If a worker qualifies for vocational retraining, their vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) works with them to develop a retraining plan aimed at helping them return to work.
As the VRC, you explain the vocational process to the worker. You also help them understand their training options, including when and how they can elect the option they prefer.
Once we approve the training plan, the worker has 2 options:
Vocational Option 1: The worker follows the L&I-approved plan
- The worker completes the L&I-approved retraining plan with the help of the VRC.
- The vocational Option 1 plan can last up to 2 years with the training funds.
Vocational Option 2: The worker develops their own plan
- The worker chooses their own training plan.
- The worker has up to 5 years to spend their training funds on a school or training program that is L&I-approved.
- The worker can ask a VRC to help them with their retraining goals.
For more information, see:
When a vocational retraining plan includes formal education, the school or program must be either:
- Exempt from licensure and approved by us.
All schools or programs must apply to be an L&I training provider. See the Becoming a Training Provider tab.
Find a school or training program we’ve approved
- Search in Vendor Services Lookup: Active Providers. In the “Service” dropdown, click on “Retraining Services.” You can filter by county, city and state.
- Or, contact the Provider Hotline at PHL@lni.wa.gov, or 1-800-848-0811 to find out if a school is already an L&I provider.
What to look for in a school or training program
- Consider comparing the requirements, standards and practices of similar schools.
- Look for student support services, including job placement or assistance.
- A school's course catalog should list its programs, policies and student services.
How the Workforce Board helps students
The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Workforce Board):
- Regulates most licensed or accredited private career schools in Washington.
- Offers resources for students who are looking for a private career school or program.
- Lists its licensed Washington schools at Current Licensed Schools.
- Gives career and education planning at Career Bridge.
- Administers a fund that reimburses students affected by a school closure or unfair business practices.
- Maintains the Washington State Eligible Training Provider (ETP) list. This is their list of vocational programs eligible to receive certain state and federal funds. To stay on the list, programs must meet minimum standards for employment, earnings and completion rates.
- Investigates student complaints.
How to verify a school is licensed or accredited
- Licensed or accredited means that a school or training program is approved by an appropriate state agency or accrediting body.
- Most colleges, community colleges and universities are accredited.
- Most programs eligible for federal student aid are either licensed or accredited. All approved apprenticeship programs are eligible.
- The Washington State Department of Licensing licenses some schools.
- Apprenticeship Registration and Tracking System
- Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Weams Institution Search
- National Center for Education Statistics: College Navigator
- Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities
How L&I supports quality retraining for workers
We work with public and private schools, the Workforce Board, other state agencies, vocational providers and other stakeholders to ensure quality education for injured workers.
You may contact our Vocational Schools Liaison at 360-902-4582.
The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Workforce Board) regulates most private vocational schools in Washington State. Their oversight protects workers and ensures quality education. Learn more at Eligible Schools and Programs.
How to become an L&I training provider
- First, if your school or program is not already licensed or accredited, apply with the Workforce Board, Washington State Department of Licensing, or another state’s agency.
- Next, fill out the Provider Account Application (F248-011-000) and send it to us.
- If we approve your application, we will assign the school an L&I provider number.
- In some cases, we may ask you to send us a Supplemental Requirements (F280-045-000). We will use the information you send us to see if your school or training program qualifies for approval.