Top 5 (Non-Tourism) Careers in Hawaii

Pretty much every American at some point wonders: What if I moved to Hawaii?

What many of us don’t know is how incredibly expensive paradise is. Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the US, even more than New York or Washington, DC. Does $122,000 a year sound luxurious? In Hawaii, that’s just comfortable. So if you live in Hawaii or you’re serious about moving there, what careers can help you pay those bills?

Here’s five that caught our attention. While tourism-related careers are big, we don’t recommend them here because they tend to pay less than you need to afford the high cost of living.

1. Hawaii needs nurses, just like everyone else.

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 10.43.10 PMNurses in Hawaii have grown by 10% since 2011, adding over 1,000 new jobs. Since nurses are in demand everywhere, this definitely comes as no surprise. Over 11,000 nurses work on the islands right now, and they earn $60K-$110K per year. Not too shabby! However, nursing isn’t an easy job and it does require a good amount of school.

2. Now hiring organizers! If you like putting things in order and making things flow efficiently…Hawaii needs you!

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 2.31.18 PM In this case we are looking at operation managers. Ops managers do all kinds of things:

  • Prepare work schedules and assign duties
  • Set prices and services based on forecasts of customer demand
  • Monitor suppliers to ensure they provide the needed goods and services

This job makes sense in Hawaii. Just think of all those tourist-based businesses that need strong organizers who can keep things going and money flowing through the door. Nearly 11,000 people currently work as operation managers and they make $42K-$163K.

3. A great foot in the door: skills with computers, code, and IT.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 2.40.41 PMOur third choice is web developers. There aren’t a ton of web-developers in Hawaii (only 900), but the job has grown over 20% since 2011, making it one of the fastest-growing jobs in the state. And the demand will keep going up. Every business needs a good website or web-based tools to cater to all the business needs! While web developers earn less than nurses or ops managers ($31K-$60K per year), they also require less education.

4. Like working with your hands? Lots of important stuff needs fixing!

The fourth area of work we recommend is all about mechanics—the folks who fix important things like airplanes, cars, and HVAC systems.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 2.44.29 PM

  • Aircraft mechanics – There are 1,500 aircraft mechanics in Hawaii. They make $44K-$88K per year and they’ve grown by 17%.
  • Automotive master mechanic – There are over 3,000 automotive mechanics in Hawaii. They make $22K-$57K per year and they’ve grown by 10%.
  • Heating and air conditioning mechanics – There are 2,000 heating and air conditioning mechanics in Hawaii. They make $24K-$70K per year and they’ve grown by 18%.

5. If you’re a problem solver and are passionate about construction as well as building and fixing, Hawaii could be a good home.

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 2.47.24 PMWe couldn’t ignore the big demand for electricians. In just five years, electricians in Hawaii have grown by a whopping 47%, adding 1,200 new jobs. On average, they make $84K a year. Hawaii employs nearly 4,000 electricians now. Bet you’d never thought about how many electricians paradise needs!

If you’re curious about how you might fit in Hawaii or any of the other 49 states, take our quick Discovery Questionnaire to see how your strengths match up with careers. Our calling is to help you find yours, wherever you live. Need help? Leave a comment or email me at 

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