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Teaching License Updated August 8, 2014

Hawaii Teacher Certification: How to Become a Licensed Teacher in Hawaii

By Room 241 Team August 8, 2014

Making the decision to teach today’s students is an admirable career goal. You should determine how to qualify for and obtain your teaching license in whatever state you choose to work. Make sure to gather all the information you need for becoming a certified teacher in Hawaii, since there are various teaching license options in the state.

Requirements for certified teachers in Hawaii

The Hawaii State Department of Education provides the details of what you need to satisfy the general requirements for a Hawaii teaching license in academic subjects. You must meet Hawaii’s standards for being a Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT). First, you should have at least a bachelor’s degree from a State-Approved Teacher Education Program (SATEP) at a regionally-accredited university. Next, you must demonstrate competency in the core subject area/s you teach, also known as content licensure.

You can accomplish this through successfully passing the PRAXIS Core Academic Skills for Educators tests and appropriate sections of PRAXIS II relevant to the subjects you teach. In addition, the state of Hawaii requires completion of an approved teacher preparation program and a structured interview with an authorized professional staff interviewer.

Hawaii jobs for licensed teachers

You may be eligible for different types of licenses, depending on your qualifications.

A provisional license is suitable for those educators who have passed both the teacher preparation program and content licensure through the PRAXIS, but do not yet hold a teaching license in any state. The provisional license is valid for three years and must be renewed every three years unless you become eligible for another type of license.

standard license is suitable for those educators who want to move beyond the provisional status. The standard Hawaii teaching license is valid for five years. You may pursue this license through six different categories:

  • Category A: Suitable for educators who have completed a SATEP, but do not currently hold a teaching license in any state.
  • Category B: Suitable for educators who have completed a SATEP and hold a teaching license from another state, but do not currently hold a Hawaii teaching license.
  • Category C: Suitable for educators who have completed a SATEP, but currently hold a teaching license in another state.
  • Category D: Suitable for educators who currently hold a valid teaching license in any state and a National Board For Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Certificate.
  • Category E: Suitable for educators who received the Meritorious New Teacher Candidate (MNTC) Designation on their valid teaching license in any state.
  • Category F: Suitable for educators who have completed a non-U.S. SATEP, but do not currently hold a teaching license in any state.

An advanced license is available for educators who have graduate degrees in education in fields they teach or in areas that improve teaching, such as educational technology or curriculum development. The advanced license is valid for 10 years.

You may also add teaching fields to your standard or advanced license for subjects you qualify to teach, primarily through passing a SATEP. Four other ways to add teaching fields are through completing additional coursework or accumulating teaching experience in those fields; gaining approved teaching experience and passing related PRAXIS tests; earning an NBPTS certificate in a new field; or possessing current advanced license and acquire additional coursework in a new field.

You must also submit your fingerprints and pass a criminal background check to qualify for a teaching license in Hawaii.

If you plan to teach a subject designated as a Teacher Shortage Area (TSA) by the U.S. Department of Education, you might be eligible for student loan deferment or cancellation. The following TSAs have been approved for Hawaii for the 2015-2016 school year:

  • English/Reading
  • Hawaiian
  • Hawaiian Immersion
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Special Education
  • Vocational/Technical

A full and current list of TSAs for each state is available via the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

Teaching license reciprocity in Hawaii

Hawaii participates in a teaching license reciprocity agreement with the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC). When you apply for a teaching certificate in one state using an existing license from another, the “destination state” is actually recognizing your credentials as verification that you are qualified to teach. You must still meet all requirements before you can teach there.

Fortunately, the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement for Educator Licensure streamlines this application process and expedites the goal of teaching in your new state. For more information, see Teaching License Reciprocity Explained.

Disclaimer: Licensing requirements are subject to change. Please visit your state board of education to check for recent revisions to teaching license requirements.

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