General regulations

  • There are no registration or licensing requirements. Accreditation is optional, but approval is required.

  • The Washington State Board 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 Washington.

  • Instruction is considered home-based if it consists of planned and supervised instructional and related educational activities, including curriculum and instruction in the basic skills of occupational education, science, mathematics, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, and spelling, and the development of an appreciation of art and music. 

  • The Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction 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 Washington

State funding sources & support

Washington does not provide funding for private education.

Curriculum requirements

The private school curriculum must include instruction of the basic skills of occupational education, science, mathematics, language, social studies, history, health, reading, writing, and spelling, and the development of appreciation of art and music, all in sufficient units for meeting state board of education graduation requirements. The administration of each private school is responsible for selecting all books, teaching materials, and the curriculum (except as provided above).

Teacher certification & hiring

All classroom teachers must hold appropriate Washington state certification except those teaching religious courses, or courses for which no counterpart exists in the public schools.

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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 Washington, school lunch requirements, including funding for schools offering the National School Lunch Program, are managed by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Length of school year

Students must attend school for 180 days per year.

Recordkeeping and reports

Principals of private schools or superintendents of private school districts must file a statement each year with the superintendent of public instruction certifying that minimum requirements are being met.

Health and safety requirements

Students must provide immunization records or proof of exemption. Schools are required to file annual reports on students' immunization history.


Local school district boards may jointly make purchases with private schools for supplies, equipment, and services, including but not limited to school bus maintenance services, as long as the private schools pay in advance or provide a surety bond for their proportionate share of the costs involved.


Testing is optional for private school students.

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.