Board of Nursing

The Hawaii Board of Nursing is responsible for issuing licenses in the state. Via the Professional and Vocational Licensing (PVL) unit of the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, nurses can access the MyPVL portal to keep their licenses current.

Hawaii Student Nurses’ Association

HISNA is the state constituent of the National Student Nurses’ Association. Since 2013, the organization has been dedicated to ensuring that nurses receive a high-quality education designed to prepare them for the rigors of the field.

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