Selecting the best nursing school in Hawaii can be difficult. To make the process easier first look for a school that supports students towards licensure and beyond. A great way to measure this is through NCLEX-RN "pass rates." We have ranked the top 3 nursing schools in Hawaii by analyzing current and historical NCLEX-RN "pass rates", meaning the percentage of graduates who pass the exam, out of the 8 RN programs in the state. Programs reviewed include schools that offer an Associate in Nursing (ADN/ASN), BSN, or Direct-Entry MSN Degree.

For more information on our top nursing school rankings, see our Methodology Page (

Hawaii strives to be committed to the future and growth of their nurses by being one of the highest compensating states. Salaries, opportunities and growth are just some of the many benefits to being a nurse in Hawaii that possess their Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN). The estimated hourly income of a nurse, with BSN status, in Hawaii is on average $10.00 per hour more than that of the national rate. Hawaii is aspiring to reach an 80% average of their nurses possessing a BSN or greater degree by the year 2020.

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ADN Programs in Hawaii

There are a number of pathways that can be taken to become a nurse. With shortages in qualified nurses due to changes in healthcare and mass retirement throughout the industry, many students find a 2-year nursing program the most efficient route to starting their career. 2-year programs are generally referred to as ADN or Associate's Degree in Nursing programs and are often offered through many technical colleges in the state.

ADN programs are available in Hawaii! With a few programs at community colleges on the Big Island of Hawaii, the nursing profession is rising to meet the needs of the next generation.

What to Look For in an ADN Program in Hawaii

Choosing between ADN programs can be tough, but we're here to help! Take a look below at the some of the most important criteria for comparing each school.


Hawaiian junior, technical, and private colleges are accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which is an accrediting institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. ADN programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (CCNE). Students are encouraged to ensure that their college of choice meets these regulatory benchmarks.


Hawaii is subject to the same licensure regulations as the mainland. In order to ensure that every school offers a program that produces graduates who are able to take the NCLEX-RN, Hawaii's schools are required to be licensed. Potential students are still encouraged however, to double check this information on college websites and that of the state's Board of Nursing, as licensure is a standard that must be maintained from year to year. Throughout the state, more than 70% of RN licensure candidates passed their exam on the first attempt!

Program Outcomes

Each year, schools publish their graduate outcomes and successes. Comparing your school choices in this way might help you make a decision about where you'd like to start your future! Look for:

  • Annual total of program diploma-holders
  • Licensure pass rates
  • Student satisfaction met benchmarks
  • Employment opportunities within the nursing field

The Kapi‘olani Community College Nursing Department welcomes applicants who have aspirations of becoming a Hawaiian RN. For many, an ADN is the first step to a lifelong fulfilling career in patient care and management.

ADN Program Admission Requirements in Hawaii

Program admission requirements ensure that only the best candidates are selected for the ADN program. Entrance requirements are a key component in advancing the nursing profession. Requirements vary, but here are some of the more common ones:

  • Complete all application forms and submit ahead of college deadline
  • GPA with a minimum of 2.5 in pre-requisite science courses
  • Exhibit proficiency in other languages than English
  • Successfully pass a drug screening
  • Have an overall GPA of 2.5 or higher, depending on yearly program requirements

Tuition and Costs of ADN Programs in Hawaii

Colleges across the nation work to make the costs of college programs and their associated expenses transparent to students and their families. While costs do vary between institutions, there are some similarities when it comes to housing, uniforms, nursing equipment and student fees. Read on for a good sample case of ADN program costs in the state.

Located on the island of Maui, the University of Hawai‘i - Maui College charges about $3,000 for tuition and fees per year. Books are about $1,000. While no figure is given for nursing supplies and equipment, every effort has been made to source vendors who provide good value for dollars spent.

Advantages of ADN Programs

The ADN has strong advantages for students. In addition to the fact that it is significantly cheaper than university, the college's accessibility to the surrounding communities often means that students who become nurses have no problem networking with local clinics and hospitals as their 'home territory'. Building strong professional relationships during school often pays off for the ADN graduate.

BSN Programs in Hawaii

Undergraduate nursing programs at the university level (also called BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs) are generally twice as long as ADN programs, however, there are a number of reasons for this difference. Students who are unsure of what kind of nursing role they want to pursue find that the BSN prepares RNs for both bedside care and management roles within the hospital or clinic. Many jobs are structured to favor a candidate with more credentials so it can be worth your while! On the eight islands there are more than five BSN programs as the state strives to fill the gap in the patient care profession.

What To Look For in a BSN Program in Hawaii

With programs that range in length from an accelerated 2.5 years to 4 years, there are a number of options available to students on the islands. To find the university that is the best fit for your life and professional goals, we encourage students to look beyond the cost of a BSN program to evaluate factors like class sizing, clinical groupings, post-graduate employment rates and similar factors.

University of Hawai‘i - Hilo offers a comprehensive BSN program that places dual emphasis on evidence-based interactions as well as fostering a caring environment. The undergrad experience fosters mentorship and experiential leadership opportunities.

BSN Program Length in Hawaii

BSN programs have a standard length and pace which is 8 semesters long. However, those nurses who already have their license may be eligible to enter the accelerated RN-to-BSN program as offered through many of Hawaii's universities. Students are encouraged to consult with their school's admissions team in order to outline the appropriate path to a BSN.

