Introduction to Merit Badges


If you are a new Merit badge Counselor, or are interested in becoming one, check out the Introduction to Merit Badge Counseling


On this web site are the current requirements for all of the current merit badge subjects. In addition, we have worksheets, which you can download and print, to facilitate working on each merit badge.

You can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers as you earn merit badges. There are more than 100 merit badges (Currently there are 131 available.). Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time. You don't need to have had rank advancement to be eligible.

Pick A Subject. Talk to your Scoutmaster about your interests. Read the requirements of the merit badges you think might interest you. Pick one to earn. Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors. These counselors have special knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in helping you.

Scout Buddy System. You must have another person with you at each meeting with the merit badge counselor. This person can be another Scout, your parents or guardian, a brother or sister or other relative, or a friend.

Call The Counselor. Get a signed merit badge application from your Scoutmaster. Get in touch with the merit badge counselor and tell him or her that you want to earn the merit badge. The counselor may ask to meet you to explain what is expected of you and to start helping you meet the requirements. You should also discuss work that you have already started or possibly completed.

Unless otherwise specified, work for a requirement can be started at any time. Ask your counselor to help you learn the things you need to know or do. You should read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject. Many troops and school or public libraries have them. (See the list of current merit badge pamphlets posted on this system.)

Show Your Stuff. When you are ready, call the counselor again to make an appointment to meet the requirements. When you go take along the things you have made to meet the requirements. If they are too big to move, take pictures or have an adult tell in writing what you have done. The counselor will ask you to do each requirement to make sure that you know your stuff and have done or can do the things required.

Get The Badge. When the counselor is satisfied that you have met each requirement, he or she will sign your application. Give the signed application to your Scoutmaster so that your merit badge emblem can be secured for you.

Requirements. 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. Just telling about it isn't enough. The same thing holds true for such words as "make," "list," "in the field," and "collect," "identify," and "label."

The requirements listed in the current edition of Boy Scout Requirements (BSA Publication 33216)  are the official requirements of the Boy Scouts of America. However, the requirements on that publication might not match those in the Boy Scout Handbook and the merit badge pamphlets, because that publication is updated only on an annual basis.

If a Scout has already started working on a merit badge when a new edition of the pamphlet is introduced, he should continue to use the same merit badge pamphlet and fulfill the requirements therein to earn the badge. He need not start all over again with the new pamphlet and possibly revised requirements.

The requirements posted on this system might not match those in Boy Scout Requirements because a new edition of the pamphlet may have been issued since the most recent release of Boy Scout Requirements. Where they differ, and the Scout has already started work on the badge, see the instructions above. If the Scout is starting the badge, he may use either set of requirements rather than only those in Boy Scout Requirements.


Note: There is NO DEADLINE for earning Merit Badges, except the Scout's 18th Birthday. Once a Scout has started working on a Merit Badge (i.e. obtained a signed "Blue Card" Application for Merit Badge from his Scoutmaster, had an initial discussion with a merit badge Counselor, and started working on the requirements), he may continue using those requirements until he completes the badge or turns 18.

THERE IS NO ONE YEAR LIMIT ON SO-CALLED "PARTIALS".

In contrast to the rule for rank advancements, which imposes a specific deadline for using the old requirements, The rule for Merit Badges is basically as follows:

If the requirements change while a Scout is working on the badge, he should continue to use the same merit badge pamphlet and fulfill the requirements therein to earn the badge. He need not start all over again with the new pamphlet and possibly revised requirements.  If he wishes, he may also decide to use the new requirements. It is HIS choice, and his alone.

If a Merit Badge is discontinued, Scouts working on the badge when it is removed from the Boy Scout Requirements booklet may continue to work toward completing the badge, and get credit for earning the badge, until they turn 18. However, it may not be possible to obtain an actual merit badge patch, once the local council's supply is exhausted.

If a Merit Badge that a Scout has already earned is discontinued and replaced with one or more other Merit Badges covering the same or similar topics (such as Rifle and Shotgun Shooting which was replaced by Rifle Shooting and Shotgun Shooting, or Skiing which was replaced by Snow Sports), the Scout may also earn the new badge or badges. If the badge is simply renamed (such as Auto Mechanics which recently became Automotive Maintenance), Scouts may NOT earn the badge again. If the badge number in BSA's numbering system is the same before and after the change, it is a renaming. If a new number is assigned, it is a replacement.


Page updated on: March 07, 2014



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