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Private Post-Secondary Regulation of Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) Programs

Last Updated: May 18, 2020

Yoga Alliance closely monitors within the United States the implementation of state “private post-secondary education” laws that have been applied to yoga teacher training (YTT) programs, including Registered Yoga Schools (RYSs). Here we provide background on private post-secondary education laws, associated regulations, and their impact on YTTs across the country as a resource for our RYS members.

The information contained on this page does not constitute legal advice, and Yoga Alliance recommends that members seek the advice of counsel in determining what state laws and regulations may apply to their businesses.

 

Overview of Private Post-Secondary Education Laws and Regulations

Many states within the United States have enacted laws to regulate or license private post-secondary schools and programs, also known as career schools, vocational training schools, or occupational schools. Generally, the institutions and programs regulated under these laws are non-public schools and programs, other than accredited colleges, universities, and degree-granting programs, that are designed to prepare students for careers and occupations.

Regulated schools and programs must meet certain standards and requirements to operate in a state. The specific regulatory requirements vary across states but typically include adherence to certain policies related to student admissions, instructor qualifications, and facilities. Regulated schools and programs are also usually required to pay fees–at the time of their initial application and during any renewal period–and maintain a surety bond.

States that regulate private post-secondary schools and programs set up a state board, agency, or commission that is tasked with administering regulatory and licensing requirements. These regulators interpret the state laws and regulations that set criteria for which schools and programs are subject to regulation. This means that regulators in some states interpret their state law broadly to cover many types of schools and programs, while regulators in other states focus on narrow categories of schools and programs to regulate. Further, many state statutes exempt certain types of schools and programs from regulation entirely. For example, many states exempt programs that are purely “avocational” or “recreational” in nature, commonly defined as a program or course where the objective is developing a hobby or personal enrichment rather than an occupational advantage. However, the state regulators are ultimately responsible for determining which schools and programs fall into statutory exemptions, and regulators can–and often do–take a different approach from state to state.

Regulators in some states have categorized a YTT, including an RYS, as the type of program that should be regulated under private post-secondary school laws. Other state regulators have not interpreted their existing private post-secondary school laws to apply to YTTs. Moreover, several states–often after successful advocacy efforts spearheaded by Yoga Alliance–specifically exempt YTTs or yoga practice or instruction from the categories of schools and programs that the states regulate.

Given the differing regulatory landscape from state to state, it is important for RYS members to understand:

  • Whether their state regulates “private post-secondary” (or “career,” “occupational,” or “vocational”) schools and programs;
  • If so, the scope of those regulations and which types of schools and programs are subject to regulation;
  • Whether there are additional criteria (size, revenue thresholds, etc.) that determine whether a school or program is regulated as a private postsecondary institution; and
  • The regulatory and licensure requirements for regulated schools and programs.

To assist our RYS members, the drop-down below provides the following information for each state:

  1. Whether the state regulates private post-secondary schools;
  2. Whether the state’s statute and/or regulations address(es) yoga teacher training programs;
  3. Whether publicly available information indicates that the state is currently regulating any yoga schools and/or programs; and
  4. Links to state-specific resources.

Select a State



Alabama (AL)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Alabama requires “private post-secondary institutions” operating in the state to be licensed by the Department of Postsecondary Education. Ala.Code 1975 § 16-46-5. The Alabama statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Department does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses

Special Issues

On February 13, 2020, State Representative Gray introduced a bill that would allow public schools to offer yoga to students as an elective activity. The practice of yoga would be limited to the physical aspects only and would not permit chanting, mantras, non-English descriptive names, or using the greeting Namaste. The bill passed in the House by a substantial margin but has since stalled in the Senate, where it was last referred to the Senate Education Committee on March 10.



