Overview of Nursing Schools in Hawaii

  • There are 9 nursing schools in Hawaii. The CCNE accredits 3 nursing schools and the ACEN accredits 7 schools in Hawaii.
  • Typically, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) will take between 18 to 24 months to complete, and a Bachelor Degree in Nursing (BSN) will take about 4 years to complete.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for ADN students in Hawaii is between 82.80% and 98.70%.
  • The average NCLEX passing rate range for BSN students in Hawaii is between 50.00% and 99.21%.
  • The average annual salary for registered nurses is between $52,080 to $111,220 a year.
  • Registered Nurses (RN) throughout the country and in Hawaii can expect a favorable job growth of 15 percent from 2016 to 2026 which much faster than the average for all occupations.

About Nursing Schools in Hawaii

There are currently 11,410 Registered Nurses and 390 Nurse Practitioners working in the state of Hawaii. The average annual salary of the former is $104,920, while NPs earn $72,930; this figure only goes on to show how Hawaii is a great place for nurses to work and thrive in. 

While both RNs and NPs work in a culturally diverse and ever-changing environment in Hawaii, the latter has been given Full Practice Authority by the State Board of Nursing. A Full Practice Authority allows NPs to evaluate patients, diagnose, order, and interpret diagnostic tests, and initiate and manage treatments, including prescribing medications and controlled substances, under the exclusive licensure authority of the state board of nursing.

One of the best qualities of nursing schools in Hawaii is that they create a close-knit community-like environment for their students to learn and thrive in. 

Nursing Schools in Hawaii prepare professional, competent, and compassionate care providers who are culturally sensitive. The schools allow their students to practice in high-end healthcare clinics as well as in rural settings, so that they are competent enough to work in any kind of setting. The nursing schools mentioned in this article are some of the best in the state and the entire country and they provide their students with countless opportunities to excel at their study and profession while also being accessible and affordable.

Hawaii RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN Programs ADN BSN
Number of Nursing Programs 4 4
Average NCLEX Passing Rate 89.13% 83.06%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range 82.80% to 98.70% 50.00% to 99.21%

Nursing Programs Offered by Hawaii Nursing Schools

  • Registered Nursing: 8
  • Family Nurse Practitioner: 3
  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Gerontology Nurse Practitioner: 1
  • Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner: 1

Hawaii Nursing Schools with the Most Degree Types

Best Ranked RN Programs in Hawaii

Best Ranked RN Programs in Hawaii

To help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at RNCareers.org publish their annual findings of the best nursing schools for both Hawaii and the country. Schools ranked on our list have proven their ability to educate highly competent nurses.

To create our rankings, we evaluated 4 ADN degree programs and 4 BSN degree programs in Hawaii. We obtained each institution’s first-time NCLEX-RN passing rates, the number of students taking the test, the program nursing accreditation and more. We then compared the results against other nursing programs in Hawaii to provide our state rankings. View our methodology

Best Nursing Schools in Hawaii

University of Hawaii @ Manoa-MEPN

School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene

99.21% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 2500 Campus Road, Honolulu, HI - 96822-2217
  • (808) 956-8111
Nurse Admin: Clementia D. Ceria-Ulep, PhD, MS, RN
Title: Interim Dean
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 99.21%
  • Programs: Adult Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Gerontology Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Accelerated MSN, Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP, Post Master's NP Certificate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 1344
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $12,186
  • Book and Supplies: $1,350
  • Percent Received Aid: 72%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $7,675
  • Percent Admitted: 84%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 20%
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

University of Hawaii at Manoa is located in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Their nursing department offers many options for its nursing students.  They offer a general BSN degree.  They also offer a high school direct entry option, which allows an incoming freshmen entrance into the program. The School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is the only doctoral/research university-intensive institution in Hawaii. Both the school and University are dedicated to improving the global healthcare scenario through education, research, and service. In addition to instructional, clinical, and research activities, the school also has a Translational Health Science Simulation Center that trains students, faculty, and practicing providers to improve healthcare quality and patient safety.

