Merit Badge History


Since 1910, BSA has offered hundreds of merit badges. The following is a list of all of them, together with the years when they were available. Note that in many cases, the same badge was offered under slightly different names and/or with slightly different requirements. Each variation is listed below, through the most recent. For example "Handicap Awareness", "Handicapped Awareness", and the current "Disability Awareness" have all been used as the name for essentially the same badge.

Since around 1986, BSA has assigned a number to each badge for internal recordkeeping purposes.  Those numbers are shown below, as well.
Badge names in red italic have been discontinued or the name has changed. The 133 badge names shown in bold are currently in use and available for Scouts to earn.

Note that this statement, "Merit badges are never totally retired - If you can find a counselor, find a book that has the requirements, and find the badge, you can earn some that are not officially listed right now." is simply an untrue urban legend. The Guide to Advancement specifically covers this and states the following:

7.0.4.4 - Discontinued Merit Badges
Scouts are not allowed to begin work on discontinued merit badges. If actual and purposeful effort that is more than simply incidental to participation in Scouting activities has already begun by the time discontinuation becomes effective, and work actively continues, then the badge may be completed and can count toward rank advancement. However, presentation of the badge itself will be subject to availability. It is a misconception that discontinued merit badges may be earned as long as the patch and requirements can be found.

Merit Badge Name BSA ID No. First Offered Last Offered Notes
Aerodynamics   1942 1952 Formerly part of Aviation
Aeronautics   1942 1952 Formerly part of Aviation
Agribusiness 120 1987 1995 Formerly Farm & Ranch Management
Agriculture   1911 1975  
Airplane Design   1942 1952 Formerly part of Aviation
Airplane Structure   1942 1952 Formerly part of Aviation
Ambulance   1910 1911 Became First Aid
American Business 15 1967 current Formerly Business
American Cultures 17 1979 current  
American Heritage 16 1975 current  
American Labor 121 1987 current  
Angling   1911 1951 Became Fishing
Animal Industry   1928 1975 Became Animal Science
Animal Science 18 1975 current Formerly Animal Industry
Animation 158 2014   Release  is Pending
Archaeology 132 1997 current  
Archery 19 1911 current  
Architecture 20 1911 current  
Art 21 1911 current  
Astronomy 22 1911 current  
Athletics 23 1911 current  
Atomic Energy 24 1963 2004 Became Nuclear Science
Auto Mechanics 127 1992 2008 Became Automotive Maintenance
Automobiling   1911 1963  
Automotive Maintenance 127 2008 current Formerly Auto Mechanics
Automotive Safety   1962 1974 Became Traffic Safety
Aviation   1911 1942 Became Aerodynamics, Aeronautics,
 Airplane Design, and Airplane Structure
Aviation 25 1952 current  
Backpacking 26 1982 current  
Basketry 27 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Bee Keeping   1915 1955 Formerly Beefarming
Became Beekeeping
Beef Production   1928 1975  
Beefarming   1911 1914 Became Bee Keeping
Beekeeping 28 1956 1995 Formerly Bee Keeping
Bird Study 29 1914 current Formerly Ornithology
Blacksmithing   1911 1952  
Bookbinding 30 1927 1987 Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Became part of Graphic Arts
Botany 31 1921 1995  
Bugling 32 1911 current  
Business   1911 1966 Formerly Clerk
Became American Business
Camping 1 1911 current  
Canoeing 33 1927 current  
Carpentry   1911 1952  
Cement Work   1927 1952 Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Chemistry 34 1911 current  
Chess 147 2011 current  
Cinematography 126 1990 2013 Became Moviemaking
Citizenship (Civics)   1947 1951 Formerly Civics
Became Citizenship in the Community
Citizenship in the Home and
Citizenship in the Nation
Citizenship in the Community 2 1952 current Formerly part of Citizenship (Civics)
Citizenship in the Home   1952 1972 Formerly part of Citizenship (Civics)
Citizenship in the Nation 3 1951 current Formerly part of Citizenship (Civics)
Citizenship in the World 4 1972 current Formerly World Brotherhood
Citrus Fruit Culture   1931 1952  
Civics   1911 1946 Became Citizenship (Civics)
Clerk   1910 1911 Became Business
Climbing 133 1997 current  
Coin Collecting 35 1938 current  
Collections 128 1991 current  
Communication 5 2010 current Formerly Communications
Communications 5 1965 2009 Became Communication
Composite Materials 137 2006 current  
Computers 36 1967 2014 To be Replaced with Digital Technology
