American Business

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Resources include the American Business merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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American Business merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1967
Replaced: Business
BSA Advancement ID: 015
Requirements revision: 2019
Latest pamphlet revision: 2013


Earning the American Business merit badge can help Scouts learn practical business matters that will be useful throughout life. Learning how businesses function will help you understand society and uncover a number of career options.

American Business merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    a. Explain four features of the free enterprise system in the United States. Describe the difference between freedom and license. Tell how the Scout Oath and Scout Law apply to business and free enterprise.
    b. Describe the Industrial Revolution and tell about the major developments that marked the start of the modern industrial era in the United States. Discuss three people who had a great influence on business or industry in the United States and describe what each did.
    c. Identify and describe to your counselor the five primary areas of business.
    d. Explain the history of labor unions in the United States and the importance of labor unions and employers working together. Identify two major labor unions currently in existence.
    e. Discuss with your counselor how business impacts the local, national, and global economy.
  2. Do the following:
    a. Explain the three basic types of financial statements (income statement, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows). Discuss with your counselor how each statement can help business leaders make better decisions.
    b. Explain how changes in interest rates, taxes, and government spending affect the flow of money into or out of business and industry.
    c. Explain how a sole proprietorship or partnership gets its capital. Discuss and explain four ways a corporation obtains capital.
    d. Name five kinds of insurance useful to business. Describe their purposes.
  3. Do the following:
    a. Explain the place of profit in business.
    b. Describe to your counselor green marketing and sustainable business practices.
    c. Explain how ethics plays a role in business decision making.
    d. Discuss the differences between operating a brick-and-mortar business versus an online business.
  4. Describe the role of the U.S. Department of Labor. Discuss two of the following topics with your counselor:
    a. Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
    b. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
    c. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
    d. Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA)
  5. Choose a business and research how it applies each of the primary areas of business (accounting, finance, economics, marketing, and management). Share what you have learned with your counselor.
  6. Do ONE of the following:
    a. Choose one of the primary areas of business and identify three career opportunities. Select one and research the education, training, and experience required for this career. Discuss this with your counselor and explain why this interests you.
    b. Select a business leader and interview this individual to learn more about his or her company and career path. Discuss the role ethics plays in making business decisions. Share what you have learned with your counselor.

The official source for the information shown in this article or section is:
Scouts BSA Requirements, 2019 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #648914)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
by an administrator.
Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for American Business is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the American Business requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

The American Business merit badge is an option for the Designed to Crunch and Next Big Thing STEM Nova Awards.
  1. American Business is one of the least earned merit badges, with only 613 earned in 2017 (2nd rarest that year among active merit badges)![1]
  2. The BSA Business Troop Program Feature offers meeting and activity plans to include American Business as one of your monthly themes.

Requirement resources

Related awards

Profession-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information


  1. Wendell, Bryan (February 14, 2018). Presenting the 2017 Merit Badge Rankings: Which were the most and least popular? Bryan on Scouting. Scouting Magazine. Retrieved February 9, 2019.

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