About Private Occupational Schools

G.L. c. 112, § 263 defines a "private occupational school" as follows:

"Private occupational school", a private educational organization, not specifically exempted by subsection (c), that conducts courses, for profit or by charging tuition, for the purpose of training or preparing individuals for a business, trade, technical or industrial occupation, or any other vocational purpose, including correspondence schools, private business schools, private trade schools and similar entities designated by the division.

The law authorizes DPL to license all private occupational schools operating in Massachusetts, subject to certain important exceptions:

(c) All private occupational schools operating in the commonwealth shall be licensed by the division; provided, however, that this section shall not apply to:

(i) a school, college or other educational institution chartered and authorized by the commonwealth to grant degrees; provided, however, that non-degree programs offered through such a school, college or other educational institution by a third party shall be licensed by the division;

(ii) a school conducted by any person or entity for the education and training of such person or entity's employees with no fee or tuition being charged to the employees;

(iii) a school exclusively engaged in training persons with disabilities;

(iv) a school providing distance learning or online correspondence services having no place of business in the commonwealth;

(v) recreational programs conducted for the purpose of relaxation and enjoyment regarding instruction in non-occupational pastimes, exercise or other such diversions;

(vi) programs owned and operated by established religious institutions for the purpose of providing religious instruction;

(vii) courses of instruction conducted by a public school district or combination of public school districts;

(viii) private schools or programs conducted for the education of students in grades pre-kindergarten through 12;

(ix) incidental training associated with the purchase of a product from a vendor; provided, however, that the training is to familiarize the purchaser with its use and the purchaser is not awarded any form of a certificate or diploma for having received the training; or

(x) other programs designated by the division.

Pursuant to its authority in subsection (x), DPL designates the following categories of occupational schools as exempt from licensing under G.L. c. 112, § 263, as follows:

Occupational schools subject to licensure by other state agencies will not be required to be licensed by DPL as well. These include:

Occupational schools subject to licensure by DPL boards will not be required at this time to submit to all of the licensing requirements generally applicable to occupational schools under G.L. c. 112, § 263.

DPL may amend these designations at any time, without prior notice.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the DPL Office of Private Occupational School Education at 617-727-5811, or email us at Occupational.Schools@state.ma.us.