Have you always dreamed of living in the paradise of Hawaii? Well, the prospect of overcoming the state’s high cost of living in order to do so just got a bit better. But there is one condition: You need to be a teacher specializing in “special education, secondary mathematics and secondary science.” Let’s take a closer look at how the teacher shortage in Hawaii is spurring a massive teacher hunt with an attractive incentive scheme attached to it, along with what teachers in Hawaii can expect to earn in the Aloha state.


Hawaii’s Teacher Shortage
While Hawaii sounds like paradise to most of us, its reputation is largely based on one critical factor: having a decent enough quality of life to actually enjoy living there. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done due to the state’s famously high cost of living. Consider Honolulu. Not only is the state’s capital and most populous city the fourth most expensive place to live in North America, but it’s also the 16th most expensive place to live in the world, according to Expatistan’s cost of living index.

Unfortunately, the chasm between the state’s high cost of living and low teaching salaries has led to a vicious cycle in which teachers from the mainland end up returning home from Hawaii because they can’t afford to continue living there. In fact, with cost of living factored in, Hawaii’s teachers make the lowest salaries in the entire U.S. The result? One of the country’s highest turnover rates and ongoing challenges in the form of rampant teacher vacancies.


Stopping the Cycle
Earlier this spring, Hawaii announced ambitious plans to reverse the trend. In order to support exorbitant relocation and living expenses, the state will pay 1,600 teachers in certain in-demand areas a bonus of $6,000 in addition to their average teaching salaries of $56,000. Teachers with advanced degrees and experience are positioned for even greater financial gains earning salaries as high as the low-$80,000s.

The takeaway for tropical-minded job-hunters with education degrees? Regardless of where you currently reside, securing a teaching job in Hawaii may be more within your reach than ever.