Early Childhood Teacher Certification in Hawaii

Early Childhood Education in Hawaii

Hawaii, a tropical island chain known for its pristine beaches and beautiful weather, came in 29th in the country in Education Week’s 2013 annual national rankings. It also earned an overall state grade of “C+” and received its highest marks in Standards, Assessments, and Accountability. In 2012, the state was empowered to spend a $75 million Race to the Top grant, which has already brought improvements. Hawaii recognizes the importance of early childhood education and in 2013 approved a bill that will greatly increase the number of four-year-olds who can attend preschool. Overall, Hawaii is in need of passionate educators to support growth in education throughout the state for its students.

Teacher Certification and Licensure in Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Education includes extensive information about how to obtain certification/licensure. You will need to familiarize yourself with this site, as it contains many resources valuable to both aspiring and current teachers.

The five routes to certification in Hawaii are as follows:

  • Standard License: for teachers who have completed a teacher preparation program as well as other requirements
  • Provisional License: for teachers who have completed a teacher preparation program along with a content test but are not licensed in any state
  • Advanced License: for teachers with at least five years of successful teaching experience
  • Ni’ihau Teachers Permit: a special permit issued only on the island of Ni’ihau
  • Emergency Hire Special Permit: issued to unlicensed individuals to fill specific shortage areas

Individuals can apply online through the MY HTSB system. Please view the Frequently Asked Questions page, or contact the licensing department, should you have any further questions about the licensing/certification process.


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Hawaii’s ECE Degree Programs

There are five early childhood education degree programs in Hawaii.

is a land-grant college that offers a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (K through six), as well as a dual bachelor’s degree in both elementary and early childhood education (pre-K through six). A master’s degree in teaching and a variety of doctorates are also available. This school reinforces the importance of innovation and using technology within the classroom.

Chaminade University of Honoluluis a private Catholic Marianist school offering a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (K through six) as well as master’s degrees in teaching and education. It provides a rich educational experience, as well as a place where students can grow spiritually if they wish.

is primarily a commuter college in Hilo on the island of Hawaii, and describes itself as an academic village without walls. It offers a bachelor’s degree in social science with a concentration in early childhood education, as well as an associate degree that prepares students for early childhood teaching.

is a two-year public community college located on the oldest of the Hawaiian islands. It offers an associate degree in early childhood education that enables students to teach preschool in Hawaii.

is appealing to many because of its affordable tuition and small class sizes. It offers an associate degree in early childhood education. Students may choose to focus on infants or toddlers and preschool age children.

Getting a Teaching Job in Hawaii

There are several different avenues you can take to pursue a career in this dynamic field.

Public schools employ the vast majority of individuals seeking careers in early childhood education. Visit the job opportunities page to view open positions within the state. Hawaii has identified that their recruitment priorities are in the area of special education.

Other employers to become familiar with are private schools, Head Start and Montessori schools. Be sure to research the child-care centers in your local area, as many of these centers are in constant need of highly qualified teachers and assistant teachers. GreatSchools.org can help you find top-rated preschools and elementary schools in your community as well.

Hawaii’s Teacher Organizations

There are many professional organizations for teachers in the state of Hawaii that share similar visions.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) aims to improve the profession and local public schools. Its core values are professionalism, integrity, proactivity, advocacy, collaboration, and democracy. It provides union benefits and is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, with three million members in over 14,000 communities across the country.

The Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children (HAEYC) increases public awareness of the importance of early childhood education and provides professional development for teachers. With over 100,000 members, the organization focuses on providing support to children ages zero through eight, as well as their families. The organization is also an affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization consisting of 80,000 members.

There is also a variety of organizations for teachers based on specific areas of interest, including the Hawaii Science Teachers Association (HaSTA) or the or the Hawaii Council of Teachers of Mathematics (HCTM).


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The Hawaii Early Childhood Teacher Blog World

The KITV.com education section covers hot topics, issues, and events in Hawaii schools. Honolulu’s Civil Beat education section promotes accountability and achievement, while keeping readers up to date on how well the state is teaching its students. Many of Hawaii’s teachers also share insightful information through their personal blogs.

Mrs. Ricca’s Kindergarten is written by a new kindergarten teacher who shares her many rewarding experiences within her kindergarten classroom.

Surfin’ Through Second, from a teacher of 20 years, provides many resources and lesson plan ideas for elementary teachers.

Teaching with Style is maintained by a second-grade teacher who loves teaching and has special interests in both reading and ESOL.

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