To ensure that no student gets left behind in academia, the school has a Veterans to Nurses Program, which helps US veterans get accelerated BS nursing degree through academic and support services. Similarly, the IKE AO PONO Program assists Native Hawaiian Pacific Island students in achieving academic success. Thus, if you are looking for a diverse and inclusive study environment, then the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene is the best choice you can make.

Undergraduate Programs: The Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene welcomes students from all backgrounds and has individualized programs for each group of students. There is a full-time High School Direct Entry program that directly admits high-school students so that they can complete their nursing degrees in four years. Similarly, the BS in nursing degree admits current UH Manoa transfer and veteran students. Finally, the Online Associate Degree in Nursing to Bachelor science is a part-time and full-time online class designed for ADN diploma graduates.

Graduate Programs: University of Hawaii at Manoa offers both masters and doctor of nursing practice degrees for individuals with or without a nursing bachelor’s degree and for RNs with an associate degree as well. The Master’s Degree in Advanced Population Health Nursing prepares nurses for an advanced role in population health. Similarly, the University has multiple Doctoral programs such as Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, and Post-Master’s in Organizational Leadership, all of which prepare nurses for specialized advanced nursing practice and organizational leadership.

Kapiolani Community College

98.70% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 4303 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, HI - 96816-4421
  • (808) 734-9000
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 98.70%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 165
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $3,284
  • Book and Supplies: $1,350
  • Percent Received Aid: 58%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $4,072
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 22%

Kapiolani Community College is located in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Their motto is "Kulia I Ka Nu'u - Strive for the Highest." The nursing program at Kapiolani Community College ranks as one of the best in both the state and nation. Located in Honolulu, Hawaii prepares nurses to work in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, doctors’ offices, community healthcare settings, and so on. 

Kapiolani Community College has incorporated a career ladder model into their Associate in Science degree in Nursing program. This model aims to allow students to acquire skills to become a nurse aid while also training for their licensure to become practical nurses and registered nurses.

The students are considered capable enough to become a nurse aide after completing the first semester of the ADN program in an acute setting. Similarly, the students who are interested in obtaining certification as a nurse aide in a long-term care setting need to apply and be accepted into their Long-Term Care Nurse Aide course. 

To guide potential students and help them evaluate their eligibility, Kapiolani Community College holds Nursing information sessions regularly. The college also provides federal financial aid, UH System tuition waivers, and private nursing scholarships to their students.

Undergraduate Programs: Kapiolani Community’s Associated Science Degree in Nursing Program prepares nurses to participate in the planning, implementing, and evaluating nursing care in various settings. Graduates of this degree are eligible to both work as RNs or get direct admission in the fourth year of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs at UH Manoa and UH Hilo.

Chaminade University of Honolulu

School of Nursing

91.29% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 3140 Waialae Avenue, Honolulu, HI - 96816-1578
  • (808) 735-4711
Nurse Admin: Rhoberta J. Haley, PhD, RN
Title: Dean
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 91.29%
  • Programs:
  • Award Levels:

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 91
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $1,600
  • Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Percent Received Aid: 100%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $15,545
  • Percent Admitted: 89%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 18%
  • Graduation Rate: 59%

Hawaii Community College

90.40% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1175 Manono Street, Hilo, HI - 96720-5096
  • (808) 934-2500
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (A) 90.40%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 82
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $3,204
  • Book and Supplies: $1,350
  • Percent Received Aid: 76%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $4,424
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 27%

The Division of Nursing and Allied Health offers two separate nursing programs: the Certificate of Achievement in Practical Nursing leading to licensed practical nursing and the Associate of Science in Nursing leading to registered nursing. Adult Residential Care Home Operator classes are also offered. Upon completing the prescribed ARCH coursework, students will be eligible for licensure by the State Department of Health as an Adult Residential Care Home Operator.

The Nursing and Allied Health Division of Hawaii Community College ranks among the best in both the state and the country. The college is the perfect educational center for students who want to be a part of a close-knit community. Hawaii Community College is no less than a Hawaiian village composed of a family of administrators, faculty, staff, students, their family, and the Hawaii Island Community. 

Hawaii Community College has made a commitment to become the center for the study of Hawaiian culture, where students prosper in a work-based learning environment as they apply classroom education to the community. There are program advisory councils for each program, and continuous efforts are made to learn how the students and the college can assist in the development of the community. 

