November 13, 2023

Hawaii Nursing License Guide for RNs

A nurse wearing blue scrubs holds license renewal paperwork.

Did you know that Hawaii is one of the highest-paying states in the U.S. for registered nurses? That, plus the allure of relaxing Hawaiian beaches and rich culture, has made Hawaii an attractive locale for nurses. 

If you're a registered nurse (RN) who has successfully passed the NCLEX-RN and is now looking to secure a nursing license in the captivating state of Hawaii, this guide is tailored to your needs. Here, we will walk you through the specific steps to apply for a Hawaii nursing license and provide insights into the timing, endorsement, renewal, and the compact nursing license status in the Aloha State.

Table of contents:

Quick reference and resources for Hawaii nurse licensure

How to apply for a nursing license in Hawaii

As a registered nurse who has already conquered the NCLEX-RN, you are on the right path. To officially practice as an RN in Hawaii, follow these steps:

  • Verify Your Eligibility: Before applying, ensure you meet Hawaii's specific requirements for RN licensure. You'll need to have completed an accredited nursing program and successfully passed the NCLEX-RN. Note that if you fail the NCLEX PN or NCLEX RN three times, you must complete a board-approved remedial course before being eligible for re-examination.
  • Gather Your Documentation: Collect the necessary documents, which usually include transcripts from your nursing program and proof of your NCLEX-RN passing score.
  • Fill Out the Application: Complete the Hawaii nursing license application. Be prepared to pay the associated fees and ensure your application is filled out accurately. Incomplete applications, applications that don't answer all questions, or those lacking required statements, court documents, or Board orders for prior convictions or disciplinary actions may result in processing delays.
  • Background Check and Fingerprinting: All applicants for a Hawaii nurse license are required to undergo a criminal history record check via electronic fingerprinting. The fingerprinting process must be completed within thirty (30) days of your license application to ensure timely results.
  • Submit Your Application: Send your application to the Hawaii Board of Nursing for review. Note that the board reviews licenses for LPNs, RNs, and APRNs. You will need to submit the application for your specific profession. 
  • Wait for Approval: The Board will evaluate your application and, if everything is in order, you'll be issued your Hawaii RN license.

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

The processing time for obtaining your Hawaii nursing license can vary, depending on the volume of applications and the completeness of your submission. Typically, you can expect the process to take several weeks to a few months.

To expedite your application, make sure you provide a comprehensive and accurate application. Staying informed by monitoring the Hawaii Board of Nursing's website or contacting them directly can help you track the progress of your application.

How Hawaii nursing license by endorsement works

If you are an RN licensed in another state and wish to practice in Hawaii, you can apply for a Hawaii nursing license by endorsement. Here's how it works:

  • Check Eligibility: Verify that you meet Hawaii's requirements for endorsement, which usually include having an active license in good standing in your current state, completing the required education and examination criteria, and sometimes fulfilling additional requirements such as work experience.
  • Complete the Endorsement Application: Fill out and submit the endorsement application to the Hawaii Board of Nursing. This typically involves providing verification of your current license, educational background, and examination results.
  • Background Check and Fingerprinting: You may be required to undergo a background check and provide fingerprints.
  • Wait for Approval: The Board will review your application, and if you meet the requirements, you'll be granted a Hawaii nursing license by endorsement.

How to renew your nursing license in Hawaii

Once you have your Hawaii RN license, it's crucial to renew it periodically to continue to practice legally. Here's how the license renewal process typically works:

  • Complete Continuing Education: Ensure you have met the continuing education requirements, which in Hawaii typically entails completing 30 hours of continuing education every two years.
  • Renew Online: The Board typically offers an online renewal system. Log in, follow the instructions, and pay the renewal fee.
  • Verify Your Information: Make sure all your personal and contact information is up-to-date.
  • Submit Your Renewal Application: Submit your renewal application before the expiration date.
  • Wait for Confirmation: The Board will process your renewal, and upon approval, you'll receive a new license.

Is Hawaii a compact nursing license state?

As of 2023, Hawaii is not part of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC). The NLC allows nurses to hold one multistate license and practice in multiple compact states without the need for additional licenses. However, licensing regulations can change over time, so it's essential to verify Hawaii's current participation in the NLC with the Hawaii Board of Nursing or other reliable sources. Learn more about compact nursing licenses in our blog. 

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can streamline the application process and get one step closer to enjoying a fulfilling nursing career in the enchanting landscapes of the Aloha State. Stay updated on any licensing changes to ensure a smooth and successful transition to practicing as a registered nurse in Hawaii.

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