Applying for an Occupational School License

Instructions for applying for an Occupational School Initial License Application (For-Profit and Non-Profit Schools).

Table of Contents

Occupational School Initial License Application (For-Profit and Non-Profit Schools)

General Instructions

Please review and complete the steps noted below to prior to starting and submitting your Occupational School initial license application. Please note that this particular license application process applies to both For-Profit and Non-Profit Schools. Questions regarding the application process should be directed to Occupational School staff at 617-701-8719 or occupational.schools@mass.gov.

Review DOL’s Occupational School Regulations

Prior to completing your application, please review the Office’s regulations, set forth at 230 Code of Massachusetts Regulations (CMR) 12.00-17.00.  You may purchase an official copy of 230 CMR 12.00-17.00 in person at the State Bookstore located at the Massachusetts State House, Room 116, Boston, MA 02133, or you may order a copy online through the Secretary of State’s office. DOL also maintains an unofficial, courtesy copy of the regulations accessible through the Statutes and Regulations section of its website. 

Application Process

Step 1: If you are unsure whether your organization must apply for a private occupational school license, please refer to the Private Occupational School Licensure Determination Form, available on DOL’s Occupational School’s website. If DOL determines that your organization must apply for licensure, please proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Contact the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) to request a copy of their financial application for an occupational school. The OSA can be reached by phone at 617-727-0025 to request the application and ask any questions you may have related to the OSA’s financial application. Potential license applicants are strongly encouraged to complete the OSA’s application as soon as possible since there is no need for you to go through the remaining steps if the OSA determines you are not financially eligible to apply for licensure.

Step 3: If the OSA determines you are financially eligible to apply for an occupational school license, please complete and submit DOL’s application and payment via our online ePLACE licensing system.

Step 4: If your school plans to offer a program that is also overseen by another state or federal agency, please contact that agency to obtain any necessary approvals. Here are some examples:

  • If you intend to offer a Nurse Aide or Nursing Assistant Training (NAT) program, you will need to contact the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Nurse Aide Registry, at 617-753-8036. DPH has a separate application process that must also be completed, as DPH and DOL have joint oversight of NAT schools. Please refer to the Technical Assistance Handout specific to prospective NAT schools.
  • If you intend to operate a massage therapy program, please read the Memo regarding the Licensure and Oversight of Private Occupational Massage Therapy Schools.  Here is the direct link to the memo
  • If you intend to offer an LPN program, not only must the school be licensed by the Division of Occupational Licensure, it must also be accredited by a U.S. Department of Education-approved accrediting agency and its program must be approved by the Department of Public Health’s Board of Registration for Nursing.  Please contact the Board of Nursing directly for information on its requirements for LPN programs.
  • If you intend to offer a dental assisting program, please review the state’s requirements to register as a dental assistant in Massachusetts through the Board of Registration in Dentistry; here is a direct link to the page Dental Assistant Licenses.  If you apply to DOL for an occupational school license to offer a dental assisting program, DOL will work with you and the Board of Registration in Dentistry to ensure your program meets the minimum requirements so your graduates may become registered as dental assistants in Massachusetts.
  • If you intend to offer a professional driving program (CDL-A, CDL-B), please also contact the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles for requirements for professional driving programs and instructor certification requirements.  This means there are two application processes (RMV and DOL).

Step 5: Once the OSA has completed its review of your financials, they will also determine the level of surety you must obtain for the protection of the students. This amount will be indicated in the final paragraph of your approval letter from the OSA. DOL recommends obtaining a surety bond to comply with this requirement, as they are the easiest to obtain and to maintain. The blank surety bond form for you to send to your insurance company is available on the Office of Private Occupational School Education: Surety Forms and Instructions section of our website. If you choose another form of surety, there are forms and directions for each also available on the Office of Private Occupational School Education: Surety Forms and Instructions section of our website.

Step 6: Once your application with DOL is complete and you have obtained any additional third party approvals needed, DOL will schedule a site visit to inspect the school.

Step 7: If approved, DOL will issue you an occupational school license, which will be valid for two (2) years. Every two (2) years you will be required to renew your license by submitting a renewal application and pay a renewal fee. As a condition of DOL licensure, you will be required to submit a financial application to the OSA every year. You will also be required to maintain surety, building and fire inspection reports, and, as needed, you will be required to submit the appropriate documentation for new instructors, employees, and instructional locations (branches).

