Merit badges are the second main area of the Boy Scout advancement program. Unlike ranks, there is a degree of choice in the merit badge program. A sub-group of merit badges are known as Eagle required merit badges. To earn Eagle Scout, most of these badges must be earned although some are "either/or" badges. The remainder of the badges help with earning ranks as well as Eagle Palms after the Eagle Scout award has been earned.
Boy Scouts may work on merit badges from they time they join a Scout troop until they turn 18 years old. There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18.
For advice on how to begin a merit badge, see An Introduction to Merit Badges.
List of current Merit Badges
The following are all the Merit Badges currently offered by the Boy Scouts of America:
Note: Merit badges shown in bold italics are Eagle-required merit badges.