Scouts can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers while earning any of the 100+ merit badges offered through Boy Scouts of America. Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time; scouts do not need to have had rank advancement to be eligible. There are 21 badges required for a Scout to earn his Eagle rank, 14 of which are pre-determined by BSA.
A current and complete list of merit badges is found on the BSA website’s Introduction To Merit Badges
Earning Merit Badges
The following steps are what a Scout must do to earn a merit badge.
- Choose a merit badge to earn. Read the requirements of a merit badge you think might interest you. You can find the requirements at scouting.org, purchase a merit badge pamphlet at the Scout Shop, or borrow a pamphlet from your Troop Librarian.
- Find a Buddy if available. You will need to have another person at each meeting with a merit badge counselor. If you have another Scout who can attend these meetings with you, you can fulfill this request and help another Scout in their advancement. Otherwise a parent, guardian, or other registered adult will be able to help you.
- Talk to your unit leader about your interest. The unit leader will provide you with an Application for Merit Badge (Blue Card) and will give you names of potential counselors to help you earn this merit badge. Do not start working on any requirements until after you have spoken with your unit leader.
- Contact the merit badge counselor. With your buddy and/or with a trusted adult, reach out to the counselor and explain that you want to earn the badge. The counselor may ask to meet with you to explain what is expected and to start helping you meet the requirements.
- Demonstrate your knowledge. When you are ready, contact your counselor to go over requirements you have met. The counselor may test or ask you to demonstrate your knowledge of a requirement.
- Receive the badge. When the counselor is satisfied you have met each requirement, they will sign your blue card. Give the signed blue card to your unit leader so they can complete the application. Hand the completed Blue Card to the Advancement Coordinator and they will secure the badge for you.