Introduction to Merit Badges

You can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers as you earn merit badges. There are more than 100 merit badges. 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 here.)

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 this publication are the official requirements of the Boy Scouts of America. However, the requirements on the following pages might not match those in the Boy Scout Handbook and the merit badge pamphlets, because this 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.

Resources

Merit Badge Requirements

Below is a list, in alphabetical order, of all of the current merit badge subjects. Click each subject to see the requirements for that merit badge.


American Business

American Cultures

American Heritage

American Labor

Animal Science

Archaeology

Archery

Architecture

Art

Astronomy

Athletics

Automotive Maintenance

Aviation

Backpacking

Basketry

Bird Study

Bugling

Camping


Canoeing


Chemistry


Chess


Cinematography

Citizenship in the Community

Citizenship in the Nation

Citizenship in the World

Climbing

Coin Collecting

Collections

Communication

Composite Materials

Computers

Cooking

Crime Prevention

Cycling

Dentistry

Disabilities Awareness

Dog Care

Drafting

Electricity

Electronics

Emergency Preparedness

Energy

Engineering

Entrepreneurship

Environmental Science

Family Life

Farm Mechanics

Fingerprinting

Fire Safety

First Aid

Fish and Wildlife Management

Fishing

Fly-Fishing

Forestry

Gardening

Genealogy

Geocaching

Geology

Golf

Graphic Arts

Hiking

Home Repairs

Horsemanship

Indian Lore

Insect Study

Inventing

Journalism

Kayaking

Landscape Architecture

Law

Leatherwork

Lifesaving

Mammal Study

Medicine

Metalwork

Model Design and Building

Motorboating

Music

Nature


Nuclear Science


Oceanography


Orienteering


Painting

Personal Fitness

Personal Management

Pets

Photography

Pioneering

Plant Science

Plumbing

Pottery

Public Health

Public Speaking

Pulp and Paper

Radio

Railroading

Reading

Reptile and Amphibian Study

Rifle Shooting

Robotics

Rowing

Safety

Salesmanship

Scholarship


Scouting Heritage


Scuba Diving


Sculpture


Search and Rescue


Shotgun Shooting


Skating

Small-Boat Sailing

Snow Sports

Soil and Water Conservation

Space Exploration

Sports

Stamp Collecting

Surveying


Swimming


Textile


Theater


Traffic Safety


Veterinary Medicine

Truck Transportation

Water Sports

Weather

Welding


Whitewater

Wilderness Survival

Wood Carving

Woodwork