BSN Program Admission Requirements in Hawaii

BSN program prerequisites vary from school to school, however BSN admission requirements for students are generally as follows:

  • Satisfactory completion of general education and program course requirements
  • School transcripts from high school and any post-secondary institutions
  • GPA of 2.75 or higher
  • Record of updated vaccinations
  • Be in good financial standing with the university
  • Complete a background and health inquiry screening

Tuition and Costs of BSN Programs in Hawaii

With a median wage of about $65,000 according to the BLS, it's a good idea to pursue a university education, but how do you figure out which school has the best value for their tuition? Best practice is to look at all the costs and school outcomes to see what seems to make the most sense for your life. One example is the Chaminade University of Honolulu, which advertises tuition at about $20,000 per year, on-campus housing and meal plan for about $12,000, and books, supplies and additional fees for about $2000.

Advantages of BSN Programs

Did you know that the amount of education that a nurse receives can impact their patient care statistics? Higher nursing education can make a noticeable difference in patient outcomes according to the AACN. Some data suggest that holding a BSN lowers patient mortality while under care, and also, that BSN degree holders are more accurate at patient diagnostics as well.

MSN Programs in Hawaii

One career acceleration tool available to BSN degree holders is the option of continuing to graduate work and receiving their MSN or Master of Science in Nursing. Specialized roles such as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Nurse Midwife, and Nurse Practitioner are only achievable by those who hold graduate-level credentials. Throughout the Aloha State, there are currently two universities that offer the MSN program, but they cover a lot of specialized and highly technical branches between them. Hawaiian citizens also have the option of pursuing an MSN degree from the mainland that is offered fully online.

MSN Program Length in Hawaii

With a full-time course load, the average MSN degree program requires three to four semesters of full-time work. With the heavy clinical and theoretical components in graduate level work, students should carefully consider their workload as they enter this phase of their education.

MSN Admission Requirements in Hawaii

Each graduate degree program has rigorous standards that students must meet in order to gain entrance to the program. While institutions vary, there are some similarities between programs admission requirements:

  • Pay application fees
  • Show proof of "C" or better in pre-requisite courses at the undergraduate level
  • Show proof of English Language Proficiency or submit a Test of English a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a 600+ score
  • Have passed the NCLEX licensure exam by the end of the first semester of graduate work
  • Show evidence of up-to-date vaccination schedule

Tuition and Costs of MSN Programs in Hawaii

Due the intense level of instruction in each nursing graduate program, tuition fees and associated costs of attendance are somewhat higher. To provide an example, the Hawaii Pacific University, a private university located in Honolulu is approximately $1,100 per credit hour and students are expected to accrue 50 credit hours toward their degree. Additional costs are not included in tuition estimates.

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Getting a Hawaii Nursing License

Hawaii state application for licensure by examination or endorsement are as follows:

Application by examination must include the following documentation:

  • Completed application with code - NSG-01 0616R
  • Official final transcript - sent directly from school to the nursing board
  • Copy of government issued ID that includes photo and date of birth
  • Provide Social Security Number and a copy of the card

Endorsement for licensure can be completed by submitting:

  • Successful completion of one of the following: NCLEX-RN, State Board Test Pool
  • Exam (SBTPE), or a state board examination incepted before the SBTPE
  • Graduate from a state approved institution
  • Copy of Social Security Number
  • Verification of original licensure by examination - provide date of request for license verification
  • Verification can be done via NURSYS (if applicable)

Accelerated Nursing Programs in Hawaii

At this time there are no known schools within the state of Hawaii that offer accelerated nursing programs. This means that candidates who want to earn their degree must look into online options, which can offer flexibility in course start dates, sequence of courses taken, and the ability to work around personal and professional obligations. Requirements for entry into these programs can vary from one program to another, so one should research the program of interest. Tuition for these programs will be dependent upon any courses you may have to take before entrance, as well as the program tuition.

Best RN Programs in Hawaii


4303 Diamond Head Rd, Honolulu, HI 96816 (808) 734-9000

Located on Oahu, Kapiolani Community College is affiliated with the University of Hawaii; the college's nursing program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. First and second year students receive ample clinical and classroom hours to work in a variety of healthcare settings once graduated and licensed.

Score: 85.87| Programs: Associate in Nursing

2500 Campus Rd, Honolulu, HI 96822 (808) 956-8111

For more than seven decades, the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene has been the foremost research institution on the islands. Caring, renowned faculty mentor nursing students in health care theory and practice designed to enhance patient outcomes and community health throughout the islands.

Score: 83.85| Programs: Associate in Nursing, MSN

200 W Kawili St, Hilo, HI 96720 (808) 934-2500

Hawaii Community College is an integral part of the community of Hilo. With a mandate that nursing is a vocation and not simply a job, HCC's nursing faculty mentor students and foster respect for diversity and evidence-based learning, both in theory and in clinical rotation.

Score: 82.48| Programs: Associate in Nursing

Continued List of All RN Programs in Hawaii

200 W Kawili St, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 932-7799
Programs: BSN
3-1901 Kaumualii Hwy, Lihue, HI 96766
(808) 245-8311
Programs: Associate in Nursing
310 W Kaahumanu Ave, Kahului, HI 96732
(808) 984-3500
Programs: Associate in Nursing
1164 Bishop St, Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 544-0200
Programs: BSN
3140 Waialae Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 739-8340
Programs: BSN

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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