Alaska (AK)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Alaska requires “post-secondary educational institutions” operating in the state to have a “valid authorization to operate” from the Commission on Postsecondary Education. AS §§ 14.48.020, 14.48.070. However, after advocacy activity by Yoga Alliance, Alaska enacted a statutory exemption that is intended to cover YTT programs. AS § 14.48.030(a)(5)(C).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Arizona (AZ)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Arizona requires “private vocational programs” operating in the state to hold a private vocational program license from the State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. A.R.S. § 32-3021. However, after advocacy activity by Yoga Alliance, Arizona enacted a statutory exemption that covers YTT programs. A.R.S. § 32-3021(F)(11).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Arkansas (AR)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Arkansas requires “schools” operating in the state to secure a license from the State Board of Private Career Education. A.C.A. § 6-51-606. However, after advocacy activity by Yoga Alliance, Arkansas enacted a statutory exemption that covers YTT programs. A.C.A. §§ 6-51-602(11)(E), 6-51-624(3).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



California (CA)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

California requires “private post-secondary educational institutions” operating in the state to obtain approval from the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (BPPE). Cal.Educ.Code § 94886. The California statute does not specifically address YTT programs. However, the BPPE is currently regulating several institutions that offer yoga programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses

Special Issues

California passed ACR 96, recognizing June 21, 2019 as the 2019 International Day of Yoga in the state.



Colorado (CO)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Colorado requires “private occupational schools” operating in the state to apply for a certificate of approval from the Division of Private Occupational Schools within the Department of Higher Education. C.R.S. § 23-64-114. However, after advocacy activity by Yoga Alliance, Colorado enacted a statutory exemption that covers YTT programs. C.R.S. 23-64-104(1)(p).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Connecticut (CT)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Connecticut requires “private occupational schools” operating in the state to be authorized by the executive director of the Office of Higher Education. C.G.S.A. § 10a-22b. The Connecticut statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Office does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Delaware (DE)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Delaware requires “private schools or classes” and “instructing individuals in business or trade subjects” in the state to be approved by the Department of Education. 14 Del.C. § 8503. The Delaware statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Department does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



District of Columbia (DC)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

The District of Columbia requires “post-secondary educational institutions” operating in the District to be licensed by the Higher Education Licensure Commission. D.C. Code § 38-1309. The District of Columbia statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Florida (FL)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Florida requires “colleges” and “schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Commission for Independent Education. Fla. Stat. § 1005.31. The Florida statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Georgia (GA)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Georgia requires “nonpublic post-secondary educational institutions” operating in the state to apply for authorization from the Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission. O.C.G.A.§ 20-3-250.8. The Georgia statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Hawaii (HI)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Hawaii requires “private trade, vocational, or technical schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Department of Education. HRS § 302A-425. The Hawaii statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Department does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses

Special Issues

Hawaii has officially designated June 21 of each year as International Yoga Day in Hawaii.



Idaho (ID)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Idaho requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to hold a valid certificate of registration from the State Board of Education. I.C. § 33-2403. Due to advocacy by Yoga Alliance, Idaho enacted a statutory exemption that covers YTT programs. I.C. § 33-2403(4)(j).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Illinois (IL)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Illinois requires “private business and vocational schools” operating in the state to hold a permit of approval from the Board of Higher Education. 105 ILCS 426/20. However, after advocacy by Yoga Alliance, Illinois enacted a statutory exemption that covers YTT programs. 105 ILCS 426/30(7).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Indiana (IN)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Indiana requires “post-secondary credit bearing proprietary educational institutions” operating in the state to be authorized by the Board for Proprietary Education. IC 21-18.5-6-2. The Indiana statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Board does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Iowa (IA)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Iowa requires “schools,” including “post-secondary educational institutions” operating in the state to register with the College Student Aid Commission. I.C.A. §§ 261B.3; 714.18. Career and technical education at the secondary level is organized by industry area and must be registered with the Department of Education to receive state funding. The Iowa statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Kansas (KS)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Kansas requires “private post-secondary educational institutions” operating in the state to obtain a certificate of approval from the State Board of Regents. K.S.A. § 74-32,167. The Kansas statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Board does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Kentucky (KY)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Kentucky requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Commission on Proprietary Education. KRS § 165A.330. The Kentucky statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Louisiana (LA)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Louisiana requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Board of Regents and adhere to the rules and regulations of the Louisiana Proprietary Schools Advisory Commission. LSA-R.S. § 17:3140.1 et seq. However, Louisiana enacted a statutory exemption from licensing that covers YTT programs. LSA-R.S. § 17:3140.1(c)(xv).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Maine (ME)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Maine requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Commissioner of the Department of Education. 20-A M.R.S.A. § 9501. The Maine statute does not specifically address YTT programs. A directory of regulated proprietary schools is not currently publicly available.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Maryland (MD)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Maryland requires “private career schools” operating in the state to obtain a certificate of approval from the Higher Education Commission. COMAR 13B.01.01.03. The Maryland statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs (although “yoga teacher training/yoga therapy” is listed as an “occupation type” on the Commission’s website).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Massachusetts (MA)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Massachusetts requires “private occupational schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Division of Professional Licensure. M.G.L.A. 112 § 263. The Massachusetts statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Division does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses

