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Navigating the Nursing Profession in Hawaii

Updated: Sep 2, 2022

Let us help you land on your dream job here in Hawaii! Read on this article to know more about the licensing process in Hawaii, and more!


Through this article, you will be able to know the following:

  • Fees for the licensing

  • Licensing renewal process (step-by-step)

  • Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

  • Licensing and certification

  • Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Hawaii

  • Popular hospitals in Hawaii

  • Nursing associations in Hawaii

  • Contact details


Fees for the Licensing

The table below shows the required payments for the licensing, whether you are a first-time nurse, applying by endorsement, or renewing your license. For more details, visit the Hawaii licensing page.

*Fees may change without any notice.

**A background check is required in most states, but prices are not usually indicated.


Licensing Renewal Process

  1. Check when your license expires by visiting the Hawaii Board of Nursing website. Hawaii has a Verification page for you to verify your license. Regardless of the date of issuance, all licenses are subject to renewal by 30th of June, every odd-numbered year.

  2. Complete all your continuing education requirements BEFORE your license expires.

  3. Apply for your renewal process by going to the Hawaii Board of Nursing. You may check on the Renewal Information page for more specific information.


Requirements for Continuing Education in Nursing

The following are the Continuing Education Requirements for nurses in Hawaii.

  • For RN/LPN/APRN, you must complete one of the activities that follow:

    • 30 contact hours of continuing education activities

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

    • Complete a Board-approved refresher course

    • Complete a Board-recognized nurse residency program

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

    • Complete 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)

    • Develop/conduct 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

    • Participate 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

There are no rules for specific nursing CEUs in Hawaii, except for the pharmacotherapeutics requisites for APRNs. They must complete 30 contact hours, with 8 of those hours related to pharmacology.

The Hawaii Board of Nursing accepts courses that are ANCC accredited.


Licensing and Certification

Step 1: Education

To earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), you must attend an accredited institution that offers ADN for 18-24 months. You can also take a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Degree in an accredited institution. These programs typically take 4 to 5 years to complete. If you have an ADN but you wanna pursue your bachelor’s, there are certain programs that let you earn your BSN in 12 to 18 months. There is also an RN to BSN program that will take one year for you to earn the degree. Said programs let you save on time and money as you work towards advancing your career.

Step 2: Licensing

Six weeks before your graduation, you can start the process of your application for the NCLEX-RN exam. This exam is composed of 75-265 items and you will be given a limit of 5 hours to finish all of it. Failing the exam does not necessarily mean that you do not have the chance anymore. After your first try, you just have to wait for 45 days and you can apply again.

The scope of NCLEX includes questions about: (1) health promotion and maintenance; (2) safe and effective care environment; (3) physiology and integrity; and (4) psychology and integrity.

Step 3: Experience

This time, you must learn how to take the opportunities in gaining first-hand experiences in dealing with patients, with colleagues and superiors, and with the different situations that you might face. These invaluable experiences will make you more attractive to bigger employers in the future.

Step 4: Certification

Your last step is to obtain certifications for your chosen career. There are different requirements for earning a certification, depending on your preferences so it is important to check with the governing provider for information. You can attend several trainings, seminars or workshops in varied institutions for this purpose.


Job and Salary Expectations of Nurses in Hawaii

Shortage of healthcare professionals, specifically nurses, has been a perennial issue in the country. This makes nurses highly in demand during this period of time. This profession will increase by about 9% from 2020 to 2030. The average annual salary is currently $106,530.

Let us help you check out average wages of nurses to help determine if Hawaii is the right place for you.


Popular Hospitals in Hawaii

Still not decided on whether to work as a nurse in Hawaii or not? This list of the best hospitals in the state will surely help you make that decision to go in the right direction. U.S. News and World Report made a list of the best and popular hospitals in Hawaii. Here are some of them:

  • Queen’s Medical Center – (Honolulu, HI):

    • Regionally ranked #1 in Hawaii and in Honolulu

    • Nationally ranked in 1 adult specialty

    • Rated high performing in 6 adult specialties and 11 procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Part of the Magnet Recognition Program®.

    • Specialties include being a major referral center for cancer, heart disease, neuroscience, orthopedics, surgery, emergency medicine and behavioral health, Organ transplantation program, Clinical training site for the residency programs, and Gastroenterology & GI surgery

  • Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center – (Honolulu, HI):

    • Regionally ranked #2 in Hawaii and in Honolulu

    • Rated high performing in 1 adult specialty and 6 procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Specialties include Cancer care, Cardiac care, Maternity, Pediatrics

  • Adventist Health Castle - (Kailua, HI):

    • Rated high performing in 5 adult procedures and conditions

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Specialties include Nephrology, Back surgery (Spinal Fusion), and Orthopedics

  • Hilo Medical Center - (Hilo, HI):

    • Rated high performing in 1 adult procedure or condition

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Primarily specializes in Pulmonary and Lung Surgery

  • Kuakini Medical Center - (Honolulu, HI):

    • Rated high performing in 1 adult procedure or condition

    • General medical and surgical facility

    • Primarily specializes in Gastroenterology and GI Surgery

*The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) awards Magnet Status to Hospitals that apply and meet certain criteria. This award is also considered as the “gold standard” for excellence in nursing practice and care.


Nursing Associations in Hawaii

Becoming a member of a nursing association opens a lot of opportunities to your career growth. It gives you the advantages of varied job offers and networking, and a bunch of information and experiences shared between you and your fellow nurses. Through these organizations, learning and professional growth never stop. Listed below are just a few of the nursing organizations that you can find and join once you are in Hawaii.

Hawaii – American Nurses Association: “This organization encourages nurses to lead on the advancement of the healthcare system in the field where we live and work.”

Hawaii Nurses’ Association: “The members of this institution are committed to serve nursing in Hawaii, and work endlessly to keep the identity, integrity and continuity of the nursing profession.”

Hawaii Association of Professional Nurses: ”This group is for ALL nurses of all specialties and levels of education, including the students. One of its purposes is to heighten the awareness of the roles of the nurses.”

For more information about the nursing associations, you may visit the comprehensive list of national organizations as well.


Contact Details

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

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