Regulations and licensing requirements for hearing aid dispensers were established in 1970. Regulations applying to audiologists and speech-language pathologists were enacted in 1995. Speech-language pathology assistants were added in 2006.
Current statutory authority is found at A.R.S. §§36-1901 through 36-1940.04.
A hearing aid dispenser is a person who engages in the practice of fitting and dispensing hearing aids. An audiologist is a person who uses nonmedical and nonsurgical methods to measure, test and evaluate hearing, its disorders and related communication impairments in order to diagnose, prevent or modify disorders and conditions. A speech-language pathologist uses nonmedical and nonsurgical methods to assess, test and evaluate speech and language disorders and related communication impairments. A license to practice as a hearing aid dispenser, audiologist or a speech-language pathologist is required. A.R.S. §36-1901, Definitions.
The Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services administers and enforces provisions relating to licensing and regulating hearing aid dispensers, audiologists and speech-language pathologists. The Director issues licenses and establishes licensing requirements, including those related to examinations and continuing education. The Director is authorized to deny, suspend or revoke a license; take disciplinary action; conduct hearings and investigations; impose a civil penalty and apply for injunctive relief. The Director may appoint an Advisory Committee to collaborate with and assist the Director. The Director may also appoint an Examining Committee to provide assistance with license applicant examinations.
Laws 1970, Chapter 94 established licensing requirements and regulations for hearing aid dispensers, authorized the Commissioner of Public Health to issue and renew licenses, administer qualifying examinations to test the knowledge and proficiency of applicants for a license, collect fees, adopt administrative rules and regulations, deny or revoke a license, conduct hearings, and enforce the law by injunction or other appropriate proceeding. Violations were classified as a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum fine of $500 or imprisonment for up to 90 days, or both. The measure grandfathered persons engaged in the business of dispensing hearing aids for two years prior to the effective date of the act and required the Commissioner to issue a license to fit and dispense hearing aids. Certain conditions applied. See Section 2, Practicing dispensers on effective date.
Laws 1973, Chapter 158 established the Department of Health Services and transferred the powers and duties of the State Department of Health to the new agency. The new agency also assumed responsibility for several separate agencies. The measure included transition provisions and an effective date of no later than July 1, 1974. The purpose statement explained the new department would provide an integration of health services, reduce duplication, and provide a means to allow those with health problems to find a solution in a single department’s coordinated service. Section 1, Purpose.
Laws 1981, Chapter 64 required the Director to appoint a five-member Advisory Committee to assist the Director and perform duties as delegated. The measure also established qualifications for members of the Examining Committee, which was created to provide assistance with license applicant examinations.
Laws 1991, Chapter 122 modified membership of the Advisory Committee and the Examining Committee; authorized the Director to issue letters of concern, issue a decree of censure, prescribe probation, impose a civil penalty or restrict or limit the practice of a licensee; modified licensing requirements; allowed the Director to prescribe and collect a fee; established a maximum amount for various fees; authorized the Director to impose a civil penalty, up to a maximum amount of $500; provided for actions to enforce civil penalties; and required all monies collected as civil penalties to be deposited into the state general fund.
Laws 1995, Chapter 299 authorized the Director to regulate and license audiologists and speech-language pathologists, incorporated those provisions into existing laws pertaining to hearing aid dispensers, and made conforming changes to Title 36, Chapter 17, which included the addition of Article 4, entitled “Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology.”
Laws 1997, Chapter 25 reorganized provisions to reflect the changes made in 1995. The measure also transferred and renumbered several sections.
Laws 2003, Chapter 249 eliminated the ceiling on fees and authorized the Director to prescribe fees for various licenses. The measure also appropriated $130,000 from the state general fund for fiscal year 2003-2004.
Laws 2004, Chapter 270 established the Hearing and Speech Professionals Fund, consisting of all monies received by the Director, with the exception of civil penalties, related to regulation of hearing aid dispensers, audiologists and speech-language pathologists. Monies in the Fund were subject to legislative appropriation and administered by the Director. The measure also included an appropriation from the Fund to the Department. Note: Distribution of monies to the Fund was changed in 2013.
Laws 2006, Chapter 390 established licensing requirements to practice as a speech-language pathologist assistant. The measure outlined conditions to obtain a license and limitations on scope of practice.
Laws 2007, Chapter 127 was an omnibus measure, making a number of revisions regarding educational requirements for audiologists; examinations for licensure; and increasing continuing education requirements for hearing aid dispensers, audiologists, and speech language pathologists. The measure also modified membership and responsibilities of the Advisory Committee.
Laws 2013, Chapter 33 eliminated the Hearing and Speech Professionals Fund. Ninety percent of the monies previously deposited into the fund were directed to the Health Services Licensing Fund with the remaining ten percent deposited into the state general fund. The measure adopted biennial licensing for hearing aid dispensers, audiologists and speech pathologists and made conforming changes to renewal and continuing education provisions. The measure also modified licensing and examination requirements.
Laws 2019, Chapter 195 adds a section providing for temporary licensure of health professions. ADHS is the licensing agency for certain health professions including radiologic technologists; clinical laboratories; midwives; and hearing dispensers, audiologists and speech-language pathologists. The new section 32-3124.A states in part: “A health profession regulatory board in this state may issue a temporary license to allow an applicant who is not a licensee to practice…”. The section sets specific requirements and authorizes the adoption of rules to carry out the new provisions. The new section 32-3124.I states: “This section applies to a health profession regulatory board to the extent that this section does not conflict with the board’s current statutory authority relating to temporary licensure.” https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/54Leg/1R/laws/0195.pdf
Laws 2019, Chapter 227 classifies the unauthorized practice of a health profession as a Class 5 felony. It requires regulatory boards to investigate complaints and authorizes them to issue cease and desist orders or refer complaints to the county attorney or attorney general for prosecution.
- Arizona Revised Statutes §§36-1901 through 36-1940.04
- Session Laws
- Laws 1970, Chapter 94
- Laws 1973, Chapter 158
- Laws 1981, Chapter 64
- Laws 1991, Chapter 122
- Laws 1995, Chapter 299
- Laws 1997, Chapter 25
- Laws 2003, Chapter 249
- Laws 2004, Chapter 270
- Laws 2006, Chapter 390
- Laws 2007, Chapter 127
- Laws 2013, Chapter 33
- Laws 2019, Chapter 195 and Chapter 227
- Website for Special Licensing by Arizona Department of Health Services: https://www.azdhs.gov/licensing/special/
Related Collections at Arizona State Archives
- Record Group 050 – Arizona Department of Health Services