State Resources for Yoga Businesses

S. 168, a bill introduced in January 2019 and pending in the Massachusetts legislature, would regulate “bodywork,” “bodyworks,” and “bodywork therapy” activities that are currently not subject to licensing or regulation in Massachusetts. The stated purpose of the bill is to stop sexual exploitation and human trafficking by unlawful individuals and illicit facilities masquerading as legitimate practitioners and businesses. Versions of this legislation have been introduced in previous legislative sessions.

S. 168 would create a new regulatory board to license individual bodyworks and massage practitioners and set conduct standards, continuing education standards, and other requirements. The bill further specifies that bodywork and massage schools are subject to regulation and licensure by the state Office of Private Occupational School Education. The 7-member board created by the bill would be appointed by the Governor and include massage therapists (3), bodywork practitioners (2), a law enforcement representative (1), and a consumer (1).

Under the bill, “bodywork” is defined broadly as “the practice of a person who uses touch, words, or directed movement to deepen awareness of patterns of movement in the body, or the affectation of the human energy system or acupoints or Qi meridians of the human body while engaged within the scope of practice of a profession with established standards and ethics. . . .” The legislation further provides that “bodywork” includes specific practices, including Reflexology, Ayurvedic Therapies, Acupressure, and Reiki.

Yoga Alliance understands that the bill sponsors do not intend for the legislation to apply to yoga practice and/or instruction. Indeed, “yoga” was specifically excluded from the definition of “bodywork” in past versions of the legislation considered during previous legislative sessions.

In October 2019, Yoga Alliance participated in a hearing held by the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure regarding the legislation. In February 2020, the State Senate ordered a study into issues relative to the bill. Yoga Alliance is monitoring further developments.



Michigan (MI)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Michigan requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to have a temporary permit or license from the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). M.C.L.A. 395.101. However, after advocacy by Yoga Alliance, Michigan enacted a statutory exemption that covers YTT programs. M.C.L.A. 395.101a(c)(iv).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Minnesota (MN)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Minnesota requires “private career schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Office of Higher Education. M.S.A. § 136A.822. The Minnesota statute does not specifically address YTT programs. However, the Office is currently regulating some yoga institutions.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Mississippi (MS)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Mississippi requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to hold a certificate of registration from the Commission on Proprietary School and College Registration (CPSCR). Miss. Code Ann. § 75-60-9. The Mississippi statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Missouri (MO)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Missouri requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to hold a valid certificate of approval from the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE). V.A.M.S. 173.602. However, after advocacy by Yoga Alliance, Missouri enacted a statutory exemption that covers YTT programs. V.A.M.S. 173.616.(2)(7).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Montana (MT)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Montana has no state body that regulates proprietary schools, only degree granting schools.

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Nebraska (NE)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Nebraska requires “private post-secondary career schools” operating in the state to be accredited by the State Department of Education. Neb.Rev.St. § 85-1617. The Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education promulgates regulations pursuant to the Private Postsecondary Career School Act. The Nebraska statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Nevada (NV)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Nevada requires “post-secondary educational institutions” operating in the state to be licensed by the Commission on Postsecondary Education (CPE). N.R.S. 394.415. The Nevada statute does not specifically address YTT programs. A directory of regulated proprietary schools is not currently publicly available.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



New Hampshire (NH)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

New Hampshire requires “private post-secondary career schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Higher Education Commission. N.H. Rev. Stat. § 188-G:2. The New Hampshire statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



New Jersey (NJ)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

New Jersey requires “private career schools” operating in the state to be approved by the Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Commissioner of the Department of Education. N.J.A.C. 12:41–2.1. The New Jersey statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Department is currently regulating some yoga institutions.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



New Mexico (NM)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

New Mexico requires “career schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Higher Education Department. N. M. S. A. 1978, § 21-23-6.1. The New Mexico statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Department does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



New York (NY)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

New York requires “private schools” to be licensed by the State Education Department. NY EDUC § 5001. However, New York enacted a statutory exemption that covers YTT programs. NY EDUC § 5001(2)(f).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses

Special Issues

New York recognized June 21, 2019 as Yoga Day in the State of New York, in conjunction with the observance of International Yoga Day, with the purpose of bringing greater public awareness of the benefits of yoga.



