Washington state resources
There are no registration or licensing requirements. Accreditation is optional, but approval is required.
The Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction 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.
State funding sources & support
Washington does not provide funding for private education.
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.
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
Washington Federation of Independent Schools: WFIS exists to strengthen education for the students of Washington State as the advocate for and voice of independent schools.
Northwest Association of Independent Schools: A nonprofit membership association that provides accreditation, professional development and support services to over 110 schools in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Puget Sound Independent Schools: The association's goal is for families to have an increased awareness of the 40+ independent school options in the Puget Sound region
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.