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Hawaii Alternative Teacher Certification

We discuss the salary of Hawaiian educators, as well as the alternative routes to becoming a certified teacher in this state, including the required education programs and tests.

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The Hawaii Teacher Standards Board allows candidates to complete an accredited alternative teaching program in order to gain certification. Aspiring teachers with a bachelor's degree in a field other than education can transition to a teaching career by completing a post-baccalaureate certificate program in education or a master's degree in education. Learn more about these alternative pathways below.

Requirements for Alternative Teacher Certification in Hawaii

Average Salary for Hawaii Teachers (2017)* $39,180 (Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education); $45,910 (Kindergarten Teachers, Except Special Education); $59,790 (Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education); $59,480 (Middle School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education); $59,250 (Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education)
Required Degree Post-baccalaureate certificate or master's
Degree Field Any teachable field and education
Testing Requirements Praxis Basic Skills Test: Core Academic Skills for Educators or other basic skills assessment; Praxis II Subject Exam or other content knowledge assessment

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Earn a Bachelor's Degree and Choose a Field

Whether you wish to track the development of very young students as they move through kindergarten and into elementary school, or you prefer working with older students who are completing their education with secondary school, the state of Hawaii requires teachers to complete a bachelor's program. These transcripts may be required when you apply to an alternative teaching program or later as part of the teacher licensing application process.

After completing this program, there are a number teaching fields in Hawaii for you to choose from to complete your teacher preparation. Technical education, early childhood, counseling, health and physical education, mathematics, science, and social studies are just a few options. Of course, language arts, fine arts, world languages, and even Hawaiian are also viable fields you can focus on.

Complete an Alternative Teacher Education Program

Once you have chosen the field in which you'd like to teach, the next step is to find an alternative program in the same subject. Post-baccalaureate certificates are available in secondary education or special education. Secondary education topics include art, dance, drama, English language arts, math, science, language and more, most geared towards grades six through 12. Master's degrees are also available and include art, elementary education, math, science, social studies, the Hawaiian language and other topics.

Candidates accepted into an accredited alternative program may be exposed to courses in creating a learning environment, the development of learners, building instruction and lesson plans, building general and content area literacy, and student diversity.

These programs often give candidates a chance to teach in real classrooms as autonomous teachers, even as they complete their teacher education. As a way to track the reflective practices of these teachers and continue their development towards certification, these student-teaching experiences are typically supervised.

Before or during this part of your preparation, you will need to demonstrate that you have certain basic skills necessary to teach. The specific program in which you are enrolled will determine the type of basic skills assessment is necessary. Some require the Praxis Basic Skills Tests: Core Academic Skills for Educators (CORE). In this case, you must receive a passing score on each of the reading, writing, and mathematics subtests. Passing scores in Hawaii are as follows:

  • Reading: 156
  • Writing: 162
  • Mathematics: 150

Other schools might require qualifying scores on the SAT or ACT reading, writing, and math portions. Still others might be satisfied with your bachelor's degree from an accredited university.

Demonstrate Content Knowledge

Hawaii also requires aspiring teachers to be able to show that they have appropriate content knowledge, and offers a number of ways for the aspiring teacher to demonstrate this knowledge. As with the basic skills requirement, it is up to your school to verify what you know. You might need to have completed a minimum number of semester hours in your content field, to have earned a master's or to pass a content test. See what your specific program requires in terms of demonstrating content knowledge.

Hawaii uses the Praxis II Subject Exams for its content tests. In fact, some alternative programs may require you to pass this particular exam before you can even gain entrance. Passing scores for these tests range from 139 to 164, depending on the specific assessment. The exact exam, however, will obviously depend on what grade level you are focused on, as well as what field you want to teach.

Demonstrate Proficiency

The state of Hawaii requires your education program to verify that you are a proficient teacher before recommending you for a license. For those who have followed a traditional pathway, that typically means completion of an accredited bachelor's program. Those who choose an alternative pathway will need either a combination of teaching experience and observation by the education program, or a passing score on a performance assessment.

If you have worked as a contracted, long-term substitute or as an emergency hire teacher, this can be used to show your extensive experience in a classroom. Of course, a private school setting that does not require you to have a license prior to taking a position there can also provide an opportunity for you to hone your skills. This, in combination with school observation, can satisfy the proficiency requirement.

Alternatively, some programs require the completion of performance assessments. These trace your understanding of learner development, a learning environment, planning instruction, assessment, content, and professionalism. To do so, you will be observed in a classroom as you instruct and manage students.

Apply for a License

A fee will be assessed when you apply.

If you take the first route and prove your experience via actual classroom instruction as a teacher, you will apply for a standard license, which means you will complete a Standard License application form and submit proof of your minimum of three years of experience.

Otherwise, you will complete a Provisional License application. You will have to show you have completed the educator preparation program, as well as submit your basic skills and content knowledge exam scores.

Valuable Links for Future Hawaii Alternative Teachers

Because some alternative programs will require you to pass the Core exam or a Praxis II content exam, the following links can help you study by providing you with a variety of preparation materials, no matter what field you are interested in teaching.

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