Find an Education Path For Teaching in Hawaii, (HI)

If you decide that you want to be a teacher, there are certain steps to follow. The first step depends on where you are now on the path toward reaching your goal. Please choose the highest level of education that you have achieved and we will guide you through the steps to take as you advance towards a teaching career in Hawaii.

The information below will help you discover the steps you should take to become a teacher in Hawaii.

If You Have a High School Diploma or a GED

In Hawaii, high school graduates who have diplomas and some students who have GED certificates are eligible to apply directly to a four-year university to begin their post-secondary studies in education. Many students choose to enter a two-year or community college to earn an Associate degree or certificate in preparation to work in a field such as Early Childhood Education. Community and two-year colleges also offer Associate degrees that are designed for students who want to transfer to a four-year college and pursue an education-related bachelor’s degree.

  1. Learn about accredited schools that offer Associate degrees or Bachelor’s degrees focusing on education, specific academic content areas or student populations.
  2. Decide what grade level and subject area you are interested in teaching. Aspiring teachers can enroll at a community college and earn an Associate degree. Some two-year colleges offer programs that lead to certification in the field of Early Childhood Education.
  3. Contact colleges that fit your needs, and request information to help you make a decision about what school to attend and what degree program to pursue.

If You Have Completed Some College or Earned an Associate’s Degree

Students who complete certain education-based two-year college degrees or certificates will be prepared and qualified to enter the workforce as Childcare Professionals. Earning an Associate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. community college may satisfy General Education requirements necessary for enrollment in a Bachelor’s degree program at a four-year university. Students with appropriate Associate degrees may transfer to an education-related degree program at a four-year college. Taking courses required for a Bachelor’s degree in Education is a major step for students seeking a license to teach in Hawaii.

  1. Some two-year college programs are designed to allow a smooth transfer and transition into a four-year university. Two-year colleges can provides students with classes and credits necessary to enroll in a four-year college where they can continue with the academic coursework required to move closer to becoming a licensed educator in Hawaii.
  2. Investigate various state-approved Bachelor’s degree programs to find out which ones will accept transfer credits from the college you attended. Contact the schools that interest you to request more information.
  3. You can lay the groundwork for a bachelor’s degree while you are attending a community or two-year college, by completing the same courses you would take as a freshman and sophomore at a four-year college or university. When you transfer to a four-year institution, you will have fulfilled most of your General Education requirements, and will be able to concentrate on major in preparation for your future career.
  4. Some aspiring teachers, who have earned Associate Degrees or Credentials in Early Childhood Education, choose to seek employment and begin working with infants, toddlers and pre-school children. An Early Childhood Education certificate may qualify you for employment as a teaching assistant, paraeducator, or teacher for Early Childhood Education programs in Hawaii.

If You Have a Bachelor’s Degree …

Prospective teachers in Hawaii will need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree before they are qualified to apply for an official teacher’s license, granted by the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board. If you already have a Bachelor’s degree and want to be issued a license to teach in Hawaii, you must follow certain steps on the path toward teacher certification. The suggestions below describe different ways to achieve licensure, which often depends your undergraduate major.

  1. If you have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education that included an accredited Teacher Preparation Program, you have fulfilled the essential academic and teacher preparation requirements. Teacher Preparation Programs include classroom observations, fieldwork, and student teaching. Successful completion of all degree and teacher preparation requirements will qualify you to apply for a teaching license.
  2. The Hawaii Department of Education requires all teaching candidates to pass the Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Tests (PPST) that assesses basic skills in Reading, Writing and Mathematics. All aspiring teachers must also complete a State Approved Teacher Education Program (SATEP) and pass pedagogy and content knowledge tests in the SATEP field. In Hawaii, you must also pass an appropriate Praxis II test for the content area you plan to teach.
  3. Receiving a Bachelor’s degree with a major in liberal studies can be an important step toward certification as an Elementary level teacher. Some certification programs recommend the Liberal Arts major, because it prepares educators to teach in the many different subject areas taught in Elementary school classrooms.
  4. If you earn your Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in the specific subject you wish to teach, you may have satisfied many academic requirements recommended by credential programs. Majoring in a specific subject taught at the secondary school level prepares individuals to become endorsed or qualified to teach high school and middle school classes in that content area.
  5. Hawaii teaching candidates who earn a Bachelor’s degree in a major other than Education, or who have not finished a Teacher Preparation requirement, must complete an Educator Preparation Program at a regionally accredited institution. Some of these are stand-alone Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Preparation programs. You may decide to continue your academic coursework and fulfill your teacher preparation requirements by entering graduate school and studying for a Master degree in Education. Gather information and decide which route works best for you.
  6. When you have earned a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, completed a State Approved Teacher Education Program (SATEP), satisfied your student teaching hours, and passed all basic skills, knowledge, pedagogy and content area tests, you will be qualified to apply for a Provisional Teaching License, which is for teachers who are new to the profession and have never had a teaching license.

If You Have a Master’s Degree or are in a Master’s Degree program

Master’s of Education degree programs in Hawaii may include a State Approved Teacher Education Program (SATEP), which must be completed—along with fieldwork, student teaching and mandated exams–before applying for a license to teach in Hawaii. Teacher candidates whose Master’s degree major was not Education must enroll in and complete Hawaii’s State Approved Teacher Education Program (SATEP) as well as other requirements before submitting an application licensure to teach in Hawaii. Earning a Master’s degree in Education may increase the likelihood of getting a teaching job or a better teaching job; the average salary is higher for educators with Master’s degrees.

  1. Accredited universities with graduate programs in education offer a range of Master’s degrees that can lead you to a teaching license and a career as an educator. Master of Arts or Master of Science in Education, or Master of Education (M.Ed.) degrees may be offered concurrently with a Teacher Preparation program that is required for certification. You may also have the opportunity to focus on Elementary or Secondary Education, with an emphasis on the subject area you hope to teach.
  2. When you are ready to begin your teaching career, you must demonstrate that you have completed all requirements for certification or licensure. These steps include finishing required academic coursework, completing an approved Teacher Preparation Program, passing mandated tests, and fulfilling student teaching hours. The next step is to apply for your teaching certificate and begin searching for a job in the education field. Contact the Hawaii Department of Education to request information and an application.
  3. After completing their Master’s degree program, some graduate students decide to continue their education and pursue a doctorate degree. Hawaii offers a variety of Educational Doctoral Programs, such as a Ph.D. in Education, Specialization in Curriculum and Instruction. Gathering information about available doctorate degrees in your field or specialty will provide the information you need to select the best university and education program for you.