Required Attachments for Initial Applicants

The following documents may be uploaded during the online application process. Forms for which are available on: Information for Occupation School Licensing

  • Ownership Documentation:
    • For each owner, please upload under CORI Authorization:  An application packet that contains an Owner Information Form, with notarized CORI Form, SORI Form, and signature page of Ethics Training. The Ethics Training is available on DOL’s Office of Private Occupational School Education: Instructor, Staff, and Owner Forms.
    • Please attach the applicable ownership documentation:
      • Corporations must submit a copy of their Articles of Incorporation; and documentation of EIN or FEIN number. (Note: Corporations that are operating (not as schools) and now want to offer courses must amend their articles of organization with the Secretary of State’s Office. Please enclose a copy of the certified amendment.)
      • LLCs must submit a copy of their Articles of Organization; and documentation of EIN or FEIN number.
      • Partnerships must submit a notarized copy of their partnership agreement and Articles of Organization; and documentation of EIN or FEIN number.
      • Individual owners must submit consent to do business from the city/town clerk.
      • Franchises must submit an executed copy of their franchise agreement.
  • Business Certificate
    • A Business Certificate, or D/B/A Certificate, from the cities or towns in which the school intends to operate.
  • Facility Inspection Reports:
    • The applicant must provide current building and fire inspection reports for each facility in which students enter.  A current Certificate of Occupancy report that has been signed by both the local building and fire inspectors may be submitted in lieu of separate inspection reports.
  • Building Inspection Report:
    • For each location, please upload a copy of the school’s current Certificate of Inspection, or use the Building Inspection Report Form available on DOL’s website. The report must include the Building Use Group in accordance with 780 CMR 304 or 305, the regulations for building codes. If the Use Group is not present on your inspection report, contact your local building inspector’s office for a determination of the Use Group. The Use Group code determines how often your facility must be inspected and will therefore inform DOL how often to require building inspections (e.g., annual, biennial) from you.
  • Fire Inspection Report:
  • Enrollment Agreement:
    • Please create an Enrollment Agreement (also known as an Enrollment Contract) on school letterhead that complies with G.L. c. 255, §13K.  Please refer to the Sample Enrollment Agreement on DOL’s website to ensure you include all required information and are using the most up to date language.  A copy of the Sample Agreement is available on DOL’s Office of Private Occupational School Education: Technical Assistance Handouts website
  • School Closure Plan:
    • Please complete and upload the School Closure Plan form found on DOL’s website.
  • Property Lease or Deed:
    • If property is owned by the applicant, please upload a copy of the deed.  If the property is being leased by the applicant, please upload a copy of the school's lease, signed by both the lessee(s) and the lessor(s), which also includes the lessor’s name, address, and telephone number.
  • Floor Plan:
    • A copy of the proposed school’s floor plan indicating the approximate size and purpose for each room.
  • Board of Health Approval:
    • If the applicant will be providing instruction in an allied health program that requires approval by the local board of health, the applicant must provide a copy of the approval to DOL.  Oversight of programs such as phlebotomy and other allied health programs is at the discretion of the local board of health.
  • Proof of Adequate Liability Insurance.
  • Policy Statements:
    • On school letterhead, or marked within the school catalogue or student handbook, policies for the following:
      • Entrance requirements pursuant to 230 CMR 15.05(1)(b);
      • Attendance policies, including the consequences of not adhering to these policies;
      • Grading policies, including the consequences of not maintaining the school’s minimum grade requirements;
      • Satisfactory progress pursuant to 230 CMR 15.01(10);
      • School rules and regulations, including the consequences of not adhering to these rules and regulations;
      • Guidance and counseling policies;
      • Job placement;
      • School calendar (showing dates of courses, days off, days the school is not open, or any other breaks); and
      • Student complaint resolution process pursuant to 230 CMR 15.07, including that the school must respond to students’ written complaints in writing within 10 days; and, students may contact the Office of Private Occupational School Education at any time.
  • Program or Course Catalogue:
    • A copy of the school’s catalogue.
  • Program or Course Approval Form:
    • For each program to be offered by the school, and/or each course individually advertised by the school, with all supporting documentation on the form.
  • Federal Student Aid Approval, if applicable:
    • A copy of approval letter. 
  • Accreditations Approval(s), if applicable:
    • A copy of approval letter(s).
  • GI Bill Approval Letter, if applicable:
    • A copy of approval letter(s).
  • Surety:
    • Initial applicants must submit to DOL by first class mail the original surety document in the amount determined by the State Auditor. Initial applicants must also upload a copy of the surety and a copy of the State Auditor’s determination letter.
    • Instructors:
      • For each instructor, please upload under CORI Authorization:  An application packet that contains an Instructor Certification Form; notarized CORI form; SORI form, resume or Curriculum Vitae, and printout of professional license, if the latter is required.
    • Staff (non-instructional):
    • Electronic Records Waiver, if applicable:
      • A copy of the completed Electronic Records Waiver.

    Application Fee

    All applicants are required to pay a non-refundable application fee. For-Profit Schools are required to pay non-refundable, one-time application fee of $2,500.00. Non-Profit Schools are required to pay a non-refundable, one-time application fee of $1,250.00.  This fee can be paid online at the end of the online application process, either by check or credit card. Please note that a convenience fee will be assessed.

    Application Questions

    Please direct any questions regarding the application process to Occupational School staff at 617-701-8719  or occupational.schools@mass.gov.
    Also, please view the Technical Assistance Handout

    Begin Your Application Now

    • In order to apply for your license online, you will first need to create an ePLACE account. For detailed instructions on creating an account, please consult DOL’s Creating an ePLACE Account webpage.
    • Once you complete and submit your application, please email us at occupational.schools@mass.gov to notify us that your initial application has been submitted.

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