There are also multiple financial aid options to help students achieve their maximum academic potential without the burden of financial constraints. 

Undergraduate Programs: Hawaii Community College offers two undergraduate programs, one of which is the Certificate of Achievement in Practical Nursing. The course prepares students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for entry-level positions as LPNs. Graduates are also eligible to sit for the NCLEX-PN.

Their Associate in Science Degree in Nursing prepares nurses to practice as RNs in all kinds of healthcare facilities such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, and community-based settings.

University of Hawaii - Maui College

Career Ladder Nursing Program Professional/Community

89.27% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 310 W Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, HI - 96732-1617
  • (808) 984-3500
Nurse Admin: Anne Scharnhorst, MN, RN
Title: Allied Health Department Chair
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 89.27%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 70
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $3,278
  • Book and Supplies: $1,350
  • Percent Received Aid: 66%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $4,391
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

The Nursing Program at the University of Hawaii, Maui College, provides a collaborative learning experience that teaches the students the values of hope, harmony, compassion, responsibility, and goodness. The university itself is committed to providing affordable, convenient, and inclusive education to every student.

Nursing education at the University of Hawaii, Maui College incorporates knowledge, skills, and attitudes with quality learning and compassionate care in their education. The students learn nursing skills and theory from top-class instructors in small classroom sizes where each students’ individuality is valued. They also practice their clinical skills in a variety of healthcare institutions in the area where they learn clinical reasoning, judgment, patient evaluation, and communication. Various nurse leaders and care providers graduating from UHMC have gone on to work in a plethora of healthcare facilities all over the world.

Undergraduate Programs: UHMC has two undergraduate programs as a part of the Nursing Career Ladder program. The students are awarded a Certificate of Achievement (CA) when they graduate with their Practical Nurse degree. There is also an Associate in Science Degree (AS) for students who want to sit for their NCLEX-RN exam and become Registered Nurses.

IN addition to it, students who have successfully completed their PN and RN courses can study in the BSN program at UH Manoa or get admitted to the third level UHM Bachelor of Science courses offered at UHMC

Kauai Community College

86.30% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 3-1901 Kaumualii Highway, Lihue, HI - 96766-9500
  • (808) 245-8311
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 86.30%
  • Programs: Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Associate

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 52
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $3,252
  • Book and Supplies: $1,350
  • Percent Received Aid: 73%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $4,033
  • Percent Admitted: N/A
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: N/A
  • Graduation Rate: 25%

Located in Lihue, Hawaii, the nursing school of Kauai Community College ranks among the state’s finest. Kauai Community College strives to create an inclusive environment for all kinds of students, and thus the college doesn’t tolerate discrimination of any kind. If you are looking for a safe and close-knit environment to thrive in, then you should definitely turn to Kauai Community College. 

The nursing students here benefit through the Career Ladder Nursing program, which allows students to get a Certificate of Achievement and eligibility to take the NCLEX-PN after the completion of the first year of the ADN curriculum. Similarly, graduates of the program are eligible for direct admission to the fourth year of the BSN program at UH Manoa. 

In addition to the courses, the college also encourages students to keep learning through its non-credit courses of business and lifelong learning through the Office of Continuing Education. The college provides open access, affordable education in small classes that value students’ individuality and quality education. 

Undergraduate Programs: The three-year ADN course at Kauai Community College helps to prepare competent nurses who develop clinical insights through reflective practice, self-analysis, and self-care. Nursing graduates of Kauai Community College are well-versed in communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and client-centered care.

Hawaii Pacific University

College of Nursing and Health Sciences

82.81% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 1 Aloha Tower Drive, Honolulu, HI - 96813
  • (808) 544-0200
Nurse Admin: Carolyn Yucha, PhD, RN, FAAN
Title: Interim Dean
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 82.81%
  • Programs: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: APRN Certificate, Bachelor, LPN to BSN, MSN, Post Master's NP Certificate, RN to MSN

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 159
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $1,300
  • Book and Supplies: N/A
  • Percent Received Aid: 97%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $12,723
  • Percent Admitted: 81%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 8%
  • Graduation Rate: 46%

The nursing department of Hawaii Pacific University College of Health and Society is dedicated to the education of competent healthcare professionals. The students are instructed in an honest, moral, responsible, and kind environment, and they practice these values in their careers as well. 