Conservation   1911 1952  
Conservation of Natural Resources   1966 1972 Became Environmental Science
Consumer Buying 37 1975 1995  
Cooking 38 1911 current  
Corn Farming   1928 1975  
Cotton Farming   1931 1975  
Craftsmanship   1911 1926 Became Basketry, Bookbinding, Cement Work, Leathercraft,
Metalwork, Pottery, Wood Carving, and Woodwork,
Crime Prevention 131 1996 current  
Cycling 39 1911 current Formerly Cyclist
Cyclist   1910 1911 Became Cycling
Dairying   1911 1975  
Dentistry 40 1975 current  
Digital Technology 154 2014 current Replaces Computers
Disabilities Awareness 60 1993 current Formerly Handicap Awareness
Dog Care 41 1938 current  
Drafting 42 1965 current Formerly Mechanical Drawing
Dramatics   1932 1966 Became Theater
Electrician   1910 1911 Became Electricity
Electricity 43 1911 current Formerly Electrician
Electronics 44 1963 current  
Emergency Preparedness 6 1972 current  
Energy 45 1976 current  
Engineering 46 1967 current  
Entrepreneurship 134 1997 current  
Environmental Science 7 1972 current Formerly Conservation of Natural Resources
Family Life 129 1991 current  
Farm & Ranch Management 47 1980 1987 Formerly Farm Records
Became Agribusiness
Farm Arrangement   1960 1973 Formerly Farm Home & Its Planning
and Farm Layout & Building Arrangements
Became Farm Arrangements
Farm Arrangements   1974 1979 Formerly Farm Arrangement
Farm Home & Its Planning   1928 1959 Became part of Farm Arrangement
Farm Layout & Building Arrangements   1928 1959 Became part of Farm Arrangement
Farm Mechanics 48 1928 current  
Farm Records   1959 1980 Formerly Farm Records & Bookkeeping
Became Farm & Ranch Management
Farm Records & Bookkeeping   1928 1958 Became Farm Records
Fingerprinting 49 1938 current  
Fire Safety 50 1995 current Formerly Firemanship
Firemanship 50 1911 1995 Became Fire Safety
First Aid 8 1911 current Formerly Ambulance
First Aid To Animals   1911 1972 Became Veterinary Science
Fish & Wildlife Management 51 1972 current Formerly Wildlife Management
Fishing 52 1952 current Formerly Angling
Fly Fishing 136 2002 current  
Food Systems 53 1978 1987  
Forage Crops   1959 1975 Formerly Grasses, Legumes, & Forage Crops
Forestry 54 1911 current  
Foundry Practice   1923 1952  
Fruit & Nut Growing   1953 1975  
Fruit Culture   1928 1954  
Gardener   1910 1911 Became Gardening
Game Design 151 2013 current  
Gardening 55 1911 current Formerly Gardener
Genealogy 56 1972 current  
General Science 57 1972 1995  
Geocaching 145 2010 current  
Geology 58 1953 current Formerly Rocks & Minerals
Golf 59 1976 current  
Graphic Arts 122 1987 current Formerly Printing/Communications
and Bookbinding
Grasses, Legumes, & Forage Crops   1938 1958 Became Forage Crops
Handicap Awareness 60 1985 1993 Formerly Handicapped Awareness
Became Disabilities Awareness
Handicapped Awareness   1980 1985 Became Handicap Awareness
Handicraft   1911 1942 Became Home Repairs
Hiking 61 1921 current  
Historic Carpentry 139 2010 2010 Historic Program for 2010 only
Historic Pathfinding 140 2010 2010 Historic Program for 2010 only
Historic Signaling 141 2010 2010 Historic Program for 2010 only
Historic Tracking 142 2010 2010 Historic Program for 2010 only
(Original name was Stalking)
Hog & Pork Production   1928 1958 Became Hog Production
Hog Production   1959 1975 Formerly Hog & Pork Production
Home Repairs 62 1943 current Formerly Handicraft
Horseman   1910 1911 Became Horsemanship
Horsemanship 63 1911 current Formerly Horseman
Indian Lore 64 1931 current  
Insect Life 65 1923 1987 Became Insect Study
Insect Study 65 1987 current Formerly Insect Life
Interpreting   1911 1952  
Invention   1911 1917  
Inventing 144 2010 current  
Journalism 66 1927 current  
Kayaking 149 2012 current  
Landscape Architecture 67 1967 current Formerly Landscaping
Landscape Gardening   1930 1958 Became Landscaping
Landscaping   1959 1966 Formerly Landscape Gardening
Became Landscape Architecture
Law 68 1974 current  
Leather Work   1928 1951 Became Leatherwork
Leathercraft   1927 1952 Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Leatherwork 69 1951 current Formerly Leather Work
Leatherworking   1911 1927 Became Leathercraft
Life Saving   1911 1959 Became Lifesaving
Lifesaving 9 1959 current Formerly Life Saving
Machinery 70 1911 1995  
Mammal Study 71 1987 current Formerly Mammals
Mammals 71 1972 1987 Became Mammal Study
Marksman   1910 1911 Became Marksmanship
Marksmanship   1911 1966 Formerly Marksman
Became Rifle & Shotgun Shooting
Masonry 72 1911 1995  
Master-at-Arms   1910 1911  
Mechanical Drawing   1933 1964 Became Drafting
Medicine 130 1991 current  
Metallurgy   1965 1971 Became Metals Engineering
