About DCA

More About the Department of Consumer Affairs

DCA At A Glance   The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) is here to protect and serve California consumers while ensuring a competent and fair marketplace. DCA helps consumers learn how to protect themselves from unscrupulous and unqualified individuals. The Department also protects professionals from unfair competition by unlicensed practitioners.

DCA Today   To protect and serve consumers, the Department issues licenses in more than 250 business and professional categories, including doctors, dentists, contractors, cosmetologists and automotive repair facilities. The Department of Consumer Affairs includes 40 regulatory entities (25 boards, nine bureaus, three committees, two programs, and one commission). These entities establish minimum qualifications for licensure. They also license, register, or certify practitioners, investigate complaints and discipline violators. The committees, commission and boards are semiautonomous bodies whose members are appointed by the Governor and the Legislature. DCA's operations are funded mainly by license fees.

DCA Past   One of the California Legislature's earliest efforts to protect the public was through the passage of the Medical Practice Act in 1876. The Act was designed to regulate the state's medical industry, which up to that time had operated virtually unchecked. Over the next thirty years, the state regulated more professions. By the late 1920s, 10 state boards were in existence under the Department of Vocational and Professional Standards. The Department licensed or certified accountants, architects, barbers, cosmetologists, dentists, embalmers, optometrists, pharmacists, physicians and veterinarians. The Consumer Affairs Act of 1970 gave the Department its current name.

DCA Tomorrow   The Department of Consumer Affairs is dedicated to enhancing individual consumer access to services and resources. The Department will expand its role as a primary resource on consumer issues. To help fulfill its mission of promoting and protecting the interests of consumers, DCA will continue to build and maintain effective relationships with:

  • consumer and public interest groups
  • the business and professional community
  • law enforcement agencies
  • other government agencies

To keep pace with advances in technology and the marketplace, the Department will continue to develop responsive, effective and innovative services. The California Legislature conducts an ongoing evaluation and review of the Department's regulatory entities to determine which of them should be retained, which ones should be "sunset" out of existence, and which ones should become part of the Department.

California Department of Consumer Affairs Mission, Vision and Values

Our Mission:
To protect consumers through effective enforcement activities and oversight of California's licensed professionals.

Our Vision:
To be the premier consumer protection Agency.

Our Values:

  • Accountability - We operate transparently and encourage public participation in our decision-making when appropriate.
  • Consumer Protection - We make effective and informed decisions to protect the health and safety of Californians.
  • Customer Service - We acknowledge our stakeholders as customers, listen to them, and take their needs into account.
  • Innovation - We value creative problem-solving, responsible risk-taking, and enthusiastic pursuit of new ideas.
  • Integrity - We are committed to honesty, ethical conduct, and responsibility.
  • Diversity - We foster a welcoming environment of openness and appreciation for all.
  • Employees - We recognize and value employee contributions and talent, and foster leadership development and professional growth of our workforce.
  • Leadership - We set the standard for leadership in government by holding ourselves accountable to our employees and stakeholders

Major DCA Functions Licensing, Education, Enforcement, Consumer Hotline, Mediation, Smog Check, Where can I get more information?