When a License is Required

If you have a business providing instruction in Texas or to Texans, including schools located in Texas providing only distance education, you must be licensed unless you are exempt from licensure or are an out-of-state distance education school.

The Texas Workforce Commission regulates most types of career schools and colleges. However, some schools such as those that train barbers, cosmetologists (hair dressers), massage therapists, aviation mechanics and realtors are licensed by other agencies.

The Texas Workforce Commission issues a Certificate of Approval to licensed schools. If your school is licensed, you are able to publish that your school is approved and regulated by TWC. If your school is operating without a license or exemption, you may be required to pay a penalty, pay refunds to all students or halt instruction.

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License Application Process

To get a license for a career school or college, you must submit a complete application with supporting documents and required fees to TWC.

Our goal is to issue a Certificate of Approval within 90 days. The time it takes for your school’s application review will depend on the completeness of your application and the timeliness of your responses to requests for information and revisions. If the application is not completed, TWC will close the application. Schools may begin the application process again when prepared to do so.

Your application fees depend on the size of your school and the number of applications submitted for staff. A minimum fee for a small school with one director, one instructor and one representative is $1,131.

TWC is here to help with the licensing process. For assistance, email career.schools@twc.state.tx.us or call 866-256-6333, option 3.

Do I Need to Contact Other Agencies?

If you plan to offer any degree program or programs for certain vocations you will need to work with another agency in addition to TWC. For details, see Licensing Coordination Information for Career School ProgramsPDF.

The following programs require licenses from both TWC and another agency.

  • Auctioneer
  • Laser hair removal
  • Limited medical radiologic technologist
  • Medication aide
  • Nurse aide
  • Vocational nurse

If you plan to offer degree programs, you need to contact the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

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Get Started with Your Application

To find instructions, forms and samples for a new school application, see the following resources:

Residence or Seminar School?

You will apply as either a Residence (vocational) School or a Seminar School. A Residence School offers at least one program: a sequence of subjects that teaches skills and knowledge required for employment in a specified occupation. Residence schools may offer seminars as well as programs. Seminar Schools offer only seminars: courses of instruction to enhance a student's career.

Large School or Small School?

You also will apply as either a large or small school.

Your school is considered large for licensing purposes if it meets either of these conditions:

Your school is considered small for licensing purposes if it meets both of these conditions:

  • Has an adjusted annual gross income from student tuition and fees less than or equal to $100,000
  • Does not receive any Title IV payments.

Financial Statements

You will need to contact a Public Accountant to begin the required financial statements. Requirements differ depending on the type of ownership of your school-- sole proprietor, corporation, or partnership, which are explained in the General Information Sheet, Evidence Necessary to Establish Financial Stability for a School (CSC-016)PDF

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Create Essential Documents & Policies

You will need to submit your catalog and enrollment agreement with your application.

Catalog Resources

  • Index to Catalog and SupplementsIndex to Catalog and Supplements PDF orIndex to Catalog and Supplements MS Word
    Lists the topics that must be included in your catalog.
  • Guide to Catalog and SupplementsGuide to Catalog and Supplements PDF
    Elaborates on information in the Index, providing details on what must be included
  • Sample CatalogSample Catalog PDF
    An example of an appropriate catalog for a small school.
  • Catalog Outline – TemplateCatalog Outline – Template PDF orCatalog Outline – Template MS Word
    An editable template you can use to create your catalog. It also provides sample policies and required language for attendance, satisfactory progress, academic probation, cancellation and refunds.
  • Instructions for Notice of Cancellation Policy for Residence and Correspondence SchoolsInstructions for Notice of Cancellation Policy for Residence and Correspondence Schools PDF

Enrollment Agreement Resources

  • Enrollment Agreement ChecklistEnrollment Agreement Checklist PDF
    Lists the required elements.
  • Sample Enrollment AgreementSample Enrollment Agreement PDF orSample Enrollment Agreement MS Word
    A template you can customize with your school information.

New Program Application Resource

  • Sample New Program ApplicationSample New Program Application PDF
    Provides an example for the description of your curriculum, instructional resources, materials, schedule and equipment.

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Staff Your School

Your school must have a school director, at least one representative and at least one instructor, all approved by TWC. One person can fill more than one of the required roles. Having a director of education is optional. You can find information on staff continuing education requirements on the Ongoing Requirements for Licensed Schools page.

School Director

Your School Director must sign and attest to assurancesPDF that include the director's responsibility for the quality of instruction, the adequacy of facilities, the character and qualification of school staff, and the proper maintenance of student records.

  • Director or Director of Education ApplicationDirector or Director of Education Application PDF orDirector or Director of Education Application MS Word

Representative

Representatives solicit and enroll students for the school. Sole Proprietors and some partnerships are not required to have representatives. You must renew your list of Representatives each year.

Before they solicit students, School Representatives must be approved by TWC and pass TWC’s free, online training on state rules about soliciting students:  Representative Training for Career Schools and Colleges.

  • Representative Registration ApplicationRepresentative Registration Application PDF orRepresentative Registration Application MS Word
  • Professional ConductProfessional Conduct PDF orProfessional Conduct MS Word
  • Addendum to Representative Application – for renewal Addendum to Representative Application – for renewal PDF or Addendum to Representative Application – for renewal MS Word

Instructor

You must list at least one Instructor for each subject that will be taught. An instructor may teach more than one subject. Instructors cannot be students in the same or similar program in which they teach. Within the first three months of teaching at your school, any inexperienced teachers must receive professional development to learn and develop effective teaching strategies.