Instructors at HPU are top in their respective fields and excel in both face-to-face teaching and online environments. This affordable school is committed to providing the students with the best private education that enables them to become highly-qualified caregivers and changemakers. Students here learn in a flexible, multicultural environment, and they practice their skills in multiple healthcare centers, as well as the Experimental Learning Center. 

Undergraduate Programs: The BSN curriculum at HPU provides students with the opportunity to study concepts, theories, and skills through a challenging curriculum and competent, caring faculty.

Graduate Programs: The school also offers a Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) course dedicated to preparing nurse leaders, quality caregivers, and policymakers. Students also have the option to attend the MSN classes online at their convenience. The MSN course allows students to choose between Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner.

HPU also has a DNP course which can be taken both online and face-to-face. This course prepares nurses to become the highest level of nurse administrators, policymakers, instructors, and researchers.

University of Hawaii at Hilo

School of Nursing

81.81% 3-Year
Pass Rate
  • 200 W Kawili St, Hilo, HI - 96720-4091
  • (808) 932-7446
Nurse Admin: Jeanette Ayers Kawakami, DNP, MSN, RN
Title: Director
  • NCLEX Passing Rate: (B) 81.81%
  • Programs: Family Nurse Practitioner, Registered Nursing
  • Award Levels: Bachelor, BSN to DNP, MSN, MSN to DNP

University Information

  • Total Faculty: 191
  • In-State Undergraduate Tuition: $7,838
  • Book and Supplies: $1,350
  • Percent Received Aid: 89%
  • Average Grant or Scholarship: $7,680
  • Percent Admitted: 74%
  • Percent Admitted who Enrolled: 20%
  • Graduation Rate: 38%

Located at the heart of Hilo, Hawaii, the School of Nursing at the University of Hawaii at Hilo strives to prepare students to thrive, compete, innovate, and lead in their professional and personal lives. Students are actively engaged in applying their theoretical knowledge with practice and connecting with the distinctive natural and cultural environments of Hawaii.

Students at UH Hilo School of nursing are actively invested in research, community service, internships, and study abroad activities. They are instructed in a small-sized classroom which further helps to create long-lasting bonds between students and faculty members, which creates a close-knit community-like environment that helps students learn more and prosper. 

The School of Nursing allows students to engage in health-related projects in community projects such as health teaching in elementary schools and blood pressure and diabetic screening activities. The students get the opportunity to learn in rural clinical settings. The school also has a learning lab with low and high-fidelity manikins that create a simulated hospital environment where students learn to excel at their clinical skills.

Undergraduate Programs: The BSN program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo allows students to engage in hands-on learning and leadership environments. The program emphasizes life-long learning and also teaches students to deliver quality nursing care that is culturally sensitive in rural environments as well.

There is also an RN to BSN program designed for practicing RNs and is designed with flexibility that helps the students work around their schedule. 

Graduate Programs: UH, Hilo School of Nursing offers a DNP program designed to prepare the nurses for advanced nursing practice and leadership. The DNP program provides them with a terminal degree in Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) course, which focuses on leadership and application of research and practice. There are two pathways for the DNP program at UH Hilo, namely, MSN to DNP and BSN to DNP.

Become an Advance Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) in Hawaii

RNs who wish to become advanced practice registered nurses will want to pursue any number of avenues to earn Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. Earning a Master of Science in Nursing consists of graduate-level coursework and clinical practice for those nurses who wish to direct patient roles such as a nurse practitioner. You can also pursue indirect patient roles such as teaching or leadership roles, or become involved in policy, state-wide health initiatives or community engagement. There are many clinical and non-clinical avenues that an RN with MSN can pursue.

Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) in Hawaii

Learn how to become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) and research schools in Hawaii offering the following high paying nurse practitioner specialties:

Learn about Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Degree.

