North Carolina state resources
There are no licensing requirements and accreditation and approval are optional. All schools must be registered with the state, however.
The North Carolina Department of Administration has assembled a page of detailed requirements for private schools.
The US Office of Innovation & Improvement has assembled a summary of regulations for private schools operating in North Carolina.
A ‘home school’ means a nonpublic school in which one or more children of not more than two families or households receive academic instruction from parents or legal guardians, or a member of either household.
The North Carolina DOA has no published requirements for school insurance -- consult a professional for guidance in this area.
State funding sources & support
North Carolina provides funding for private education:
There are no curriculum requirements for nonpublic schools.
Teacher certification & hiring
Teacher certification is not required of nonpublic schools.
Food services / school lunch
In North Carolina, school lunch requirements, including funding for schools offering the National School Lunch Program, are managed by the Department of Public Instruction.
Length of school year
Attendance at an approved nonpublic school must be for a period equal to the time the local public school is in session.
Recordkeeping and reports
Schools must notify the state of intent to operate, the name and address of the school, and the name of the school’s owner and chief administrator. They must also record and maintain annual attendance and disease immunization records for each student, as well as standardized test scores.
Health and safety requirements
Private church schools or schools of religious charter and qualifying nonpublic schools are subject to the state requirements respecting fire, safety, sanitation, and immunization. Students must be vaccinated or provide documentation of a religious or medical exemption. Fire drills must be conducted once per month.
Students with special needs may be transported by public school buses to and from the nearest appropriate private school having a special education program.
Private church schools or schools of religious charter, and other qualified nonpublic schools must administer a nationally standardized test to students in grades three, six, and nine at least once each school year. The test must measure achievement in English grammar, reading, spelling, and mathematics.
State and regional associations
North Carolina Association of Independent Schools: The recognized and respected membership organization for independent schools across the state.
Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS): The mission of SAIS is to strengthen member schools by providing high-quality accreditation processes, comprehensive professional growth opportunities, and visionary leadership development programs.
Starting a Private School
Want to know more about opening a school? We’ve assembled a complete guide to starting a private school, with considerations for everything from planning and finance to branding, hiring, curriculum, facilities, and more!
We've done our best to pull together current and accurate information. Even so, there may be omissions or mistakes or content that needs to be updated. If you have recommendations for any resources or corrections, we appreciate your input so we can continue to improve this guide for everyone.
Nothing in this guide should be construed as legal, business, or tax advice. It is important that you engage qualified professionals who can advise you on such matters, and please visit the Department of Education pages for your state to verify you are in compliance with all regulations.