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Want to practice as a nurse in the paradise that is Hawaii? Getting licensed in the Aloha State is easier than ones thinks. If you already hold an active RN license in another U.S. state or territory, Hawaii makes it simple through the nursing license endorsement process.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer to getting your Hawaii nursing license: Meet the requirements like holding an active RN license in another state, graduate from an approved nursing program, pass the NCLEX exam, and apply to the Hawaii Board of Nursing for a license by endorsement.

Pay the fees and submit fingerprints for a background check if you haven’t already.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the steps and requirements to get your Hawaii nursing license through endorsement. We’ll cover everything from applying and submitting documents to paying licensing fees and understanding Hawaii’s licensing laws for nurses.

Hawaii’s Nursing License Requirements

Becoming a registered nurse in Hawaii opens the door to rewarding career opportunities. However, before you can begin practicing as an RN, you must obtain a Hawaii nursing license by meeting several key requirements.

Hold an Active RN License in Another U.S. State or Territory

To qualify for a Hawaii nursing license, you must hold a current, valid RN license in good standing issued by another state or U.S. territory. This prerequisite demonstrates that you have completed nursing education and testing requirements elsewhere.

Graduate From an Approved Nursing Program

In addition to an out-of-state RN license, you must have graduated from a board-approved registered nursing program. Most candidates complete either an associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) or a bachelor’s of science in nursing (BSN) to meet this qualification.

Programs are available at Hawaii colleges and universities.

Pass the NCLEX Exam

Before obtaining initial licensure in another state, candidates must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). So by holding an active out-of-state RN license, Hawaii license applicants demonstrate they have already successfully passed this essential test.

Pass a Criminal Background Check

Those applying for Hawaii licensure must complete both state and federal criminal history record checks. Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify candidates, but it may prompt further board review.

Meet Hawaii’s Licensing Standards

In addition to the major requirements above, candidates must comply with Hawaii’s licensing standards and application procedures. This includes paying required fees, providing identity/citizenship documentation, and potentially completing additional forms.

By meeting these key requirements, qualified RNs can obtain Hawaii nursing licensure through endorsement of an out-of-state license. Starting this process well in advance is essential for securing all needed documentation.

How to Apply for a Hawaii Nursing License

Submit Your Completed Application

The first step is to fill out the application for licensure by examination. You’ll need to create an online account on the Hawaii Board of Nursing’s website and submit the completed form along with the application fee.

Make sure all sections are filled out accurately and completely to avoid any delays.

Send in Official Transcripts

The Board requires official transcripts sent directly from your nursing school showing successful completion of an approved registered nurse program. Transcripts must have the registrar’s seal and signature.

Usually the school sends transcripts on your behalf, but double check to ensure they make it to the Hawaii State Board of Nursing office.

Provide Licensure Verification

If you hold or have ever held a nursing license in another state, you’ll need to request verification of that license be sent directly to Hawaii’s Board. Make this request through the state that issued your license.

Verification shows your license is active and in good standing, which Hawaii requires to issue your local license.

Complete Fingerprinting

As part of a criminal background check, Hawaii requires fingerprinting through an authorized agency. Schedule an appointment to get electronically fingerprinted according to the Board’s protocol. Results will be sent to the Board automatically. The $74.50 fee paid to the agency covers this service.

Pay Licensing Fees

Finally, you must pay the Hawaii RN license fee to complete the application process. This includes an application fee plus first license fee, totaling $480. Fees are non-refundable so be sure your application is ready before paying. Acceptable payment methods are listed on the Board’s website.

Once all requirements are met, the Board will review your application and make a licensing decision typically within two weeks. Congrats future Hawaii nurse! With aloha spirit helping others 😊👍🎉, you’re almost ready to impact lives in this island paradise.

Understanding Hawaii’s Nursing License Laws

License Renewal Requirements in Hawaii

Nurses in Hawaii must renew their licenses every two years before the expiration date. To renew, nurses must complete one of the following continuing education requirements:

  • 30 contact hours of continuing education
  • Completion of a post-licensure certification program
  • Completion of a master’s degree or higher in nursing

Nurses must submit a renewal application and pay a fee of $60. Licenses expire on January 31st of odd-numbered years. Failing to renew before the deadline may result in additional late fees or having to reapply as a new applicant.

Continuing Education Requirements

As mentioned above, one renewal requirement option is to complete 30 contact hours of approved continuing education. This must be completed in the two-year period preceding the license renewal date. Some examples of qualifying continuing education include:

  • Completing academic courses related to nursing practice
  • Attending conferences, seminars, or workshops related to nursing
  • Completing employer-provided in-service training programs

Many continuing education opportunities are available locally through hospitals, professional associations, colleges, and other providers. There are also abundant online options. Keep documentation of all activities in case of an audit.

Hawaii’s Nurse Practice Act and Associated Laws

The Hawaii Nurse Practice Act is legislation that governs the licensing and practice of nursing in the state. It defines the scope of practice for different levels of nurses and establishes the Hawaii Board of Nursing to implement nursing regulations.

In addition to the Nurse Practice Act, nurses licensed in Hawaii must comply with other state legislation related to healthcare practice, such as:

  • Mandatory reporting laws regarding abuse and neglect
  • Laws regulating controlled substances and prescription medications
  • Health insurance portability and accountability regulations
  • Emergency medical treatment and labor laws

Licensed nurses have a duty to understand all laws and regulations applicable to nursing practice in Hawaii. This is essential for ensuring patient safety and avoiding disciplinary actions. The Hawaii Board of Nursing website publishes updates when any law or rule changes occur.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Licensed As a Nurse in Hawaii

Applying for a nursing license in Hawaii opens up abundant job opportunities in America’s island paradise. However, the licensing process can seem complicated for aspiring nurses. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions to guide you through getting licensed in Hawaii:

What are the basic requirements to apply for a Hawaii nursing license?

The key requirements are:

  • A nursing degree from an approved nursing program
  • Passing scores on the NCLEX-RN exam
  • Background check clearance
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status

How long does it take to get a Hawaii nursing license?

The licensing process takes 6-8 weeks on average. However, you can expedite it to 3-4 weeks by paying additional fees. The timeline includes application processing, background checks, and license printing/mailing.

Can I work as a nurse in Hawaii while my license is still pending?

Unfortunately, you cannot legally work as a nurse until the Hawaii Board of Nursing officially issues your license. However, most hospitals allow you to complete other pre-employment tasks while awaiting licensing.

Does Hawaii participate in nurse license compacts?

No, Hawaii currently does not participate in any nurse license compacts. So you will need to apply for licensure specifically in Hawaii to work there.

Can I apply for licensure in Hawaii if I’m licensed in another state?

Yes, Hawaii allows nurse license endorsements from other U.S. states and territories. Typically, you’ll still need to submit an application, fingerprints, and verify your credentials to get a Hawaii license.

We hope these FAQs have shed light on navigating Hawaii’s nursing licensure process. The island state presents amazing opportunities for nurses seeking adventurous careers in tropical locales. With the proper licenses in hand, you’ll be ready to launch your nursing dreams in paradise!


Getting licensed as a registered nurse in Hawaii is straightforward process if you already hold an active RN license in another state. Just meet Hawaii’s license requirements, submit your completed endorsement application with all necessary documents, pay the fees, and get fingerprinted for a background check.

Within a few weeks, you could receive an approved Hawaii nursing license and be ready to launch your nursing career in America’s island paradise!

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