How to Become an Early Childhood Teacher in Hawaii

An ECE Hawaii Degree & Career Guide

Requirements for ECE Teacher Certification in Hawaii

If you are interested in working with children between the ages of three and five, you may want to consider a career as an Early Childhood Educator. Preschool teachers educate and care for children that have yet to begin kindergarten. It's the job of a preschool teacher to provide basic care while teaching a range of essential skills. Hawaii employs over 1900 teachers as of 2017 in the fields of preschool, kindergarten and special education. All public school teachers must be licensed by the Hawaii Teachers Standards Board in order to teach preschool or kindergarten in Hawaii.

Hawaii Steps to Follow for Teachers

A preschool teacher can work with large groups of children or could work with a child one-on-one, depending on the program they work in and the needs of the children that they're working with. Preschool teachers must organize activities for children, plan and carry out an appropriate curriculum, and develop schedules and routines that meet the needs of a young child.

If you believe that a career like this would be a good fit for you, you'll want to take the necessary steps to become a teacher. Follow this guide and you'll be able to obtain your degree and start looking for teaching positions in your area.

Step 1. Earn Your Degree

Before you can apply for a teaching license, you'll have to complete one of Hawaii's approved degree or teacher preparation programs. At the time of writing, there are 13 universities and colleges in Hawaii that offer these programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate level. Schools with eligible programs include Hawaii Pacific University, The University of Hawaii at Manoa, Chaminade University of Honolulu, and Brigham Young University-Hawaii. Honolulu Community College also offers an associate's degree in Early Childhood Education and Teaching.

To become a preschool teacher in Hawaii, you'll have to complete one of two pertinent programs: Early Childhood Education PK‐K or Early Childhood Education PK‐3. You will have to confirm that the program you are participating in meets the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards. Before beginning a program, it would be wise to meet with a college advisor so that they can provide you with more detailed information about the program at your selection schools.

Step 2. Complete any Required Exams

In Hawaii, you are not required to complete a content examination as long as you are able to show that you have completed an eligible educator preparation program. With that said, you may want to consider sitting for a Praxis exam. You need to demonstrate that you meet basic skills and content knowledge in order to obtain a teaching license, and Praxis tests are one option for fulfilling that requirement.

Additionally, some schools may require that you complete the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators test before beginning an educator preparation program. This test will demonstrate your competency in the subjects of reading, writing, and mathematics. If you're hoping to specialize in a specific type of teaching, such as Special Education, you may also have to sit for a Praxis exam that demonstrates competency in the selected content area.

Even if your school doesn't require that you take the Praxis exam or an equivalent exam, you should think about registering for one of these tests. Not only will the test help you meet educational requirements; it can also be a valuable bullet point on a resume. Passing the core exam will show that you have the necessary knowledge to teach students and completing other exams can show that you're qualified in other areas.

Step 3. Standards and Qualifications

If you want to work as a preschool teacher in the public-school system, you'll have to be licensed by the Hawaii Teachers Standards Board. Teachers that have less than three years of teaching experience will have to apply for a Provisional License, which is a NASDTEC Stage 2 License. The license lasts for three years and is not renewable. In order to obtain this license, you will have to complete a state-approved program, meet basic knowledge requirements, pass the professional fitness check, and pay the required fee.

Once you have three years of experience, you will be able to apply for a Standard License, which is a NASDTEC Stage 3 License. This license lasts for five years and is renewable. There are multiple ways to qualify for this license. You can obtain the license if you have a teaching license from another state, or if you pass a board-approved performance assessment. Any preschool teacher that meets the experience requirements should see if this license is an option for them.

In order to work outside of the public-school system, you'll need to meet the requirements that are designated by the Department of Human Services, or DHS. These requirements will vary from position to position; it is likely that you will have to meet specific educational requirements. Many positions have experience requirements as well. While you may qualify for a limited number of positions when you initially graduate, you'll have more options as you continue on in your career.

It's a wise idea to join professional organizations that are focused around Early Childhood Education. The Hawaii Association for the Education of Young Children has over 100,000 members and provides professional development for teachers working in this field. The Hawaii State Teachers Association, which is affiliated with the National Education Association, is another strong option.

Popular Career Choices

  • Preschool Teacher
  • Kindergarten Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Special Education Teacher

Accredited Hawaii Programs

Once you've landed your first job, you'll be able to start working as a teacher. New preschool teachers will want to make sure they're well-organized and fully prepared for the requirements of their job. It's common for teachers in Hawaii to have to provide their own supplies. You'll want to be sure that you have the supplies you need for a variety of activities, as well as essential sanitation supplies.

Whether you're teaching a small group or a larger one, you should get to know every child that you're teaching on an individual level. Every child is unique, and the teaching methods that are best for one child may not work for another child in your classroom. Show children that you respect them and their ideas. Ask lots of questions and encourage your students to ask questions as well.

The path to becoming an ECE preschool teacher in Hawaii is a long one. There are a number of steps you'll need to complete and decisions you'll have to make before you can start working as a teacher. With that said, this is an in-demand career field that can be highly rewarding. Take the time to learn more about this field and decide if it is something that you would like to pursue.

