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 100 business and 200 professional categories, including doctors, dentists, contractors, cosmetologists and automotive repair facilities. The Department of Consumer Affairs includes 41 regulatory entities (25 boards, nine bureaus, four committees, two programs, and one commission). These entities establish minimum qualifications and levels of competency 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 provides them administrative support. DCA's operations are funded exclusively 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 "sunsetted" 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 and serve the interests of California consumers.

Our Vision:
California consumers make informed choices and have access to competent and ethical service providers.

Our Values:
As a government agency dedicated to serving the interests of California consumers, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) values:

  • Accountability - We are accountable to the people of California and each other as stakeholders. We operate transparently and encourage public participation in our decision-making whenever possible.
  • Efficiency - We diligently identify the best ways to deliver high-quality services with the most efficient use of our resources.
  • Effectiveness - We make informed decisions that make a difference and have a positive, measurable impact.
  • Integrity - We are honest, fair, and respectful in our treatment of everyone.
  • Customer Service - We acknowledge all stakeholders as our customers, listen to them, and take their needs into account.
  • Employees - We are an employer of choice and strategically recruit, train, and retain employees. We value and recognize employee contributions and talent.
  • Unity - We draw strength from our organizational diversity as well as California's ever-changing cultural and economic diversity.

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