General regulations

  • In West Virginia, nonpublic schools are classified as either exemption (b) or exemption (k). Exemption (b) schools operate based on agreement with the county in which they are located. Exemption (k) schools operate based on compliance with WV Code §18-28.

  • Licensing is not required. Approval is optional and only relates to exemption (b) schools. Registration is optional only for exemption (b) nonpublic schools. Registration is required for exemption (k) schools. Accreditation is optional for all schools.

  • The West Virginia Department of Education has little in the way of detailed requirements for private schools but you can access the state statutes for more information.

  • The US Office of Innovation & Improvement has assembled a summary of regulations for private schools operating in West Virginia.

  • West Virginia does not recognize home schools as private schools.

  • The West Virginia 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 West Virginia

State funding sources & support

West Virginia does not provide funding for private education.

Curriculum requirements

All nonpublic schools (private, parochial, denominational) whether approved or registered are required to provide at least one year of instruction in West Virginia history prior to completion of the eighth grade. In addition, such schools must require regular courses in the history of the United States, in civics, the constitution and the government of both West Virginia and the United States by the completion of the twelfth grade. The boards of private, parochial and denominational schools have a duty to prescribe courses covering these subjects similar to those required in the public schools.

Teacher certification & hiring

Teacher certification is not required for teachers at private schools.

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Food services / school lunch

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

Length of school year

“Approved” private and parochial schools serving students in lieu of public school must be open for a time equal to the county school term. Private, parochial or church schools that are “registered” must observe a minimum instructional term of 180 days with an average of five hours of instruction per day.

Recordkeeping and reports

“Approved” exemption (b) private and parochial schools serving students in lieu of public school are required to furnish county boards of education any information and records requested regarding attendance, instruction, and progress of pupils under 17 years of age. All schools must keep student attendance records.

Health and safety requirements

County boards of education may provide screening tests for vision, hearing, speech and language disabilities upon request for children entering nonpublic schools. 


County boards of education have the authority to provide at public expense transportation for all school age children who live more than two miles distance from school.


Registered private, parochial and church schools, exemption (k) schools, shall administer a standardized test on an annual basis to every child registered between the ages six and 17 years

State and regional associations

Starting a Private School

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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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