A dress code is required for most professions, especially those in the medical field.

In the field of Respiratory Therapy, how you dress can have a massive impact on patient care and satisfaction. That’s why it’s important to wear the proper uniforms while at work in the hospital setting. But you may be wondering, is there a dress code for Respiratory Therapists? That is what this article is all about!

Of course, each facility has its own set of rules when it comes to dress code requirements. With that said, for the most part, we all must meet certain professional standards for how we dress in the hospital. So let’s go ahead and cover these requirements so that you can avoid the most mistakes that Respiratory Therapists make. 

Dress Code Requirements for Respiratory Therapists:

You must wear closed-toe shoes.

This one will be, pretty much, standard anywhere you go. You will definitely want to wear closed-toe shoes at all times.

Just think about when sticking an ABG  —what if the needle were to slip out of your hand. You need shoes that will protect your feet from an accidental needle stick.

Closed-toe shoes just look more professional and that provide more protections as well. Here is our list of the Best shoes that we recommend for Respiratory Therapists.

Wear the right color scrubs.

Most hospitals requires each medical department to wear a separate color. So, in order to meet the dress code, you will need to wear whatever color they require you to wear.

This will be different at every hospital, of course, but you should always wear scrubs of the proper color.

For instance, my previous hospital required Respiratory Therapists to wear hunter green, while the nurses wore royal blue.

For the most part, I typically see Respiratory Therapists wearing shades of blue and green in most hospitals. If you need recommendations for good scrubs to wear, you can click the link to check out our list.

Wear a lab coat.

While this one isn’t required, I definitely recommend that every Respiratory Therapist wear a lab coat. For one reason, it just looks uber professional (and I’m all about looking fly ?). And two, it serves as another layer of protection from blood, chemical spills, and body fluids.

On top of that, lab coats are made from flame-resistant materials. Students may be required to embroider their school logo patch on the lab coat. Click here to see the best lab coats for RTs

Display your I.D. badge at all times.

Most hospitals require that you wear and display your identification badge at all times.

I think this is very important because it helps coworkers, patients, and even patient family members know who you are and what department you’re from. It helps build trust and put their mind at ease.

Also, you’ll probably need it to gain access to restricted areas.

If you’re in need of an badge holder will stand out and make you look amazing while on the job, check out this one that I found on Amazon.com.

Does it get any cuter than this badge holder? I think not. Grabs yours today.

As an affiliate, we receive compensation if you purchase through this link.

Keep your uniform clean.

Always show up for work with your scrubs in tip-top shape. This means no stains or spots and try to keep them wrinkle-free as well.

As a Respiratory Therapist, you should always strive to look professional at all times. You’re not only representing yourself, but your department and fellow coworkers as well.

Keep jewelry to a minimum.

Jewelry is okay — just try not to overdo it.

Limit the number of earrings that you wear to one pair. Also, for safety concerns, don’t wear earrings that are too big.

Try to limit rings to just your wedding bands or rings. Too many rings can actually interfere with your ability to perform important tasks, like sticking an ABG.

Bracelets and necklaces are acceptable, but again, just don’t overdo it.

Keep your fingernails in order.

You don’t want your fingernails to be too long because, again, this can interfere with your job duties.

I mean, you can’t be sticking ABGs with long fingernails, right?

Also, nail polish should be natural colors — nothing too wild.

Fake nails shouldn’t be worn while working in the hospital because it increases the chances of harboring infections. Also, be sure to keep your cuticles and the areas beneath your nails clear of dirt and oil. 

Keep your hair neat.

Gentlemen should keep a clean haircut and facial hair should be well-groomed.

Ladies need to have their hair pulled back from the face. This helps to prevent the contamination of sterile fields if it were to fall over your shoulder.

And if it’s not pulled back, it could fall over into the patient’s face which is definitely something that you do not want.

Do not wear fragrances while in uniform.

This means no cologne for the guys and no perfume for the ladies.

It’s always important to maintain good body odor while in uniform but never wear strong fragrances. This is because highly scented products can cause allergic reactions and breathing difficulties for some patients.

As a Respiratory Therapist, this is the last thing you want. Save your fragrances for hot dates with your significant other — not while trying to save lives. 

No chewing gum.

I know, it sounds ridiculous to say that you shouldn’t chew gum, however, this is a rule in many hospitals. With that said, it usually isn’t enforced.

But keep this in mind:

Chewing gum can lead to an embarrassing and potentially harmful event if it were to fall out of your mouth at the wrong time. 

Be sure to have the right tools for the job.

Tools are definitely a major part of your uniform, even though you may not think of them as such.

As Respiratory Therapists, it’s important to use the best tools in order to do your job as best as you can. This means that a good stethoscope, pulse oximeter, clipboard, and more are essential.

You will use these tools so often throughout your shifts that they not only become an extension of your uniform, but also an extension of you.

Be sure to check out our list of the absolute best tools for Respiratory Therapists.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. You now know the most basic dress code requirements for Respiratory Therapists that you’ll see in most hospitals. Some of the rules listed here may sound silly but they are necessary in order to keep a professional (and safe) environment in the hospital.

In order to do the job right, you need to look the part and it all starts with your uniform.

Dress codes were also put in place because they are important in helping achieve maximum patient satisfaction. Follow the rules that are listed here in this article and you have nothing to worry about when it comes to meeting the dress code requirements.

Thanks for reading and as always, breathe easy my friend.


The following are the sources that were used while doing research for this article: