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A Guide to Nursing in Hawaii

There are so many things to do in Hawaii it’s hard to know where to begin. Relaxing at the beach, snorkeling with the fish, and don’t forget surfing. There are many historical spots like the USS Arizona at the Salute to Pearl Harbor site. Take a boat, helicopter, or jeep around the island for magnificent vistas. And don’t forget to put on your grass skirt and join a luau.

If you are a registered nurse (or are thinking of becoming one) read on to find the information you need, from licensing info, continuing education requirements, job & salary outlook, top hospitals, and nursing associations. Let us help you find your dream job!

In this article, we will cover:

Licensing information

Below are the fees for becoming a nurse in Hawaii whether you are a first-time nurse or are moving to Hawaii from another state. For more information visit the Hawaii licensing page.

Licensing fee by examination (first-time nurses):

  • NCLEX fee: $200

  • Application fee: $40

Licensing fee by endorsement (already have RN licensure):

  • Application fee: $234 (between 7/1 odd years and 6/30 even years); $166 (between 7/1 even years and 6/30 odd years)

  • APRN application fee: $194 (between 7/1 every odd year and 6/30 every even year; $126 between 7/1 every odd year and 6/30 every even year

License renewal fees:

  • Application fee: $126 (RN/LPN); $36 (APRN)

*Fees are subject to change.

**Most states require a background check, but prices are not always listed.


Steps for renewing a Hawaii nursing license

  1. Verify the status of your license Visit the Verification page in order to confirm your license. All Licenses regardless of issuance date, are subject to renewal by June 30 of every odd-numbered year.

  2. Complete your Hawaii nursing continuing education requirements before your license expires You can complete your nursing CEUs online, on your schedule, and 100% free with Incredible Health.

  3. Go to the Hawaii Board of Nursing to enter your renewal application Visit the Renewal Information page for specifics.


Continuing education requirements

RN/LPN/APRN: To renew licensure, nurses must complete one of the following learning activities:

  • 30 contact hours of continuing education activities

  • Authoring/co-authoring a peer-reviewed and published article, book, or book chapter on a relevant nursing or health-related topic

  • Completion of a Board-approved refresher course

  • Completion of a Board-recognized nurse residency program

  • Completing a minimum of 2-semester credits of post-licensure academic education from an accredited nursing program related to their nursing practice area

  • Completion as a principal nursing research project that is either a review board or evidence-based practice project (must be pre-approved by the Nursing Board)

  • Developing/conducting five contact hours of a nursing education presentation or presentations of organized instruction that meets the continuing education qualifications

  • National certification or recertification related to the area of practice

  • Participating as a preceptor for at least one nursing student or employee transitioning into new clinical practice areas for at least 120 hours in a 1:1 relationship as part of an organized preceptor program. See additional requirements of this learning activity on the Board of Nursing website

Except for the pharmacotherapeutics requirement for APRNs, there are no mandates for specific nursing CEUs in Hawaii. APRNs must complete 30 contact hours, with 8 of those hours related to pharmacology.

Incredible Health offers ANCC-accredited continuing education courses for nurses in all 50 states, 100% free and online. The Hawaii Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.

Job and salary outlook for nurses in Hawaii

Due to the shortage of nurses, these healthcare professionals are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates the profession will grow by about 9% between 2020-2030. The annual mean salary is $104,830.

We can also help you check out salary estimates to help determine if Hawaii is the right state for you.

[ MORE: Average nurse salary in Hawaii ]


Top hospitals in Hawaii

If you’re not already picking up the phone to call movers, maybe this list of the best hospitals in Hawaii will sway you in the right direction. Here are the top hospitals according to U.S. News and World Report:

  • Queen’s Medical Center – Honolulu, HI: This facility is part of the Magnet Recognition Program® and serves as the major referral center for cancer, heart disease, neuroscience, orthopedics, surgery, emergency medicine and behavioral health. Some other specialties include:

    • Organ transplantation program

    • Clinical training site for the residency programs

    • Gastroenterology & GI surgery

  • Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center – Honolulu, HI: This award winning hospital is a fantastic facility for nurses. :Connected teams of experts collaborate seamlessly across departments and specialties for faster diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.” Some specialties include:

    • Cancer care

    • Cardiac care

    • Maternity

    • Pediatrics

  • Adventist Health Castle in Kailua, HI: This facility’s “unique combination of state-of-the-art technology with “state-of-the-heart” care — medical and nursing care in a nurturing environment — offers our patients access to expert medical providers and the newest, most innovative treatments with an exceptional level of personal attention.” Some specialties include:

    • Nephrology

    • Back surgery (Spinal Fusion)

    • Orthopedics

*Magnet status – Awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and is considered the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care. Hospitals must meet certain criteria and apply to be designated.


Nursing organizations & associations in Hawaii

Once you become a registered nurse (or even if you’re in the process), joining a nursing organization or association will give you access to networking, job opportunities, and a wealth of information shared between fellow nurses. Here are a few of the organizations and associations for nurses in Hawaii:

Hawaii Nurses’ Association: “Serves as the organization for nursing in Hawai‘i and continually strives to preserve the identity, integrity, and continuity of the profession.”

Hawaii – American Nurses Association: “Empowers nurses to advocate for the improvement of the healthcare system in the communities where we live and work.”

Hawaii Association of Professional Nurses: This association is for “ALL nurses of all specialties and educational levels including APRNs, RNs and nursing students.” One aspect of the purpose of this association is “to increase public awareness of the roles and practices of RNs and APRNs in Hawaii and to unite nurses and give them a platform to promote nursing excellence in patient care.”

Check out the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Basic steps for licensing and certification

Step 1: Education

Attend an accredited nursing school to earn either an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). An ADN will take between 18 and 24 months to complete, while you can expect to spend roughly four years to earn a BSN. If you already have an ADN, there is an ADN to BSN bridge program that allows you to earn a BSN in 12-18 months. There is also an RN to BSN bridge which takes three semesters of nursing courses to be completed in one year. These programs will save you time and money. The more education you have, the better your chances of landing your dream job

Step 2: Licensing

When you are six weeks away from graduation, you can apply to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. There are 75 to 265 questions on the NCLEX-RN with a five-hour time limit for completion. If you do not pass the NCLEX-RN on your first attempt, you must wait 45 days before you can try again.

The NCLEX includes questions on the following topics to test nursing candidates knowledge:

1. Safe and effective care environment

2. Health promotion and maintenance

3. Psychosocial integrity

4. Physiological integrity

Step 3: Experience

This step in the process is to gain hands-on experience. This will provide you with invaluable opportunities to work with patients making you attractive to future employers.

Step 4: Certification

The final step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. Requirements for earning a certification vary so it is important to check with the governing body for information. Incredible Health offers free courses in order to obtain or renew certification requirements. Create a free account to access professional development mandates and get instant certificates.

Contact information

Hawaii Board of Nursing

Phone: (808) 586-3000

Fax: (808) 586-2689



Mailing Address:


Attn: Board of Nursing

PO Box 3469

Honolulu, HI 96801

Physical Address:

King Kalakaua Bldg

335 Merchant Street

Room 301

Honolulu, HI 96813

Your Instructor

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