Metals Engineering 73 1972 1995 Formerly Metallurgy
Metalwork 74 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Mining   1911 1937 Became Rocks & Minerals
Mining in Society 155 2014 current  
Model Design & Building 75 1963 current  
Motorboating 76 1961 current  
Moviemaking 126 2013 current Formerly Cinematography
Music 77 1911 current Formerly Musician
Musician   1910 1911 Became Music
Nature 78 1952 current  
Nuclear Science 24 2005 current Formerly Atomic Energy
Nut Culture   1928 1954  
Oceanography 79 1964 current  
Orienteering 80 1973 current  
Ornithology   1911 1913 Became Bird Study
Painting 81 1911 current  
Pathfinding   1911 1952  
Personal Finances   1962 1971 Became Personal Management
Personal Fitness 10 1952 current Formerly Personal Health
and Physical Development
Personal Health   1911 1952 Became part of Personal Fitness
Personal Management 11 1972 current Formerly Personal Finances
Pets 82 1958 current  
Photography 83 1911 current  
Physical Development   1914 1952 Became part of Personal Fitness
Pigeon Raising   1933 1980  
Pioneer   1910 1911 Became Pioneering
Pioneering 84 1911 current Formerly Pioneer
Plant Science 85 1974 current  
Plumbing 86 1911 current  
Pottery 87 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Poultry Farming   1911 1913 Became Poultry Keeping
Poultry Keeping   1914 1975 Formerly Poultry Farming
Printing   1911 1981 Became Printing/Communications
Printing/Communications 88 1982 1987 Formerly Printing
Became part of Graphic Arts
Programming 153 2013 current  
Public Health 89 1911 current  
Public Speaking 90 1932 current  
Pulp & Paper 91 1972 current  
Rabbit Raising 92 1943 1993  
Radio 93 1923 current Formerly Wireless
Railroading 94 1952 current  
Reading 95 1929 current  
Reptile & Amphibian Study 96 1993 current Formerly Reptile Study
Reptile Study 96 1927 1993 Formerly Reptiles
Became Reptile and Amphibian Study
Reptiles   1926 1926 Became Reptile Study
Rifle & Shotgun Shooting 97 1967 1987 Formerly Marksmanship
Became Rifle Shooting
and Shotgun Shooting
Rifle Shooting 123 1987 current Formerly part of Rifle & Shotgun Shooting
Robotics 146 2011 current  
Rocks & Minerals   1937 1953 Formerly Mining
Became Geology
Rowing 98 1933 current  
Safety 12 1927 current Formerly Safety First
Safety First   1916 1926 Became Safety
Salesmanship 99 1927 current  
Scholarship 100 1911 current  
Scouting Heritage 143 2010 current  
Scuba Diving 138 2009 current  
Sculpture 101 1911 current  
Seaman   1910 1911 Became Seamanship
Seamanship   1911 1964 Formerly Seaman
Became Small Boat Sailing
Search and Rescue 150 2012 current  
Sheep Farming   1928 1975  
Shotgun Shooting 124 1987 current Formerly part of Rifle & Shotgun Shooting
Signaling 102 1911 1991 Formerly Signaller
Signaller   1910 1911 Became Signaling
Signs, Signals, and Codes 155 2014   Release is Pending
Skating 103 1973 current  
Skiing 104 1938 1999 Became Snow Sports
Small Boat Sailing 105 1964 current Formerly Seamanship
Small Grains   1959 1975 Formerly Small Grains & Cereal Foods
Small Grains & Cereal Foods   1943 1958 Became Small Grains
Snow Sports 135 1999 current Formerly Skiing
Soil & Water Conservation 106 1952 current Formerly Soil Management
Soil Management   1928 1952 Became Soil & Water Conservation
Space Exploration 107 1965 current  
Sports 13 1972 current  
Stalker   1910 1911 Became Stalking
Stalking   1911 1952 Formerly Stalker
Stamp Collecting 108 1931 current  
Surveying 109 1911 current  
Sustainability 153 2013 current  
Swimming 14 1911 current  
Taxidermy   1911 1952  
Textile 110 1973 current Formerly Textiles
Textiles   1927 1972 Became Textile
Theater 111 1967 current Formerly Dramatics
Traffic Safety 112 1975 current Formerly Automotive Safety
Truck Transportation 113 1973 current  
Veterinary Medicine 114 1995 current Formerly Veterinary Science
Veterinary Science 114 1973 1995 Formerly First Aid to Animals
Became Veterinary Medicine
Waterskiing 115 1969 2007 Became Water Sports
Water Sports 115 2007 current Formerly Water Skiing
Weather 116 1927 current  
Welding 148 2012 current  
Whitewater 125 1987 current  
Wilderness Survival 117 1973 current  
Wildlife Management   1952 1972 Became Fish & Wildlife Management
Wireless   1919 1923 Became radio
Wood Carving 118 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Wood Turning   1930 1952  
Woodwork 119 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
World Brotherhood   1952 1972 Became Citizenship in the World
Zoology   1930 1972  

Thanks to Steve Henning for the original research used to develop this page.


Page updated on: April 16, 2014



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