North Carolina (NC)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

North Carolina requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the State Board of Community Colleges. N.C.G.S.A. § 115D-90. The North Carolina statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Board does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



North Dakota (ND)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

North Dakota requires “post-secondary career schools” operating in the state to be authorized by the State Board for Career and Technical Education. NDCC, 15-20.4-05. The North Dakota statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Board does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Ohio (OH)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Ohio requires “private career schools” operating in the state to be authorized by the State Board of Career Colleges and Schools. R.C. 3332.06. The Ohio statute does not specifically address YTT programs. However, the State Board is currently regulating some YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Ohlahoma (OK)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Oklahoma requires “private schools” that are “offering a program of education or training” operating in the state to be licensed by the Board of Private Vocational Schools. 70 Okl. St. Ann. § 21-103. The Oklahoma statute does not specifically address YTT programs. However, the Board is currently regulating some YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Oregon (OR)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Oregon requires “career schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Higher Education Coordinating Commission. O.R.S. § 345.030. The Oregon statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Commission does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Pennsylvania (PA)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Pennsylvania requires “private schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the State Board of Private Licensed Schools. 24 P.S. § 6506. The Pennsylvania statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Board does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses

Special Issues

In 2019, Pennsylvania passed HR 292, designating the month of May 2019 as “Yoga Awareness Month” and encouraging resident involvement in the practice of yoga and education on yoga’s impact on physical and mental well-being.



Rhode Island (RI)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Rhode Island requires “institutions of secondary education” operating in the state to be approved by the Council on Postsecondary Education. Gen.Laws 1956, § 16-40-1. The Rhode Island statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Board does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



South Carolina (SC)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

South Carolina requires “nonpublic education institutions” operating in the state to be licensed by the Commission on Higher Education. Code 1976 § 59-58-50. The South Carolina statute does not specifically address YTT programs. However, the Commission has stated that it “does not license programs that train teachers or participants where the programs are primarily personal development, recreational, and non-vocational such as dance, music, art, or yoga.”

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



South Dakota (SD)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

South Dakota requires “post-secondary institutions” operating in the state to be issued a certificate of authorization from the Secretary of State. SDCL § 13-48-35. The South Dakota statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Secretary does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Texas (TX)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Texas requires “career schools or colleges” operating in the state to be approved by the Workforce Commission. V.T.C.A., Education Code § 132.051. However, Texas enacted a statutory exemption that covers YTT programs. V.T.C.A., Education Code § 132.005.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Utah (UT)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Utah requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to register with the Division of Consumer Protection. U.C.A. 1953 § 13-34-107. The Utah statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Division is not currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Vermont (VT)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Vermont requires “post-secondary schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the State Board. 16 V.S.A. § 176. However, the definition for a “post-secondary school” is limited to credit or degree granting institutions, so the Agency of Education likely does not have authority over YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Virginia (VA)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Virginia requires “vocational non-college degree schools” operating in the state to be certified by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. VA Code Ann. § 23.1-217. However, Virginia enacted a statutory exemption that is intended to cover YTT programs. VA Code Ann. § 23.1-213.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



West Virginia (WV)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

West Virginia requires “private training or educational institutions” operating in the state to obtain a permit from the Council for Community and Technical College Education. W. Va. Code, § 18B-2B-9. The West Virginia statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Council does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Wisconsin (WI)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Wisconsin requires “proprietary schools” operating in the state to be approved by the Department of Safety and Professional Services. W.S.A. 440.52. The Wisconsin statute does not specifically address YTT programs. However, the Department is currently regulating many YTT programs (not including branch locations).

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses



Wyoming (WY)

Statutes and Agencies Governing Regulation

Wyoming requires “private schools” operating in the state to be licensed by the Department of Education. W.S.1977 § 21-2-401. The Wyoming statute does not specifically address YTT programs. The Department does not appear to be currently regulating any YTT programs.

Linked Resources

State Resources for Yoga Businesses

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