An educated nurse is one of the biggest key players in the healthcare team. The nursing field is constantly evolving with healthcare reforms and medical technology. There are a few programs offered on the islands of Hilo and Honolulu. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of on-campus programs in the state so distance learning is becoming a more popular option for nursing students. According to the American Associate of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), there are more than 390 RN to Baccalaureate programs offered online. All of the programs are intended to broaden the scope of nursing practice by building on the education you already received in your diploma or associate degree program.

In our Hawaii RN program guide, find rankings for both ADN and BSN Degree programs, tuition costs, NCLEX passing rates, and more. Research key Hawaii RN Program information to help you compare program metrics and to apply to best RN program for your career in nursing.

In the State of Hawaii, nurses are helping to change the face of healthcare. To ensure that they have the best education and preparation for future health care challenges, registered nurses need to graduate from a state-approved associate's degree in nursing program or a BSN degree program.

Nurses who graduate from an RN program can obtain certification in over 100 nursing specialties, go on to earn an RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree.

BSN degree holders have options to earn an Advance Practice Register Nursing (APRN) degree and become a Nurse Practitioner (NP), or earn an advanced degree for a career in any number of nursing leadership roles such Nurse Educator or Clinical Nurse Specialist.

Hawaii RN Program Comparisons: ADN vs BSN

Compare RN ProgramsADNBSN
Number of Nursing Programs44
Average NCLEX Passing Rate81.00%80.18%
NCLEX Passing Rate Range76.73% to 89.15%73.33% to 86.45%
Average Net Price$6,463.25$15,663.50
Average Net Price Range$4,704.00 to $8,623.00$9,340.00 to $22,217.00
Average Student Loan$6,689.00$16,765.50
Average Student Loan Range$4,500.00 to $9,589.00$12,500.00 to $19,124.00
See Additional DetailADN Rankings for Hawaii StateBSN Rankings for Hawaii State

Best Ranked RN Programs in Hawaii

Best Ranked RN Programs in HawaiiTo help nursing students in their search for a top RN program, the education experts at 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

HI Rank
US Rank
Offered As:
99.24 ADNKapiolani Community College17 Honolulu

Kapiolani Community College is located in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Their motto is “Kulia I Ka Nu’u – Strive for the Highest.” They offer a practical nursing program, an RN program and a transition for LPN program.  The transition program is designed for LPNs who are seeking an RN license.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
89.62 ADNHawaii Community College2377 Hilo

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.

PublicCampusACENSee School Details
82.03 ADNKauai Community College3597 LihuePublicCampusACENSee School Details
80.65 ADNUniversity of Hawaii - Maui College4619 KahuluiPublicCampusACENSee School Details
93.69 BSNUniversity of Hawaii @ Manoa-MEPN1208 Honolulu

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.  There are also a variety of RN to BSN options; there is a specific RN to BSN program for those entering from certain community colleges.  There is also a generic RN to BSN program and a RN to BSN program for those RNs with more than two years of nursing experience.

PublicCampus, Hybrid, OnlineACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
81.38 BSNHawaii Pacific University2479 HonoluluPrivate Not-For-ProfitCampusACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
75.38 BSNUniversity of Hawaii at Hilo3512 Hilo

University of Hawaii at Hilo is located in Hilo, Hawaii.  Their nursing department offers a BSN program and an RN to BSN program.  The RN to BSN program is offered mostly online with the exception of the clinical component.  They also have a DNP program.  The DNP program has a BSN to DNP option.

PublicCampus, HybridACEN, ACME, CCNE, COASee School Details
69.63 BSNUniversity of Phoenix-Hawaii Campus4527 HonoluluPrivate For-ProfitCampus, OnlineACME, COASee School Details

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 Fees: Initial licensing fee, RN: $40 License renewal (every two years), RN: $160 Continuing Education Requirements: None 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.
Area nameEmploymentHourly median wageAnnual median wage
Honolulu, HI8,200$44.61$92,790
Hawaii / Maui / Kauai nonmetropolitan area2,450$40.75$84,750
Source:, 2014 Data