Boy Scout Scouts BSA Advancement


Requirements were REVISED effective January 1, 2019.

New text is in bold GREEN underlined Serif text like this sentence.
Deleted portions are struck through RED italic text like this sentence.

To see the requirements, without the changes highlighted, Click here.


Note: Quotes from the Guide to Advancement below are from the 2019 edition and
reflect the changes made when the Boy Scout program changed to Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019.
Due to the extensive changes in that document, we have NOT shown the details of hose changes in this document.

Merit Badges

The procedures for earning and receiving Merit Badges can be found in the Introduction to Merit Badges. Current requirements for all Merit Badges can be found on our Merit Badge Requirements pages. The requirements for all Merit Badges are listed in the current Boy Scout Scouts BSA Requirements book (#33216).

A list of all Merit Badges, with the pamphlet stock numbers, copyright and latest revision dates, and the date of the most recent revision to the requirements is also available.

Age Requirement Eligibility

Merit badges, badges of rank, and Eagle Palms may be earned by a registered Boy Scout or a qualified Venturer or Sea Scout. He may earn these awards until his 18th birthday Any Venturer or Sea Scout who has achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout in a troop or as a Lone Scout may continue working up to his 18th birthday toward the Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks and Eagle Palms. registered Scouts, including Lone Scouts, and by qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts who are not yet 18 years old. Venturers and Sea Scouts qualify by achieving First Class rank as a Scout or Lone Scout (or as a Varsity Scout prior to Jan. 1, 2018). The only exceptions for those older than age 18 are related to Scouts registered beyond the age of eligibility and those who have been granted time extensions to complete the Eagle Scout rank.

Temporary Transition Rules for Females entering Scouts BSA

On February 1, 2019, the Boy Scouts of America began admitting girls into Scouts BSA. As part of that change to the program, BSA has established some temporary transition rules, and published those rules in early October 2018.

In general, the following rules will be in effect from February 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019.

  1. Youth 16 years of age or older, but not yet 18, on February 1, 2019 who register as members of Scouts BSA on or before December 31, 2019, may request extensions to complete the Eagle Scout Award requirements after they turn 18 years of age.
  2. Requests for extensions must be received no later than thirty (30) days after turning 18 years of age. Extensions must be in writing by submitting the designated form to the National Service Center and the form must be received no later than January 7, 2020. Only the National Council may grant extensions. The actual extension will be based upon the individual's registration date and age at the time of the request and will provide not more than twenty-four months from the date of initial registration to complete all requirements.
  3. In the interest of fairness, these temporary transition rules apply to all youth joining Scouts BSA during 2019 - both girls and first-time joining boys.

A copy of the document they released can be obtained, by Clicking here.

Varsity Letters and Pins, and the Denali Award
The Varsity Scout program has been discontinued as of January 1, 2018.

Older Scouts (ages 14 - 18) may participate in Older Scout Patrols in Boy Scout Troops, or could join separate units known as Varsity Scout Teams. In addition to Rank Advancements, members of Varsity Teams could earn a Varsity Letter, and Activity Pins for a series of Sports and "Ultimate Adventures". A list of the sports and activities for which pins could be earned is included on the Varsity Letter page. Members of Varsity Scout Teams that had earned the Varsity Letter could also earn the Denali Award. All these recognitions have been discontinued.

Venturing Awards

Members of Older Scout Patrols (formerly called Venture Patrols) within Boy Scout Scouts BSA Troops are NOT eligible for Venturing and/or Sea Scouting awards unless they are also registered in a Venturing Crew and/or Sea Scout Ship, and then they may earn those awards only in the Venturing/Sea Scouting units.


Annually, Boy Scouts of America issues a Booklet, entitled Boy Scout Scouts BSA Requirements which lists the current requirements for all Boy Scout Scouts BSA Rank Advancements, Merit Badges, and Special Opportunities, and some supporting information.


Revisions to rank and/or merit badge requirements

The Guide to Advancement, in section 4.0.0.1, provides the rules regarding how to handle rank advancements when the requirements change.  That information (relative to Boy Scout Scouts BSA ranks) is as follows:

4.0.0.1 Changes to Requirements

Advancement requirements change from time to time. For Scouts BSA, check the latest edition of the Scouts BSA Requirements book. Once a new or revised requirement appears in that publication, which is released annually, any Scout beginning work on the next rank or Eagle Palm must use the new or revised requirement as stated there.

If a new or revised rank or Eagle Palm requirement is introduced in a reprinting of the Scouts BSA Handbook after the annual release of the Scouts BSA Requirements book, then the Scout has until the following December 31 to decide what to do. The Scout may continue—or begin work—using the old requirements, or may switch to—or begin work—using the new requirements. Any Scout who chooses to use the old requirements may continue using them until the rank has been completed. Sometimes, however—especially for more significant changes—the Scouts BSA Handbook, the Scouts BSA Requirements book, or official communications from the National Council may set forth a different procedure that must be used and may establish a date by when use of the old requirements must cease.

