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, and any Boy Scout or Varsity Scout, or any qualified Venturer
or Sea Scout may earn any of these at any time (see page 5).
Pick a Subject. Talk to your unit leader about your interests.
Read the requirements of the merit badges you think might interest
you, and pick one to earn. Your leader will give you the name
of a person from a list of counselors. These individuals have special
knowledge in their merit badge subjects and are interested in
At the first meeting, you and your merit
badge counselor will review and may
start working on the requirements.
In some cases, you may share the work
you have already started or completed.
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,
a relative, or a friend.
Call the Merit Badge Counselor. Get a signed Application for Merit
Badge, No. 34124, from your unit leader. Get in touch with the merit
badge counselor and explain that you want to earn the badge.
The counselor may ask to meet you to explain what is expected
and to start helping you meet the requirements. You should also
discuss work you have already started or possibly completed.
Unless otherwise specified, work on 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, schools, and public libraries have
them. (See the list on the inside back cover.)
Show Your Stuff. When you are ready, call the counselor again to
make an appointment. 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 test you on each requirement to make sure you
know your stuff and have done or can do the things required.
Get the Badge. When the counselor is satisfied you have met each
requirement, he or she will sign your application. Give the signed
application to your unit leader so 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 must 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 book 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 may continue to use the
same pamphlet and fulfill the requirements therein to earn the
badge. He need not start over again with the new pamphlet and
There is no time limit for starting and completing a merit badge, but
all work must be completed when a Scout turns 18.
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.