Accredited Early Childhood Educator Teacher Preparation Programs

These are some of the eligible schools and programs in the state of Hawaii:

  • The University of Hawaii at Manoa

    This flagship campus of the University of Hawaii system is located near downtown Honolulu. Focused mainly on the four colleges of Arts and science, it also includes an agricultural school, school of law, and school of medicine.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Bachelor's and Master’s Degrees in Early Childhood Education and Teaching
    • Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction
    • Master’s and Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration
    • Bachelor’s in Elementary Education and Teaching
    • Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Post-grad Certificate in Special Education and Teaching

    Accreditation By: WASC Senior College and University Commission

  • Kaua’i Community College

    Located on the island of Kaua’i, this school is part of the University of Hawaii system. Their focus is on Associate degrees and certifications.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate Degree and Certificate in Early Childhood Education

    Accreditation By: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

  • University of Hawaii Maui College

    Located on the island of Maui, this school is also a part of the university system. Originally founded as a vocational school, it now provides associate and bachelor’s degrees to students.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate Degree and Undergraduate Certificate in Early Childhood Education

    Accreditation By: WASC Senior College and University Commission, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

  • Chaminade University of Honolulu

    A private university, founded in 1955 by a Catholic organization, this school is located in Honolulu and provides bachelor’s and master’s degrees to its students.

    Degrees Offered:

    • Associate, Bachelor's, and Master’s Degrees in Early Childhood Education and Teaching
    • Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction
    • Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration
    • Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Elementary Education and Teaching
    • Master’s in Montessori Teacher Education
    • Bachelor’s and Master’s in Special Education and Teaching

    Accreditation By: WASC Senior College and University Commission, Programmatic accreditation for education degrees from the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC)

  • Honolulu Community College

    This school is another junior member of the Hawaii University system which provides associate degrees and certifications.

    Degrees Offered:

    • 1-2 year certification and Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education

    Accreditation By: Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

Career Options and Salary Info for Teachers

After you're licensed and qualified to work as an ECE preschool teacher in Hawaii, you'll be ready to start applying for positions. There are a number of career paths available to preschool teachers in this state. You could wind up working in a public or private school or opt for a position in a childcare facility. Head Start programs need preschool teachers, as do military and faith-based organizations. Your earning potential and career outlook will vary based on the type of position that you accept.

The average salary for a preschool teacher that does not work in special education is $30,100. In Honolulu, the average salary is $25,900. As is the case in many fields, average pay tends to increase as experience levels increase. Someone that has been teaching for years will be able to command a much higher salary than someone that has accepted an entry-level job.

Potential salaries also increase for teachers that choose to enter the field of special education. The average salary for a special education preschool teacher is $45,900, and the average salary in Honolulu is $42,600. The demand for special education teachers is very high, particularly at the preschool level, and salaries reflect that.

The employment outlook for preschool teachers is very strong right now. The number of positions is expected to increase by at least 10% over the next decade, which is significantly higher than the average growth rate for other occupations. A growing number of children are attending preschool programs before they begin elementary school, and teachers have to be hired to meet those needs. Most graduates from ECE programs in Hawaii will be able to find a position shortly after graduating.

However, someone that has obtained an Early Childhood Education degree doesn't have to limit themselves to working in a preschool. There are a number of other positions a degree like this could qualify you for. For example, you could wind up working in a childcare center, or you could work as a behavior specialist. There are plenty of opportunities for advancement throughout various fields, and it is possible to use your degree and experience to transition to another career. Below, you'll find information about salaries in a variety of Early Childhood Education fields.

OccupationEntry-LevelMid-CareerLate-Career
Preschool Teacher$22,000$27,000$39,000
Elementary School Teacher$39,400$44,300$57,200
Professor of Education$60,100$70,300$99,000
School Principal$73,400$78,900$86,400
Special Education Teacher$40,900$47,900$57,900
ESL Teacher$39,300$40,500$50,900

Find A Career

Once you are qualified to work as a preschool teacher in Hawaii, you'll be able to start looking for your first position. Many education programs provide job placement assistance, which means it will be easier for you to find a position that fits your needs. There are also many job openings. Because of this, Hawaii residents often find their first position shortly after graduation.

Of course, there are many things you can do that will improve your chances of finding an appealing entry-level job. One of the most important things you'll want to do is strengthen your resume. Even though you're applying for an entry-level position, you'll want to show that you have the necessary education and background to work as a preschool teacher.

Videos To Help You Find The Right Career Choices

  • Meaningful Inclusion in Early Childhood

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2wJqDw9B68

  • What Makes Great Teachers Great?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXaLGt460e4

  • Why Become a Teacher?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqe8C7dwViE

  • Elementary School Teacher Career Information : Elementary School Teacher Pros & Cons

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2izH5QBpyIc

  • How to Become Accredited to Teach Kindergarten : Kindergarten Lessons

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnsRmqnUFCc

  • Why Special Education?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3YwKIqlCsw

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