Merit Badge FAQ

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* ''"There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18."''(p. 34). <ref name="#33088"/>
* ''"There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18."''(p. 34). <ref name="#33088"/>
====Where can we find materials?====
====Where can we find merit badge books and other materials?====
* ''"Find a local Scout Shop []''' '''or buy online []'''.'''
* ''"Find a local Scout Shop []''' '''or buy online []'''.'''
* ''"Optional '' '''[[Merit Badge Workbooks]]''' help you organize your work and include the logs, diagrams, and checklists you need.
* ''"Optional '' '''[[Merit Badge Workbooks]]''' help you organize your work and include the logs, diagrams, and checklists you need.

Revision as of 18:50, April 3, 2009

Merit Badge resources include the Guide for Merit Badge Counselors, Introduction, & FAQ.
The Merit Badge Worksheets & Requirements include the maps, checklists and other materials you need.
Other resources include the online Merit Badge Application and Most Popular Merit Badges
Certain requirements need prior approval but most do not.

This topic is under discussion at MeritBadge.Net. Click here to view or join the discussion.

All Scouts, leaders, and counselors are to follow the principles of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law at all times. Here are some of the key Boy Scout Requirements (BSR) and Advancement Policies (#33088) regarding merit badges. Please also see the See Merit Badge Introduction and Guide for Merit Badge Counselors.


Who can earn a merit badge? Are there any age or rank requirements?

All Scouts BSA awards, merit badges, badges of rank, and Eagle Palms are only for registered Scouts, including Lone Scouts, and and also for qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts who are not yet 18 years old. Venturers and Sea Scouts qualify by achieving First Class rank as a Scout or Lone Scout, or Varsity Scout (prior to January 1, 2018). The only exceptions for those older than age 18 are related to Scouts registered beyond the age of eligibility ("Registering Qualified Members Beyond Age of Eligibility," and those who have been granted time extensions to complete the Eagle Scout rank ("Time Extensions,"
Guide To Advancement § Scouting Ranks and Advancement Age Requirements (2019 Printing).

  • "Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time." [1]
  • "You don't need to have had rank advancement to be eligible." [1]

When can a Scout start work on a merit badge?

Do you need a Merit Badge book? How should the Scout prepare for a merit badge?

  • "You should read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject." [1]
  • "…you may share with your counselor the work that you have already started or accomplished." [1]

Does a counselor "cover" the requirements or does each Scout do each requirement himself?

  • "You are expected to meet the requirements as they are stated -- no more and no less. You are expected to do exactly what is stated in the requirements. If it says "show or demonstrate," that is what you must do." [1]
  • "In the end, the Scout must be reviewed individually by the counselor to ensure completion of the badges requirements." - [2]

Can a merit badge counselor add or remove requirements?

  • "Each counselor must maintain the exact standards as outlined in the merit badge requirements -- nothing deleted, nothing added..." - [2]

"No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from an advancement requirement." (p. 3, 23, 26, 34, etc.) See Boy Scout Advancement [2]

Can you modify requirements for a Scout with Special Needs? Who certifies Special Needs?

How does a Scout get credit for his work?

  • "When the counselor is satisfied that you have met each requirement, he or she will sign your application." [1]
  • "Partial completion of merit badges should be credited to a Scout on the Application for Merit Badge..." - [2]

Must a Scout complete the merit badge within a certain time?

  • "There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18."(p. 34). [2]

Where can we find merit badge books and other materials?

What are the requirements to be a merit badge counselor? Do you have to register again? Who approves you?

  • "Qualified:' "They must be men and women of good character, age 18 or older, and recognized as having the skills and education in the subjects for which they are to serve as merit badge counselors, as well as the ability to work with Scout-age boys." - [2]
  • "Registered:' "All Merit badge counselors must…register as a merit badge counselor…" (Code 42). (p. 13-14) [2]
  • "Approved:' ...they must be approved...for each specific merit badge." - [2]
  • "Trained:' "in the aims of Scouting and in advancement procedures." - [2]. See Merit Badge Counselor Orientation.
"All volunteers are expected to complete Youth Protection training...within 90 days..." - Adult Leader Application 28-501

What about the Buddy System?

  • "You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor." [1]

What requirements and rules do we follow?

  • For Advancement under the BSA National Council, the precedence of documentation is:
1. Boy Scout Requirements - make sure you have the current year
2. Advancement Policies #33088 - policies for Boards of Review, Eagle Projects, Scoutmaster Conferences, etc.
3. Policy support documents such as the:
Eagle Scout Application #58-728
Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Workbook #18-927
Guide for Merit Badge Counselors, etc.
4. Handbooks such as the Boy Scout Handbook and Scoutmaster Handbook

Are there additional rules for summer summer camps?

Yes. See Advancement in Summer Camp.

Can a merit badge be taken away?

  • A merit badge cannot be taken away once it has been earned, "provided the counselor is a registered counselor for the merit badge." (p. 26) [2] Also a merit badge application can’t list the Counselor as “Pixley Fire Dept.” A fire department can’t be registered to counsel a merit badge.

Who selects a counselor?

"Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors." (33216 p. 22) See Merit Badge Introduction. [1]

Is there a limit to how many merit badges can one person can counsel?

"There is no restriction or limit on the number of merit badges an individual may counsel but they must be approved for each specific merit badge." (p. 13) [2]

Can a merit badge counselor counsel their own son or relative?

"An approved counselor can counsel any youth member, including his or her own son, ward, or relative." (p. 13) [2]

Can a someone under 18 teach merit badges?

"Camp staff members who are qualified in the subject and are younger than age 18 may assist the merit badge counselor with instruction...However regardless of the class format, each Scout must be tested individually by the counselor to ensure completion of the badge's requirements." (p. 34) [2]

Do we have to turn in an Advancement Report to buy merit badges?

"Badges of rank, merit badges, and Eagle Palms are restricted items. These items may not be sold or distributed unless the Advancement Report, has been properly filled out and has been submitted to the local council office." (p. 34) [2]

Should we wait until the next court of honor to present the merit badge?

"Presentation of merit badges and rank badges should not wait until the next court of honor; awards and badges should be presented at the next meeting after they have been earned." (p. 25) [2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Boy Scout Requirements p.22
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 Advancement Policies #33088 p.26

See Also

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

Advancement Policies
Advancement (Report) Scouts BSA (Resources) Service Projects
Rules and Regulations First Class-First Year Eagle Scout Project
 What is Scout Spirit?  Scoutmaster Conferences Lifesaving awards
When is a Scout Active? Time Extensions Summer Camp
When is a Scout in Uniform? Boards of Review - Appeals Merit Badges, Events & FAQ
Scouts with Special Needs Advancement Campout  Cub Scouts  (Resources)
Religious Principle Courts of Honor
Books & References  12 Steps From Life to Eagle  Venturing & Sea Scouts  
Click here for Many more Advancement Policies
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