Alternative Teaching Certification in Hawaii

If you are a non-traditional prospective teacher in Hawaii, there may be alternative routes to becoming licensed available to you. These routes are designed for adults who are in the midst of a career change, are ex-military members, or want to work as a teacher while going to school to learn the teaching profession. Programs include:
  • Respecialization in Special Education (RISE) Program (B) – to recruit special education teachers in Hawaii
  • Alternative Program for Shortage Area (E) – to recruit teachers into shortage areas in Hawaii (both geographic and subject matter shortages)
  • Troops to Teachers (designed for ex-military members who wish to teach)
  • Alternative Licensing Program in Special Education (ABC-SE) (G) – to recruit special education teachers in Hawaii

Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in Hawaii.


Education Requirements

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For admission to the RISE, Alternative Program for Shortage Area, and Troops to Teachers alternative teacher licensing programs in Hawaii, you must have at least a bachelor’s degree in any field. Admission to ABC-SE requires completion of a bachelor’s degree and a state-approved teacher education program in a field other than education.

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All alternative route applicants must pass the Praxis I Basic Skills exam prior to admission to a program. The appropriate Praxis II exams will be taken after you begin the program.



Most of these alternative licensure programs assume that you have work force experience but not necessarily teaching experience. You will gain teaching experience through the program. Usually you must obtain a teaching job before you can begin an alternative licensure program. You will work as a teacher for one to three years while attending classes and will become licensed at the end of the program.

The Alternative Program for Shortage Area (E) requires a minimum of two semesters of full-time teaching under the Hawaii Department of Education in the area in which you wish to become licensed prior to admission to the program.


Criminal History Background Check

A criminal history background check is not necessary for admission to Hawaii alternative teacher licensure programs. However, you will need to pass such a check before a Hawaii school system will hire you. Information on this process will be provided to you by the school district at the time of hire. This background check may involve fingerprinting. Instructions will be given to you on how to proceed.


Contact Information

Click here for a listing of public schools in Hawaii. For more information on alternative paths to teacher licensure in Hawaii, contact the National Center for Alternative Certification or the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board.