Starting a vocational school or college in Florida requires obtaining a license that will allow your institution to offer degree, diploma, or certificate programs. The new institution application process includes 10 steps from planning to approval: 

  1. Prepare a business plan and projected budget
  2. Register a Florida corporation
  3. Lease or own a Florida campus location 
  4. Secure financial resources
  5. Purchase instruction and operation equipment
  6. Secure services and affiliation agreements
  7. Hire faculty and administrative personnel 
  8. Submit the application, 24 exhibits, and fees
  9. Satisfy all application review requests
  10. The commission votes and grants the license     


There are six due dates annually for new institution applications: 

  • January 1st
  • March 1st
  • May 1st
  • ​July 1st
  • September 1st
  • ​November 1st

On average, the licensing process takes 6 to 9 months for a complete well-prepared application. The commission expects applications to include all required exhibits. Let us help you prepare a winning package.


Ready to learn more? Visit our Florida school application exhibits list page. Download the free reference guide. Understanding the exhibits required with the application is the first step in sizing this project's scope. 


The July meeting will be held on the 25 and 26 and is open to the public. Visit our CIE July 2024 Commission Meeting page for information regarding the agendas and weblinks.


Visit Open a School or College in Florida for a review of the application and approval process with the Florida Department of Education. This page includes answers to common initial application questions, Florida Board requirements, and recommended homework to complete before starting the application process.


Visit How to Complete CIE New Institution Application for a review of the 24 exhibits and submission process. This page includes tips on avoiding common mistakes and links to tutorial videos for many of the items. 


For answers to the commission's most common questions, visit our Florida Commission for Independent Education page. Among others, it includes the commission scope and responsibilities, the 2024 calendar, the difference between licensing and accreditation, and what to expect after initial approval.


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Start a Vocational School or College in Florida

Considering opening a vocational school or college in Florida? Learn the basics to get started with the Commission for Independent Education (CIE) application to obtain a license to operate.

​​​We have helped many new Florida school owners obtain their career school and college licenses. Visit our Florida Consulting Page for a complete list of the services readily available to assist you. We can help you with the entire application process, including the planning, preparing the application documents, and operations training. Schedule a complimentary consultation today.

We are ready to assist you with your

  • ​Florida vocational school, college, university
  • Allied health school: Medical Assisting, Patient Care Technician (PCT), HHA, Phlebotomy, EKG
  • Beauty school: Cosmetology, Barber, Nail, Facial, Electrology, Laser, Massage
  • Degree-granting, online, and hybrid school
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) school
  • ​Nursing program applications
  • Renewals, adding programs
  • ​Change of ownership, adding a new campus

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We hope the information included on this page has answered your questions about starting an educational institution in Florida. Still needing assistance with your school application?  We are accredited by the Better Business Bureau with a BBB A+ Rating. Count on us for help with your career school needs.

Request a free consultation by calling 786-618-2277, emailing [email protected], or completing the free session request form. We are readily available to help you start a vocational school or college in Florida and provide a consultation on continued compliance.

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