The best Hawaii nursing schools have programs for new nurses and degrees for working nurses returning to school. We have your guide to the Top 10 Best Nursing Programs in Hawaii! Also known as the Aloha State, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States in 1959. A group of Pacific islands located 2,000 miles from the US mainland, Hawaii is known for its slower pace of life. It also boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Beaches, mountains, waterfalls, and warm weather – Hawaii seems to have it all!
Currently experiencing a nursing shortage, Hawaii needs nurses. The cost of living is higher in Hawaii than in the 48 states. But the nursing salaries are also the highest in the country. So, if you are interested in starting a nursing career in Hawaii, consider one of these Top 10 Best Nursing Programs in Hawaii. Paradise awaits!
HOW WE RANKED THE BEST NURSING SCHOOLS IN HAWAII
Below are the top ten best nursing schools and nursing programs in Hawaii. Some of these schools offer a single degree, and many programs offer multiple degrees and avenues to earn a degree. Nursing School Hub editors found reputable, accredited institutions with nursing schools for our ranking of the best nursing programs in Hawaii. We ranked the Best Nursing Programs in Hawaii according to various factors, including student satisfaction, the cost of tuition, and salary potential.
1. The University of Hawaii at Manoa
The University of Hawaii at Manoa offers one of the best nursing programs in Hawaii. Graduates of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program have the education and knowledge to pursue an advanced degree or pursue their nursing career. The program prepares nurses to work in various inpatient or outpatient settings and sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. Students complete 32 credit hours of prerequisites in the 120 credit hour program before completing nursing and laboratory requirements. The cohort program, designed to be completed in three years, and the outstanding nursing program faculty committed to advancing health care delivery are some reasons for considering this school a best nursing school in Hawaii.
Students receive a personalized review of their completed coursework once admitted to the BSN program and receive an individualized progression plan. Nursing students who are veterans with military medical training and experience may receive some academic credit towards completing the nursing program. The school also offers a master’s degree in nursing (MSN), a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and a PhD in Nursing program for students wishing to continue their education. The school also offers the Graduate Entry Program in Nursing for individuals who have a degree in a field other than nursing. This program is for non-nurses who are interested in a career change and becoming a nurse. Students select a specialty area and a graduate degree, either the MS or the DNP degree program.
Degrees: BSN, online RN-BSN, MSN, DPN
2. Kapiolani Community College
One of the best nursing programs in Hawaii is at Kapiolani Community College. The Kapiolani Associate in Science degree in nursing program admits new students each semester. Students enrolled in the program at the Honolulu school receive theoretical instruction and an opportunity for clinical application of nursing skills. In addition, they have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills to sit for the National Council for Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) upon completing their coursework.
Nursing program graduates have the qualifications to perform the duties of an entry-level registered nurse (RN). The ACEN accredits the KCC nursing program. The school invites students to “engage, learn, achieve” while attending the commuter school. The Kapiolani Community College nursing program in Honolulu provides the education that prepares students to continue their education. Graduates are eligible for admission to the fourth-year BSN programs at the University of Hawaii at UH Manoa and UH Hilo. The school boasts a 100% first-time NCLEX-RN pass rate.
Degrees: ASN (RN)
3. Chaminade University of Honolulu
The Chaminade University of Honolulu provides students with one of the best nursing programs and schools in Hawaii. Students enrolled in the BS Nursing program to experience “the life of a nurse” from their first day of class. Students gain knowledge and skills through classroom learning, community outreach projects, and supervised clinical practices throughout the program. The school prepares students to work in various ever-changing nursing settings while also providing an education in the humanities and sciences. The BS Nursing program at the Chaminade University of Honolulu focuses on a holistic approach to teaching students, allowing students to focus on mind, body, and spirit in their professional development. Students gain skills in patient-centered care and evidence-based practice in the CCNE accredited program.