  • Instructor ApplicationInstructor Application PDF orInstructor Application MS Word
  • Professional ConductProfessional Conduct PDF orProfessional Conduct MS Word

Director of Education

Your school may have a Director of Education. The director of education must meet the same qualifications as an instructor and also must have one year of employment as a post-secondary instructor, one year of employment as a supervisor and at least a bachelor’s degree.

  • Director or Director of Education ApplicationDirector or Director of Education Application PDF orDirector or Director of Education Application MS Word
  • Director of Education SupplementalDirector of Education Supplemental PDF or Director of Education Supplemental MS Word

Staff Designee

Your School Director is responsible for appointing a staff designee. The staff designee serves as a liaison person when the director is not available during a TWC survey visit to the school. The director must ensure other staff are aware of the responsibilities of this person and that the staff designee is trained in survey visit procedures.

The staff designee appointment is a step in the application process for an incoming School Director. If there is a need for an incumbent School Director to appoint a new Staff Designee, use the Change in Staff Designee Only form.

  • Change in Staff Designee OnlyChange in Staff Designee Only PDF or Change in Staff Designee Only MS Word

Director of Admissions

Your school may have a Director of Admissions. The director of admissions is not approved by TWC, but you must have documentation that prior to employment at your school the director of admissions had one year of management or administrative experience and one year of admissions experience.

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Ready Facilities & Equipment

Your school facilities and equipment must support the program(s) your school offers. You do not have to have facilities and equipment to apply for licensure, but TWC must visit and survey your school before your school can be approved.

  • Facility and Equipment Inspection RequestFacility and Equipment Inspection Request PDF or Facility and Equipment Inspection Request MS Word
  • Motor Vehicle Fleet InformationMotor Vehicle Fleet Information PDF or Motor Vehicle Fleet Information MS Word

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Plan Externships & Internships

Your school may require students to complete an externship or internship as part of their program. When you plan an outline of experiences and competencies for this training, students can gain insight into their chosen occupation.

It is your school’s responsibility to arrange adequate externship or internship sites and supervision for all students enrolled in the program.

For more information on externship and internship requirements, see the New Program/Seminar Application. Our Sample New Program Application includes an example of a letter to a potential externship site and a sample extern evaluation form.

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Know the Law & Rules

Career schools and colleges are regulated in Texas under Career Schools and Colleges Law - Texas Education Code, Chapter 132 and Career Schools and Colleges Rules - Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 807PDF. The state law and rules guide TWC’s review of your school materials and inform career schools of the expectations of the state of Texas. Your familiarity with the law and the rules will benefit your school and your students.

School Advertisements

You cannot advertise until your school has been approved. The law and rules provide extensive guidance about career school advertisements, for example:

  • Advertisements cannot be deceptive.
  • Ads can be printed only in specified sections of newspapers and periodicals.
  • There are words that are not allowed in advertisements, such as “Wanted,” “Help Wanted” or “Trainee.”
  • Other words cannot be used in ads without TWC approval, including the words "guaranteed" and "free."
  • You cannot promise employment for students.
  • Pictures and graphics cannot provide a false impression of your school facilities.
  • There are restrictions on the size of font and language used to publicize financial aid.

Read the advertising rules carefully.

TWC considers statements made by school representatives equivalent to advertising the school. Your representatives can recruit students only at educational settings, job fairs, or organized meetings, and there are limits on what they can say about financial aid. Your school is responsible for statements made by your representatives.

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Complete the Application Process

To get a license for a career school or college, you must submit a complete application with supporting documents and required fees to TWC. Refer to the New School Application Checklist to ensure that your materials are complete. Submit your Fee Sheet with your application.

Our goal is to review your application and reply within five business days of receiving your application materials. If we request revisions or additional materials, you need to respond completely within 30 calendar days. The cycle of review and response may occur as many as three times in our efforts to approve your school within 90 calendar days. If you do not fully respond to our requests within the 30 calendar days, your application may be closed, and you may need to reapply and pay a new application fee.

If your application is not complete and may be closed your TWC contact will let you know, and you will have an opportunity to respond. TWC will notify you formally by certified mail when your application has been closed.

We are available to answer your questions as you work on your application or our requests for revision or more materials.  For assistance, email career.schools@twc.state.tx.us or call 866-256-6333, option 3.

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Accreditation

Accreditation refers to a voluntary process in which postsecondary schools and colleges apply to an independent, non-governmental body to review their school and programs against defined standards. To remain accredited, a school must meet minimum standards established by the accreditor.

Accreditation is not required for TWC to license a career school or college to operate in Texas. However, to offer federal grant and loan programs to its students, one requirement is that a career school or college must be accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Also, career schools and college and postsecondary institutions, other than Texas public institutions, offering any degree program in Texas must be authorized under a Certificate of Authority or Certificate of Authorization by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation also evaluates and recognizes accrediting agencies.

Accrediting Agencies Most Frequently Used by Licensed Career Schools in Texas

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Contact Information