For Cub Scouting, Venturing, or Sea Scouts, revisions to rank or Venturing award requirements are introduced in the youth handbook. Unless the handbook says differently, the following applies: The member has until the next January 1 to decide whether to continue work—or to begin work—on the old requirements, or to switch to— or begin work—using the new requirements. Unless otherwise stated in the youth handbook or through official communications from the National Council, if a Cub Scout, Venturer, or Sea Scout chooses to use the old requirements, he or she may continue using them until the rank or award is completed.

For handling changes to merit badge requirements, see “What to Do When Requirements Change,” 7.0.4.3.

A former member who rejoins a BSA program, still as a youth member, may carry on in the advancement and pick up where they left off, but will not receive credit for activities while not registered. A former member who is no longer eligible to participate in a BSA program as a youth member due to age, for example, can neither receive credit for completing advancement requirements nor be awarded any advancement-oriented recognition such as ranks or merit badges, etc., that the individual was ineligible to earn as a youth member under the rules in effect at that time.

In addition, as noted above, the current Scouts BSA Requirements Booklet has this statement:

The requirements listed in this Scouts BSA Requirements book for rank advancement, Eagle Palms, and merit badges are the official requirements of the Boy Scouts of America and are effective Jan 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2019. However, the requirements on the following pages might not match those in the Scouts BSA handbooks and the merit badge pamphlets, because this publication is updated only on an annual basis. The most current and any updated merit badge requirements can be found at www.scouting.org/meritbadges.

Similarly, the Guide to Advancement, in section 7.0.4.3, covers the rules regarding how to handle merit badges when those requirements change. That information is as follows:

7.0.4.3 What to Do When Requirements Change

The current annual edition of Scouts BSA Requirements lists the official merit badge requirements. However, those requirements might not match those in the Scouts BSA Handbook, the merit badge pamphlets, and the requirements listed at www.scouting.org/meritbadges because the Scouts BSA Requirements book is updated on an annual basis. When new or revised merit badge requirements appear in the Scouts BSA Requirements book, any Scout beginning work on a merit badge must use the requirements as stated therein. However, if changes to merit badge requirements are introduced in a revised merit badge pamphlet or at www.scouting.org/meritbadges during the year after the Scouts BSA Requirements is released, then the Scout has through the end of that year to decide which set of requirements to use.

Once work has begun, the Scout may continue using the requirements he or she started with until completion of the badge. Alternatively, the Scout may choose to switch to the revised requirements. Sometimes, however— especially for more significant changes—the Scouts BSA Handbook, the Scouts BSA Requirements  book, www. scouting.org/meritbadges, or official communications from the National Council may set forth a different procedure that must be used and may establish a date by when use of the old requirements must cease.

There is no time limit between starting and completing a badge, although a counselor may determine so much time has passed since any effort took place that the new requirements must be used.

The authoritative source for all merit badge requirements is the current year’s Scouts BSA Requirements book.


Advancement Transfers for Foreign Scouts

Questions arise occasionally on whether a Scout moving to the USA from another country can use the advancements he had earned in that country toward advancement in a BSA Troop or Team. For the answer, click here.


Rank Advancement for Venturers and Sea Scouts

The following requirements apply to boys youth registered in the Venturing Program or Sea Scouting.

  • Any male Venturer or Sea Scout who has achieved the First Class rank as a Boy Scout in a troop, or as a Lone Scout (or as a Varsity Scout prior to Jan. 1. 2018), may continue advancement up to his their 18th birthday toward the Star, Life, and Eagle Scout ranks, and Eagle Palms.
  • He Qualified Venturers and Sea Scouts must meet the requirements as prescribed in the official Boy Scout Handbook Scouts BSA handbooks and the current Boy Scout Scouts BSA Requirements book.
  • The Venturer may fulfill leadership requirements by serving as president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, den chief, historian, guide, quartermaster, chaplain aide, or outdoor ethics guide.
  • The Sea Scout may fulfill leadership requirements by serving as boatswain, boatswain's mate, purser, yeoman, storekeeper, crew leader, media specialist, specialist, den chief, or chaplain aide.
  • The unit leader conference will be conducted by the Advisor or Skipper. As the Venturer or Sea Scout fulfills requirements for the Star and Life ranks, a board of review must be conducted by the crew or ship committee according to the procedures established by the National Council as published in the Guide to Advancement. Eagle Scout boards of review are conducted in accordance with the Guide to Advancement and procedures established by the local council.
  • The Eagle board of review should follow the procedures established by the local council.

Explorers

Explorers (participants in the Exploring program of the Learning for Life Corporation) are ineligible for Boy Scout Scouts BSA advancement unless they are also registered as members of a Boy Scout Scouts BSA Troop, a Venturing Crew, and/or a Sea Scout Ship, or as a Lone Scout.


Sources: SCOUTS BSA REQUIREMENTS 2019 (33216) and
Guide to Advancement 2017 (33088)


Page updated on: February 23, 2019



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