Reserved Titles for Health Professions
Section12 of the Heath Professions Act sets out that the Ministry of Health may prescribe by regulation the reserved titles to be used exclusively by regulated health professionals. Therefore, it is the Ministry, not the College, that restricts the use of professional titles such as “doctor” in BC. See the Advanced and Doctorate Degrees section below for further information in this regard.
CSHBC encourages registrants and members of the public to review the Ministry of Health’s webpage on reserved titles for more information on the subject.
Reserved Titles for Speech and Hearing Health Professions
The following are reserved titles protected under section 3 of the Speech and Hearing Health Professionals Regulation:
- “hearing instrument practitioner”
- “speech-language pathologist”
- “speech therapist”
Only CSHBC registrants can legally use these titles or the abbreviations “RAUD”, “RHIP”, and “RSLP” in BC. In addition, only CSHBC registrants can use these titles as part of any term or description used to describe themselves.
Only CSHBC registrants have met the College’s registration requirements, including post-secondary education and clinical practicums, and have passed national or provincial registration examinations. CSHBC registrants are regulated under the Health Professions Act, the Speech and Hearing Health Professionals Regulation, and CSHBC Bylaws. Registrants must demonstrate continued practice competency and currency and meet Standards of Practice and standards of professional ethics to ensure that they practise safely, effectively, and ethically.
The terms “communication health assistant” and “speech language assistant” are examples of titles not reserved by law in BC. Any individual, typically practising under the supervision of a CSHBC registrant, may use these terms. These unregulated individuals do not necessarily carry liability insurance and there is no recourse to the College should they practise unsafely, ineffectively, or unethically. Refer to the following for more information about titles and credentials:
- Registration Classifications table (PDF)
- Reserved Titles & Credentials (PDF)
- Communication Health Assistants (Titles & Credentials) (PDF)
Advanced and Doctorate Degrees
As determined by the Ministry of Health, the reserved title “doctor” may only be used by the following regulated professions:
- Naturopathic medicine
- Podiatric medicine
- Traditional Chinese medicine
Accordingly, as set out in the Reserved Titles & Credentials policy, CSHBC registrants with doctoral degrees must adhere to strict rules regarding the use of the title “doctor” and the prefix “Dr”.
In written communication, the prefix ‘Dr.’ may only be used preceding the registrant’s name where the appropriate doctoral degree is also shown. For example: Dr. Bloggs, PhD, RHIP, or Dr. Smith, Aud D.
In verbal introductions and communications, which occur in an academic, educational, or professional setting, registrants may only use the prefix “Dr” in those instances where there is not a likelihood of misunderstanding the registrant’s profession. In all other verbal communication, especially in a clinical setting with clients and families, registrants must state their degree in conjunction with the prefix “Dr”. For example: “I am Jane Jones, Doctor of Audiology.”
Use of the title “Doctor”, or prefix “Dr.” without these qualifying terms may constitute unlawful use of a reserved title, subject to investigation by CSHBC and/or another regulatory body such as the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC.
Reporting unlawful reserved title use and/or unlawful practice
Anyone who is aware of a non-registrant unlawfully using a reserved title and/or conducting unlawful practice may inform the College by submitting a complaint to CSHBC. For information, see Making a Complaint About Unlawful Practice & Unlawful Use of a Reserved Title.