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Starting a Private Career School in Washington

First steps

Determining if your vocational training program is required to be licensed.
If you are a provider offering a vocational education training program to the general public with a program length of more than three days, and charging tuition, you may need to obtain a "Private Vocational School License" to comply with the State's Private Vocational School Act. You'll want to take the “self-test” and send it to us, anthony.collins@wtb.wa.gov, to determine your requirements. If you have more specific questions please contact our Consumer Protection Unit for more information, 360-709-4600.

What's next

If the questionnaire determines you need a license to operate a private career school in Washington State, or to advertise your school in Washington, you'll need to participate in a new school orientation before applying. If you haven’t already, you will need to:

  • Finally, be sure to comply with any local ordinances governing businesses in the city or county where you plan to operate.

Please review the New School Orientation PowerPoint. If you need further clarification, a call-in conference style orientation or webinar is available monthly, see dates below. Please contact the Consumer Protection Unit for dial-in or logon information, 360-709-4600. Space is limited, you must preregister with staff to ensure your place in the orientation.

  • July 19, 2018
  • August 16, 2018
  • September 20, 2018
  • October 18, 2018
  • November 15, 2018
  • December 20, 2018

We recommend you familiarize yourself with the private vocational school licensing statute,and regulations. You can download the orientation materials here:


Online application
After you have completed these necessary first steps, you’ll be able to fill out an online application. Please contact staff, 360-709-4600 for a user name and password.

New Ownership/Ownership Changes

If you are selling your school or the ownership changes for those having 10% or more ownership in the school, you may need to reapply. The process is similar to an initial application except existing materials may only need revision unless the new owner wishes to change them. In addition to the updated materials we'll need a sales agreement showing which party will take responsibility for student complaints within the first year of the purchase (students can file a complaint up to one year after completion of a program).

Please contact the Workforce Board for additional details and to be issued a new logon and password, 360-709-4600.


Back to main Private Career School page

Opening a school in Oregon?
Get info on state requirements.

Note: The application process takes an average of 60 days from the time the complete application and fees have been received, pending prior applications.



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