Recruit and Retain: The Future of Education

Teacher Certification in Hawaii

Hawaii teachers must meet general requirements and requirements in a particular sub-discipline or teaching field. Options are diverse. Some teachers have multiple teaching fields. It can take significantly less time to pick up a new teaching field once a teacher is credentialed.

Requirements for Initial Licensure

A prospective teacher will need to complete both a bachelor's degree and a teaching program. Prospective teachers most often complete their qualifying education through relatively traditional. academic programs. However, those who hold bachelor's degrees already may choose between traditional and nontraditional programs.

Teaching Fields

Hawaii recognizes many subjects and grade bands ( The educator will receive those designations for which he or she has demonstrated competence according to Board standards.

A teacher can, for example, have a special education, mild-moderate special education, or severe -profound special education teaching field with any of the following grade ranges: P-3, P-12, K-6, K-12, 6-8, 6-12. Early childhood may be P-K or P-3. A teacher can be credentialed in science or social studies in middle school (6-8) or secondary (6-12) grade bands; individual science and social studies disciplines can be recognized in the 6-12 grade band. Hawaii recognizes more science disciplines than many states; marine science and environmental science are among the options. A STEM option is also available at multiple levels, including K-6.

Hawaiian studies and Hawaiian language teaching fields are recognized in a range of grade bands. Hawaiian language immersion is among the options.

There are many options for adding a credential. Pathways may involve one or more of the following: a new program or degree, examination, teaching experience. A STEM teaching field may be granted on the basis of qualifying professional development. The licensing authority may accept 30 semester hours in a content field if it is taken as part of a bachelor’s degree program or includes at least 15 upper division semester hours. A teacher can add elementary education on the basis of 36 credit hours, distributed across the four core content areas (math, language arts, science, social studies), provided he or she has nine semester hours in each, with at least three semester hours in each subject classified as upper division. The teacher can instead add the elementary teaching field on the basis of having passed each of the four subtests of the Praxis Elementary Education: Multiple Subjects assessment. It is also acceptable for a prospective elementary teacher to use different methods for demonstrating competence in the various core areas; if a teacher has the required coursework in some sub-disciplines, he or she can test for the others.

Hawaii-Based Education and Examination

Programs need affiliate agreements to place teacher candidates in Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) schools. The Department of Education has provided lists of in-state and out-of-state programs that have these agreements in place ( Some programs that began in other states have branches in Hawaii (the University of Phoenix, Brigham Young University); these may be classified as in-state.

Programs that are approved by the Hawai'i Teacher Standards Board are also accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP).

The Professional Standards Board states that Hawaii educator preparation programs are a resource with regard to what examinations will be required. Hawaii utilizes ETS Praxis examinations. Exams are offered at Prometric sites. Mobile testing events are held on neighbor islands (

Levels of Licensure

Hawaiian provisional licenses are considered equivalent to NASDTEC Stage 2. Teachers can achieve licensure at this level if they are educated at the bachelor's level or higher and have completed a program that was approved for licensure in some state.

Standard licenses are considered equivalent to NASDTEC Stage 3. Hawaii teachers can be licensed at this level if they have recent experience. The minimum is three years, whether accrued in Hawaii or another state.

Advanced licenses are equivalent to NASDTEC Stage 4. There are multiple routes to Level 4. A teacher can be credentialed at this level on the basis of a master's, specialist, or doctoral degree in an appropriate field. A graduate program is not credited, however, if it was used to meet initial requirements for licensure. Board certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) is also qualifying. The licensing authority can also accept designation as a master teacher or teacher leader; this designation in at the employment level. Whichever of these pathways a teacher selects, he or she will need to demonstrate qualifying experience; experience requirements are slightly higher at this level.

A teacher who does not meet requirements at the Stage 2/ Provisional level will not be issued a license but may, in some cases, be authorized to teach under a permit. Emergency permits allow schools to place candidates who don't meet licensing requirements when there is a shortage of qualified professionals.

The Application Process

Supplemental forms are available on the Professional Teaching Standards Board website ( The application process itself is online; the forms page includes a link for creating an account.

There are a number of application categories for the Standard license. The applicant will need to demonstrate three out of five years of recent experience but, depending on circumstances, will submit different materials; documents could include verification of out-of-state teaching license or verification of completing a Hawaii alternative program (along with qualifying test scores). A teacher who has achieved NBPTS certification or Meritorious New Teacher Candidate recognition in another state will document this status in addition to his or her out-of-state license; this will result in exemption from all Hawaii testing requirements.

Out-of-state teachers demonstrate completion of an approved program through a paper form. Those who completed programs in Hawaii in the distant past may also need the form.

Those with international education will have it evaluated by a National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) member.

Additional Information

Information is available from the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board ( The Teacher Standards Board can be reached by phone at 808-586-2600 or by email at ‘htsb at’. The contact page includes information about toll-free calling from neighbor islands ( Those with accounts can obtain faster service by logging on and sending a message; it will become part of their record.