Hawaii ESL Endorsement Salary Bonus Incentives

The Hawaii State Department of Education is committed to employing teachers with the strongest credentials, and this includes those with ESL (English as a second language) endorsements added to their primary content area. Hawaii offers competitive salaries for teachers and offers a higher pay rate for teachers that have taken the courses necessary to add a secondary ESL endorsement.

ESL is also considered a primary content area in Hawaii, so teachers can devote their careers to working with Hawaii’s growing number of non-native English speakers.

*Capella University offers an online Master’s program in English Language Learning and Teaching designed to help educators advance their career in supporting diverse student populations. While it does not satisfy licensure requirements, the program can help you build the skills to use instructional strategies, emerging trends, and best practices to effectively teach English Language Learners and help students adapt to new cultural environments.

*The USC Rossier School of Education offers its Master of Arts in Teaching - Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (MAT-TESOL) program online, allowing current and aspiring educators to earn a master’s degree from a top-ranked university and specialize in teaching English to non-native speakers - from anywhere in the world.

Hawaii has one of the most evenly distributed populations of non-native English speakers, with nearly 18% speaking Tagalog, 13% speaking Japanese and another 13% speaking Chinese as their first languages. This is in contrast to most other states in which a single cultural and linguistic background tends to dominate. This speaks to the true diversity found within Hawaii’s public school system.

The average annual salary among teachers in Hawaii, including those with primary and ancillary endorsements in ESL, was $55,930 in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top ten percent of earners, representing the most experienced tenured teachers, earned an average of $74,140.

ESL teacher salaries in Hawaii tend differ only slightly between metro and non-metro areas:


  • Average: $56,500
  • Entry: $41,080
  • Experienced: $74,790
  • Median: $55,850

Non-Metropolitan Areas

  • Average: $ 54,460
  • Entry: $40,330
  • Experienced: $72,220
  • Median: $53,950

Getting an ancillary ESL endorsement in Hawaii can diversify the teaching portfolio while making those who hold it eligible for a higher pay rate.

Below is a table that shows salaries for adult ESL educators, classified as Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Area name
Annual Median Salary
Honolulu HI
Hawaii / Maui / Kauai nonmetropolitan area