Hawaii  RN Licensing Requirements

Hawaii State Board of Nursing
King Kalakaua Building
335 Merchant Street, Room 301
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 586-3000

Initial licensing fee, RN: $40
License renewal (every two years), RN: $160

Continuing Education Requirements:

It is recommended that an RN candidate should enroll in a professional nursing program that is nationally accredited or state approved. There are five BSN programs within Hawaii: three in Honolulu, one in Hilo, and one in Kaneohe. Programs that have been completed in the armed forces are not usually found to be equivalent to RN programs.

RN Licensure by Exam

The state of Hawaii has strict guidelines for RNs to meet in order to gain licensure. In addition to completing the NCLEX exam (which costs $200 to take and cannot be completed until the candidate has received Authorization to Test), the candidate must also submit the following:

  • Verification of educational requirements
  • $40 for the application fee

It is worth noting that a candidate may retake an exam but it has to be done within two years of completing the application. The exam is the second to last step in the licensing process with the last step being paying the licensing fee.

RN Licensure by Endorsement

Candidates who completed a program in one of the other 50 states may be able to obtain licensure by endorsement. They will need to provide license verification through an official document

RN License for Nurses Educated Abroad

International candidates are required to have equivalency evaluated through the CGFNP. They are also responsible for the NCLEX, with the exception of some Canadian nurses who took the SBTPE.

RN Salaries in Hawaii

It is a fact that a highly educated nurse has the ability to provide safer and more effective patient care. Hawaii was chosen as a recipient of the Robert Wood Johns Foundation Academic Progression in nursing grant in 2012. It was a $300,000 grant that was used to create strategies that led to highly educated and diverse nursing population. There is a wide selection of jobs available in the nursing market of Hawaii that are based on your educational level. The Department of Health in Hawaii also has a variety of specialized nursing positions, which are perfect for a nurse with a Bachelor’s degree and they include:

  • Public Health Nursing
  • Genetics
  • Immunizations
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Early Intervention for at Risk Children and Families
  • Rural Health

Hawaii Registered Nursing Salaries

Honolulu has both more nursing opportunities and higher wages than the non-metropolitan areas of Hawaii like Maui and Kauai. Yet, both areas offer very high salaries for RNs compared to the continental United States.

CityEmploymentHourly WageAnnual Salary
Kauai Nonmetropolitan1,730$47$97,950
BLS - November, 2021

Nursing Salary Comparison in Hawaii

According to the BLS, see what nurses earn depending upon their education and occupation.

OccupationEmploymentHourly WageAnnual Salary
Nursing Instructors280-$76,540
Registered Nurses11,260$50$104,830
Nurse Anesthetists-$97$201,930
Nurse Practitioners390$57$118,780
LPN / LVN930$26$54,160
Nursing Assistants4,050$19$38,650
BLS - November, 2021

Hawaii Nursing Salaries by Experience Level

This culturally rich and inclusive state allows experienced RNs to earn up to $134,660 while NPs with more than 20 years of experience earn up to $163,520. Thus it is safe to say that nursing as a profession is well paid for and has a lot of room to grow in Hawaii.

OccupationEmployment1 to 4 Years5 to 9 Years10 to 19 Years20+ Years
Nursing Instructors280$53,300$57,450$94,620$117,860
Registered Nurses11,260$70,090$90,080$124,880$134,660
Nurse Anesthetists-$176,280$184,120--
Nurse Practitioners390$72,930$95,790$145,350$163,520
LPN / LVN930$43,100$47,290$60,070$64,600
Nursing Assistants4,050$28,500$33,120$44,230$51,070
BLS - November, 2021

Projected Number of Nurses Needed in Hawaii Through 2028

It has been estimated that the number of RNs working in Hawaii will increase by 12.2% from the year 2018 to 2028, taking the total number of working RNs to 13,040. Similarly, with an average annual opening of 40 NPs, the total number of them working is expected to rise to 520 by the year 2028.

Occupation20182028Change%ChangeAvg. Annual Openings
LPN / LVN1,2401,40016012.9120
Nurse Anesthetists80901012.510
Nurse Practitioners42052010023.840
Nursing Assistants4,9305,48055011.2640
Nursing Instructors2603206023.130
Registered Nurses11,62013,0401,42012.2800
US Department of Labor



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