You Have the Right!
...to Competent Professional Services
Nearly 800,000 individuals practice in 48 professions authorized under Education Law.
The Office of the Professions, which includes the State Boards for the Professions, ensures the public health and safety by setting and upholding high standards of professional practice. We can help you "shop smart" for professional services.
Verifying a Professional License and Learning More About the Professions
Contact us to confirm whether an individual is licensed by the Board of Regents or to ask if the Regents have taken disciplinary action against a licensed professional. Our Web page allows you to verify licenses and search for final Regents disciplinary actions taken against licensees since 1994.
You may also view consumer brochures on any of the professions licensed by the Board of Regents.
Recognizing Professional Misconduct
Each profession operates by a set of laws, rules, and regulations. While New York's licensing process helps to ensure that only qualified individuals are authorized to serve the people of New York State, sometimes licensed professionals do not meet the standards of conduct required of them. Professional misconduct includes the following:
- Engaging in acts of incompetence or negligence
- Failing to return or provide copies of records on request
- Practicing under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
- Being sexually or physically abusive
- Practicing beyond the scope of the profession
- Abandoning or neglecting a patient in need of immediate care
- Performing unnecessary work or unauthorized services
- Charging for work not done
- Stealing from clients or committing insurance fraud
In general, we do not handle complaints about fees unless fraud is involved. Please note also that we do not address office practice issues (such as long waiting times).
Filing a Complaint
If you believe a professional has committed misconduct....
you know of someone who is practicing a profession without a license....
Note: complaints about the conduct of New York State licensed physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants should be directed to the New York State Department of Health at 1-800-663-6114. Unlicensed practice of these and the other 45 professions licensed by the Board of Regents should always be reported to the Office of the Professions, as indicated.
Investigators in the appropriate regional office look into each complaint. They may consult with members of the State board for the profession during the investigation.
If the Office finds substantial evidence of professional misconduct, it will seek an appropriate disciplinary action. Outcomes range from a warning letter for the least serious misconduct to license revocation for the most serious. The Board of Regents considers and decides the most serious cases. Fines of up to $10,000 for each instance of misconduct can also be imposed.
In addition, the Office may take administrative or civil action against people who practice without a license (illegal practice). The Office may also refer these cases after investigation to the State Attorney General for criminal prosecution.
Those who file a complaint are informed of the status and outcome of their cases. For much more information about the professional discipline process, including frequently asked questions and answers, visit our "Professional Misconduct and Discipline" page.
Help For Professionals with Addictive Illness
The Office of the Professions' Professional Assistance Program allows licensees who abuse alcohol or other drugs to surrender their licenses voluntarily and confidentially while progressing through an acceptable course of treatment. This program is available to licensees who have not harmed clients. Successful completion of the program may act as an alternative to disciplinary action.
For more information, call 518-474-3817 (extension 480), fax 518-485-9378, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contacts for Other Professions and Occupations
- Direct complaints about physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants to the New York State Department of Health at 1-800-663-6114. The Office of the Professions licenses professionals and investigates charges of illegal practice in these professions.
- The Appellate Divisions of the State Supreme Court regulate and discipline attorneys in New York State. Direct complaints about attorneys to the Appellate Division's Attorney Grievance and Disciplinary Committee in the county where the lawyer's office is located.
- Direct complaints about public school teachers to the Superintendent or Chief Administrative Officer of your school district.
- The Department of State oversees some occupations, including hairdressers, hearing aid dealers, real estate agents, and security guards. Call 518-474-4429 for more information.