Merit Badge 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.
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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 requirements?
|— Advancement Policies #33088, p. 24|
- "Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time." 
Are there any rank requirements to earn a merit badge?
- "You don't need to have had rank advancement to be eligible." 
When can the Scouts start work on a merit badge?
- "Unless otherwise specified, work for a requirement can be started at any time."  See Merit Badge Introduction.
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." 
- "…you may share with your counselor the work that you have already started or accomplished." 
Does a counselor do 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." 
- "In the end, the Scout must be reviewed individually by the counselor to ensure completion of the badges requirements." - 
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..." - 
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." 
- "Partial completion of merit badges should be credited to a Scout on the Application for Merit Badge..." - 
Where can we find materials?
- "Find a local Scout Shop http://www.scoutstuff.org/BSASupply/storeloc.aspx or buy online http://www.scoutstuff.org/.
- "Optional Merit Badge Workbooks help you organize your work and include the logs, diagrams, and checklists you need.
What are the requirements to be a merit badge counselor?
- "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." - 
- "Registered:' "as a merit badge counselor" - 
- "Approved:' "for each specific merit badge." - 
- "Trained:' "in the aims of Scouting and in advancement procedures." - . 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." 
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:
- 4. Handbooks such as the Boy Scout Handbook and Scoutmaster Handbook
Are there additional rules for summer summer camps?
- No. See Advancement in Summer Camp.
Can a counselor modify a requirement for a Scout who has a disability?
- No. Merit badges are awarded only when all requirements are met as stated. See Youth Members with Special Needs
Can a counselor declare a Scout to have Special Needs?
- No. Certification must be given by the appropriate local council. See Youth Members with Special Needs
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)  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.
Must registered adult leaders register again to also be merit badge counselors?
"All Merit badge counselors must…register as a merit badge counselor…" (Code 42). (p. 13-14) 
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. 
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) 
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) 
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) 
Must a Scout complete all merit badge requirements within a year?
"Any registered Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn these awards until his 18th birthday."(p. 24). 
- Also, "There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18."(p. 34). 
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) 
Should we wait until the next court of honor to present the merit badge?
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Boy Scout Requirements p.22
- ↑ 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
General Merit Badge information
- An Introduction to Merit Badges – how to get started, who chooses the counselor, etc.
- Merit Badge Worksheets & Requirements – with the revision dates, diagrams, charts, checklists, logs, and links you need.
- Merit Badge Application – offers online resources to let you print "Blue Cards," etc.
- Merit Badge FAQ – answers dozens of questions like: Who can be a counselor? Can requirements be added or removed?
- Merit Badges Requiring Prior Approval – Certain requirements need prior approval. Most do not. Here is the list.
- Also see: List of how many boys have earned each Merit Badge – Merit Badge policies – Merit badges required for the Eagle Scout rank – Merit Badge Days
- Additionally: List of Merit Badges by Field of Study – Merit Badge Pamphlets & Libraries
- Merit Badge Counselors must complete Youth Protection Training, file an Adult Application (and Merit Badge Counselor Information Form); and be approved by the local council. (See the Guide for Merit Badge Counselors for additional details.)