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Teaching Programs in Hawaii

Hawaii’s educational system is unique: It is the only state with one public school system—though it has many independent schools. The educational system has improvements to make, and it needs excellent teachers to help meet these challenges. Because of this, the Hawaiʻi State Department of Education created the 2030 Promise Plan. The plan includes increasing support for multicultural and multilingual students and staff, bringing in more high-quality teachers, redesigning curricula, allowing students more opportunity to take control over their learning, and fostering greater collaboration with higher learning institutions.

If you want to be an integral part of improving the state’s educational system, now is the perfect time to become a teacher in Hawaii.

How Do I Become a Teacher in Hawaii?

Hawaii requires all teachers, school counselors, and school librarians to be licensed by the state board. There are several options for obtaining licensure for those who hope to become half- or full-time educators in the state.

Traditional Pathway to Becoming a Teacher in Hawaii

The traditional route to becoming a teacher, librarian, or counselor in Hawaii schools is to earn a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in education through a State Approved Teacher Education Program (SATEP). You must complete student teaching, meet the state’s basic skills and knowledge expectations by passing relevant Praxis exams, and go through a professional fitness check. If you’re a new graduate or have fewer than three years of teaching experience, you can qualify for a provisional license, which is valid for three years. After your provisional license, you can earn a standard license, which is renewable every five years.

Hawaii also offers an advanced license, which is renewable every 10 years. To be eligible, you need to do one or more of the following after earning a bachelor’s:

  • Teach for at least five of the previous eight years before applying
  • Earn a master’s, specialist, or doctoral degree
  • Pass 30 hours of relevant graduate coursework from an approved institution
  • Become a teacher leader or master teacher through the Hawaiʻi Department of Education, a Hawaii Charter School, or a school that is a member of the Hawaiʻi Association of Independent Schools

Becoming a Teacher Through Alternative Certification or as a Career Switcher

This route is for those who have a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education but want to become teachers. The simplest path to take—though you can return to school for an additional bachelor’s degree or enter a master’s program—is to complete a Hawaii educator preparation program (EPP). These include programs through traditional colleges, as well as Teach for America, Teach Away (teaching English overseas), and unique online programs. Some may require an internship, student teaching, and/or residency program. You’ll also have to pass any relevant exams and the professional fitness check.

Becoming a Career and Technical Education or Computer Science Teacher

If you have a background in another field and at least an associate degree, you may qualify for a standard limited career and technical education (CTE) or computer science license. CTE fields include arts and communication, business, health services, industrial and engineering technology, natural resources, public and human services, and many more. The limited license requires:

  • A minimum of an associate degree
  • At least three years of industry experience
  • 15 hours of pedagogy coursework in the grade level you hope to teach or 12 hours of pedagogy coursework from a SATEP in the grade level you want to teach, plus a passing score on the Principles of Learning and Teaching (PLT) licensure test
  • Proof of your knowledge via a relevant Praxis exam, National Industry Certification, valid industry license, or 30 hours of coursework in the field
  • Other basic skills and knowledge requirements
  • Aprofessional fitness check LDS Students: $2,945 per semester
    Non-LDS Students: $5,890 per semester

    Chaminade University of Honolulu (Honolulu and online)

    Chaminade University is a Catholic university that focuses on diversity and respect for others. You needn’t be Catholic to attend—students come from 20 different religions as of 2020. This is a small school with only 1,099 undergraduate students and an 11:1 student to teacher ratio, so you can expect a personalized experience. The School of Education and Behavioral Sciences offers both online and on-campus degrees. At the undergraduate level, online degrees include associate and bachelor’s in early childhood education; bachelor’s in special education, secondary education, elementary education for Oceania, and elementary education; and a Montessori certificate. You can also earn a bachelor’s in elementary education on campus. Graduate degrees are on-campus, and you can obtain a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). The majority of their students accept some form of financial aid, and the school offers a variety of grants and scholarships.

    Tuition 2019–2020
    Online Undergraduate: $550 per credit hour
    Online Undergraduate Military: $250 per credit hour for active duty, $420 per credit hour for non-active duty
    On-campus Undergraduate: $26,134 per year
    Master’s Tuition: $825 per credit hour
    Ed.D.: $5,340 per term (there are four terms per year) (2020–2021)

    Hawaiʻi Pacific University (Honolulu and online)

    Hawaiʻi Pacific University is a private, non-sectarian university that prepares its students—who come from all over the world—to be respectful and responsible members of a global society. They offer bachelor’s, master’s, certificates, and a minor in TESOL, as well as master’s in seven additional areas of education. While most programs are only available at the campus, you can earn a Master of Education in educational leadership online. The school offers a variety of scholarships to help you pay for your education, though you must be a full-time student to qualify for any of them.

    Tuition 2020–2021
    Undergraduate: $14,400 per semester
    Undergraduate Honors: $17,100 per semester
    M.A. in TESOL: $699 per credit
    M.Ed. in Educational Leadership: $1,125 per credit
    M.Ed. in Elementary and Secondary Education: $850 per credit

    Kahoʻiwai Center for Adult Teaching and Learning (Kamuela)

    Kahoʻiwai is a postsecondary teacher education program with a focus on Hawaiian values. Its goal is to train teachers to work in charter schools that emphasize Hawaiian culture. The degree is offered in a hybrid format, with some online and some on-site courses, plus required fieldwork. They offer a post-baccalaureate certificate of teaching with either a secondary or elementary focus. You must already have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited program, but the degree doesn’t have to be in education.

    The school is entirely grant-funded, so students aren’t charged for tuition, fees, or materials. The only expenses tare a $50 application fee and a $50 graduate fee.

    Hawaii Teacher Resources

    • Hawaiʻi Education Association: The HEA fights for teacher rights in the classroom and at the policy level. They also provide scholarships, a Summer Institute for Teachers to help you earn professional development points and hone your skills, and a variety of other benefits.
    • Hawaiʻi State Department of Education: This site provides all the information you need regarding teaching and learning in the state, along with job listings.
    • Hawaii State Teachers Association: Like the HEA, the Hawaii State Teachers Association advocates for teachers as well as provides professional development opportunities. However, this is an official chapter of the National Education Association, the national union for educators, meaning you have access to legal protections, financial planning, and other significant resources.
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