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With its beautiful beaches, tropical climate, and laidback lifestyle, moving to Hawaii often seems like a dream come true for many nurses. But before you pack your bags, you may be wondering – how much can nurses really expect to earn in America’s island paradise?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The average registered nurse in Hawaii earns around $104,000 per year, significantly higher than the national RN average of $82,000 per year.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore registered nurse salaries in Hawaii in detail, including the average pay, factors that impact earnings, job outlook and steps you can take to land a well-paying nursing job in Hawaii.

Average Registered Nurse Salary in Hawaii

Nursing is a rewarding yet demanding career path that offers competitive salaries in Hawaii. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a registered nurse in Hawaii is $98,080, which is higher than the national average of $77,600.

Let’s explore regional variations and how experience levels impact nursing pay across the Aloha State.

Statewide Average

Across Hawaii, the average registered nurse earns $47.12 per hour and $98,080 per year according to 2021 data from the BLS. This statewide average accounts for nurses working in various settings such as hospitals, physicians’ offices, nursing care facilities, and government agencies.

Depending on specialization and work environment, salaries can range from $67,000 for the lowest 10% to $134,000 for the highest 10% of top earners.

Salaries by Region

Registered nursing salaries within Hawaii can vary significantly by region. Data from shows Honolulu County as the top paying area with an average of $104,287 per year. Comparatively, Hawaii County offers $92,042 while salaries in Maui and Kauai Counties fall in the mid-$80,000s on average.

Factors impacting regional variations include cost of living, healthcare employer competition, and demand for specialized roles.

Salaries by Experience Level

A nurse’s years of experience is a key driver of salary growth in Hawaii. Entry-level nurses can expect around $85,000 per year early in their careers according to Mid-career nurses with 5-10 years of experience typically earn closer to $98,000 annually.

Finally, experienced nurses at the later stages of their careers can make over $120,000 per year on average.

Factors That Impact Nurse Earnings in Hawaii


The location where a nurse works in Hawaii can significantly impact their earnings. Nurses working in more rural areas generally have lower salaries compared to those in larger cities like Honolulu. Honolulu typically offers the highest nursing wages in Hawaii due to having the largest population and more healthcare facilities.

For example, the average registered nurse salary in Honolulu is $98,960 per year, while it’s $86,750 in rural Hawaii County.

Experience and Education

Nurses with more years of experience and higher nursing degrees tend to have higher earning potential compared to entry-level nurses. As nurses gain expertise over years of practice, their skills become more valuable which results in increased wages.

Additionally, nurses with advanced nursing degrees like Nurse Practitioners can diagnose patients and prescribe medications, allowing them to take on greater responsibilities and earn significantly higher salaries.


Nurses who specialize in certain fields can increase their earning potential more than general nurses. Some of the top-paying nursing specialties in Hawaii include Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (average salary of $183,570), Nurse Midwives ($108,640), and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners ($122,740).

These specialties require extra education and certification but allow nurses to fill high-demand roles and be compensated accordingly.

Work Setting

The type of facility a nurse works in also impacts their earnings in Hawaii. Nurses working in state government and private hospitals tend to have much higher wages than those in nursing homes, physician offices, and home health settings.

For example, registered nurses in state hospitals earn approximately $105,950 per year on average, while home health nurses average $83,400 annually statewide according to salary data from

Job Outlook for Nurses in Hawaii

Projected Job Growth

The job outlook for nurses in Hawaii is very positive. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for registered nurses in Hawaii is projected to grow 16.5% from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average growth rate for all occupations.

This translates to about 1,800 new registered nurse job openings per year over the next decade. The robust growth is fueled by an aging population that requires more healthcare services, as well as nurse retirements that need to be filled.

Geographic Demand

There is high demand for nurses across all the major Hawaiian islands. However, certain locations tend to have more openings, like urban Honolulu which hosts large hospitals and many elderly residents.

Rural neighborhoods on the outer islands also need nurses as their populations age while younger residents move away. For example, a 2022 report found over 15% of registered nurse positions were vacant on the islands of Kauai, Maui and Hawaii (the Big Island).

So nurses willing to relocate have excellent prospects.

Retirement Rate and Replacement Needs

Hawaii has an older nursing workforce approaching retirement. Over 33% of actively licensed RNs are over the age of 55, according to a 2021 survey. As these experienced nurses retire over the next 5-10 years, it will create a major shortage of nurses that will need to be addressed.

In addition, over 20% of current nurses on the islands plan to leave Hawaii within five years. Replacing these departing nurses will be a significant challenge for local healthcare providers.

Steps to Land a Nursing Job in Hawaii

Earn a BSN Degree

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is the essential first step to becoming a registered nurse in Hawaii. Most hospitals and healthcare facilities prefer hiring nurses who hold at least a BSN.

You can complete a BSN program in 4 years at one of Hawaii’s universities like the University of Hawaii. As part of the curriculum, BSN programs contain courses in areas like nursing theory, public health, research, and liberal arts.

They also include hundreds of hours in clinical practice at local medical facilities.

Obtain RN Licensure in Hawaii

After graduating from an accredited BSN program, the next requirement is to obtain your Hawaii registered nurse license. You’ll need to apply to the Hawaii Board of Nursing and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN).

This computerized adaptive test assesses your competency in key aspects of nursing practice. According to a 2021 report, 86.57% of U.S. educated nurses passed the NCLEX-RN on their first try.

Build Your Resume

With license in hand, the next vital step is developing your nursing resume. Effective resumes summarize previous clinical rotations, highlight relevant nursing skills and specialties, and use targeted keywords picked up from job postings.

Consider adding optional sections like honors, certifications, languages, or professional memberships. Getting your resume critiqued by career counseling services can help polish it. When applying for nursing roles in Hawaii, emphasize experiences with diverse populations and cultural competencies.

Apply and Interview for Jobs

Now it’s time to start actively applying for Hawaii nursing positions. Useful job boards include hospital websites, associations like the Hawaii Nurses Association, and aggregators like Indeed or LinkedIn.

Prepare for interviews by practicing responses to common questions about your experiences, nursing philosophies, strengths, weaknesses, and reasons for your interest. Research the facility’s values and be ready to describe how your background aligns.

With determination and the right credentials, you can land a dynamic nursing career helping patients across Hawaii’s islands.


With its unmatched natural beauty and relaxed way of life, moving to Hawaii is an alluring prospect for many nurses seeking improved work-life balance alongside enhanced earnings potential. As we have seen, RNs in Hawaii earn wages substantially higher than the national average – over $100,000 per year on average.

While the high cost of living on the islands can offset some of these elevated salaries, ample job opportunities coupled with strong projected growth make nursing a lucrative long-term career choice in Hawaii.

By taking key steps like earning your BSN degree, obtaining proper licensure, developing your resume, and aggressively applying to open positions, you can land a well-paying nursing job that allows you to practice in paradise.

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