The Chaminade University of Honolulu features a four-year graduation guarantee. The school recognizes that graduating on time saves students time and money. It also reduces the overall number of students in the US that do not graduate on time. In addition, the robust academic advising in the program helps to ensure that nursing students receive an outstanding education that allows them to pursue a rewarding nursing career. Chaminade is the only Catholic University in Hawaii. The school opened in 1955 and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
4. Kauai Community College
Enroll in the Kauai Community College Career Ladder Nursing program and enjoy a program that allows for flexibility in educational and career planning. As one of the best nursing programs in Hawaii, the Kauai Community College offers an affordable path to a career in nursing. Students start the nursing program in the fall semester. The first year consists of three semesters of study. Students that complete the first year receive a Certificate of Achievement (CA) and meet eligibility requirements to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam.
Students who meet satisfactory criteria for continuing into year two of the Career Ladder Nursing Program complete the Associate in Science (AS) degree. Graduates who have met all the requirements can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam. In 2019 the school’s NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate was 89.7%. Kauai offers open access, affordable education, values, and welcomes diversity. The ACEN provides accreditation for the Kauai Community College nursing program.
Degrees: LPN – RN Pathway
5. University of Hawaii at Hilo
As one of the best nursing programs in Hawaii, the University of Hawaii at Hilo offers a comprehensive nursing education. Hilo’s School of Nursing offers both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The BSN program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo offers a variety of hands-on learning and leadership opportunities while stressing a high-quality, rigorous educational program. Students benefit from the caring, personalized learning atmosphere while focusing on the curriculum that “emphasizes respect for multi-ethnic populations.” The program has a philosophy that, in part, includes the belief that people are holistic and unique and that people have a role as a partner in their health care. The curriculum consists of 123 credit hours of study, consisting of required pre-core courses, nursing courses, and electives. Students also complete practicums as part of their studies.
The University of Hawaii at Hilo BSN program has accreditation from the ACEN. Program graduates qualify to sit for the NCLEX exam. The program is the only baccalaureate nursing program on the outer islands. In addition, students benefit from the smaller community setting.
Degrees: BSN, DNP
6. Hawaii Community College
Hawaii Community College has one of the best and most affordable nursing programs in Hawaii. HCC offers an Associate in Science Degree in Nursing degree that provides students with entry-level education and skills to practice as an RN. The program prepares students with the skills to coordinate patient care with two pathways. The first path is for new non-nursing applicants. Licensed Practical Nurses can enroll in the second path with advanced standing. Once students complete the seventy-three credits, they earn the degree. Graduates can provide patient care in inpatient and outpatient settings and educate patients and communities about health-related conditions. The core skills of the program include critical thinking and effective communication.
Hawaii Community College is part of the ten school University of Hawaii system. HCC holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. In addition, the nursing program holds ACEN accreditation.
Degrees: AS-NURS(RN), LPN to AS-NURS (LPN-RN)
7. University of Hawaii Maui College
The nursing program at the University of Hawaii Maui College is another best nursing school in Hawaii. The school offers students a multi-level nursing education experience. The Associate in Science in Nursing Registered Nurse (RN) requires that students complete 73 hours of study. This program at Maui College has a current 90.24 NCLEX-RN first-time pass rate. Students may also opt for the Practical Nurse (PN) program, which leads to becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. In addition, a Bachelor of Science (BS) Registered Nurse (RN) degree is available for students transferring to UH Manoa. Nursing programs at the University of Hawaii Maui College provide a collaborative learning experience, classroom learning, and clinical immersion. Prospective students submit their applications by the January deadline for fall enrollment.
The University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC) serves three islands and has a 14:1 faculty to student ratio. UHMC’s main campus is in Kahului, and the school maintains four satellite education centers. The public college opened in 1931 and is a part of the University of Hawaii system.
Degrees: PN (LPN), ASN (RN)
8. Hawaii Pacific University
You can find another one of the best nursing programs in Hawaii at Hawaii Pacific University. The HPU Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program features learning in the classroom setting and the opportunity to gain hands-on learning experiences. Students participate in clinical placements and the experiential learning center. These centers feature simulations that represent real-world medical scenarios that teach patient-centered care across the lifespan. The program also prepares students to use evidence-based practices and patient care technologies related to the nursing environment. The school also offers an HM to BSN for Military Hospital Corpsman students that complete the general education requirements, prerequisites, and the required nursing curriculum with a minimum 2.75 GPA. In addition, students enrolled in the HM to BSN program must earn a grade of C, or 73%, in each nursing course.
