General regulations

  • There are no accreditation or licensing requirements but all schools must be registered and approved.

  • The Rhode Island Department of Education 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 Rhode Island.

  • Homeschooling requirements are done on a local level and those interested should contact their local district for information.

  • The Rhode Island DOE has no published requirements for school insurance -- consult a professional for guidance in this area.

Education regulations and resources for starting a private school in the state of Rhode Island

State funding sources & support

 In Rhode Island the Corporate Scholarship Tax Credit Program provides tax credits to corporations that contribute to Scholarship Organizations (SOs). Scholarships are available to low-income students to attend private schools.

Curriculum requirements

A full curriculum for all grades and subjects must be substantially equivalent to that taught in the public schools. Instruction must be provided in the following core academic areas: reading, writing, geography/social studies, arithmetic, the history of the United States and Rhode Island, civics education, and the principles of American government. These subjects must be taught in the English language substantially to the same extent as required in the public schools. Instruction in the principles of popular and representative government under the Rhode Island and United States constitutions must be provided as well as instruction in health and physical education similar to that required in public schools. 

Teacher certification & hiring

Certification is not required for private school teachers. In general, teachers are expected to maintain and develop up-to-date competencies with appropriate professional development in the content area or grade levels they teach. All teachers in private schools must have a national and state criminal records check.

Looking for more?

Our comprehensive Starting a Private School guide includes great information for funding, curriculum, hiring & much more that applies no matter where you’re opening your school.

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Food services / school lunch

In Rhode Island, school lunch requirements, including funding for schools offering the National School Lunch Program, are managed by the Department of Education.

Length of school year

Students must attend school for at least 180 days per year and a school day must consist of at least 5.5 hours of instructional time.

Recordkeeping and reports

Private school teachers must keep a register of the names of all students, their sex and age, names of parents or guardians, the time when each student enters and leaves the school, and their daily attendance.

Health and safety requirements

Students must be immunized or provide proof of a medical or religious exemption. A minimum of 15 fire drills must take place each year.


Rhode Island is divided into five regional transportation areas. Districts must provide transportation for private school students within the district and within the region if no other similar school operates within the district.


Private school students’ participation in state testing is voluntary.

State and regional associations

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!

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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.

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