Hawaii Pacific University features an exceptional opportunity for graduates of the BSN program that wish to continue their nursing education. Advanced degree offerings include the traditional or online MSN program, the online or traditional DNP program, and the Post-Master Certificate programs. In addition, HPU has a variety of housing options and offers several scholarship opportunities. The nursing program has CCNE accreditation.
Degrees: BSN, RN-BSN, HM-BSN, LPN-BSN, MSN, DNP
9. Honolulu Community College
Students can start their nursing journey at one of the best nursing programs in Hawaii at Honolulu Community College. HCC prepares students for study at the university and a generalist nursing career. The Honolulu Community College pre-nursing to transfer to a four-year nursing program offers the opportunity to transfer to the University of Hawaii at Hilo or the University of Hawaii at Manoa BSN programs. Students complete their introductory core courses and the prerequisite courses for the BSN program before transferring to the four-year nursing program. Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, and Microbiology are some of the classes students take. In addition, Honolulu Community Students sit for the NCLEX exam at their transfer school.
Honolulu Community College offers a high-quality education at an affordable cost. The main campus is minutes from the heart of Downtown Honolulu. It holds accreditation from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Degrees: pre-nursing associate’s degree
10. Columbia College – USCG Base Honolulu
Columbia College provides one of the best nursing programs in Hawaii at the USCG Base in Honolulu. The Columbia College RN to BSN program provides current registered nurses with the opportunity to complete a BSN degree. In addition, the program offers the opportunity to continue working while completing degree requirements in the fully accredited online program. The flexible best nursing school Hawaii program features the flexibility of six sessions per year. Each session lasts for eight weeks. Students expand their knowledge and skills in evidence-based practices, technology integration, healthcare systems, and other skills that help to improve patient outcomes and influence communities.
Completion of the degree potentially provides nurses with the qualifications for advanced career opportunities. The school holds CCNE accreditation for its RN to BSN program. Students enjoy reduced military tuition rates. The school recently extended the tuition reduction to military spouses and dependents through the school’s Military Affiliated Benefit.
How Do I Choose a Nursing School in Hawaii?
Start searching for a nursing school that meets your educational and professional goals. Students that want a career in an entry-level nursing position often search for schools that offer students the opportunity to sit for the NCLEX-PN exam. Many students enroll in a nursing school in Hawaii that offers a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). However, students can earn a two-year associate’s degree and also sit for the RN exam.
Check the NCLEX pass rate for the school. A single-year pass rate may not necessarily reflect the school, so check the NCLEX pass rate for several years. Search for the Annual Pass Rate for Hawaii Nursing Schools/Programs for the NCLEX first-time pass rates over the past several years.
Consider whether you want to complete the nursing program in a traditional on-campus learning environment or whether you want to complete the program in an online format. Keep in mind that online programs may have requirements to come to campus or complete in-person clinical requirements.
Individuals who consider nursing schools often focus on features or components of the nursing program that meet their particular career path or offer opportunities to continue their education at the same school.
What Is The Job Market Like For Nurses in Hawaii?
Healthcare is among the fastest-growing occupations in Hawaii. As a result, graduates of nursing programs can expect to find work in various healthcare settings. In addition, there is a nurse shortage in Hawaii, which increases the opportunity for nursing program graduates to find work as a nurse in the state.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a nine percent job growth in the registered nurse profession. Nurses in Hawaii have the opportunity to enjoy a career as a nurse upon completing one of the best nursing school in Hawaii programs.
How Much Do Nurses Make in Hawaii?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the median 2020 pay for registered nurses as $36.22 per hour or $75,330 per year. Thus, nurses in Hawaii typically make more money than nurses in many other locations across the United States. However, the salary depends on many factors.
Some factors that determine salary include the location or type of facility where the nurse works. Furthermore, the duties that the nurse performs as part of the work environment can also influence salary. Other factors that can determine the salary for nurses include the specific nursing degree or any certifications that the nurse holds or obtains after starting a career as a nurse. Nurses that complete a registered nursing program in Hawaii average $53.08 per hour, or $104,830 per year.
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