Merit Badge FAQ
The Merit Badge Worksheets & Requirements include the maps, checklists and other materials you need.
Other resources include the online Merit Badge Application and Most Popular Merit Badges
Certain requirements need prior approval but most do not.
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Where are the Merit Badge Worksheets?
Right here: Merit Badge Worksheets.
What requirements and rules do we follow?
No. For Advancement under the BSA National Council, the precedence of documentation is:
- 1. Boy Scout Requirements #33215 - make sure you have the current year
- 2. Advancement Policies #33088 - policies for Boards of Review, Eagle Projects, Scoutmaster Conferences, etc.
- 3. Policy support documents such as the:
- 4. Handbooks such as the Boy Scout Handbook and Scoutmaster Handbook
Should Scouts really read the Merit Badge Book (Pamphlet)?
- Yes. "You should read the merit badge pamphlet on the subject." (p. 22) See Merit Badge Introduction. 
Can a counselor change the requirements?
- "No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from an advancement requirement." (p. 3, 23, 26, 34, etc.) See Boy Scout Advancement 
Can summer camps or anyone else add age requirements to merit badges?
- No. " Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time." (p. 22) See Merit Badge Introduction
Are there additional rules for summer summer camps?
- Yes, added rules but no exceptions. See Advancement in Summer Camp
Can a counselor modify a requirement for a Scout who has a disability?
- No. See Youth Members with Special Needs
Can a counselor declare a Scout to have Special Needs?
- No. See Youth Members with Special Needs
Do Scouts have to use a Merit Badge Application?
- Yes. "Get a signed Merit Badge Application from your Scoutmaster."'(#33215 p. 22)  "...partial credit should be noted on the Application for Merit Badge..." (#33088 p. 34)  #34124 is not specified.
Does work have to be done after the Merit Badge Application is started?
- No. Under Boy Scout Advancement, the Four Steps of Advancement section shows that: "1. The Boy Scout learns. 2, The Boy Scout is tested..." (p. 24)  Some Merit Badges Require Prior Approval before starting certain requirements. Most requirements have no such requirement. Unless stated otherwise, there is no requirement that work must be done since a merit badge was started, or since becoming a Scout, etc. " Any Boy Scout may earn any merit badge at any time." - Boy Scout Requirements p. 22. No one can add requirements. (p. 26) 
Can a merit badge be taken away?
- No. A merit badge cannot be taken away once it has been earned, "provided the counselor is a registered counselor for the merit badge." (p. 26)  Also a merit badge application can’t list the Counselor as “Pixley Fire Dept.” A fire department can’t be registered to counsel a merit badge.
Do all merit badge counselors have to be trained & approved?
- Yes. "All merit badge counselors, even those who serve only one unit, must be trained and approved by the Council and District advancement committees and be registered with the council." (p.14) 
Must registered adult leaders register again to also be merit badge counselors?
- Yes. "All Merit badge counselors must…register as a merit badge counselor…" (Code 42). (p. 13-14) 
Who selects a counselor?
- "Your Scoutmaster will give you the name of a person from a list of counselors." (#33215 p. 22) 
Is there a limit to how many merit badges can one person can counsel?
- No. "There is no restriction or limit on the number of merit badges an individual may counsel but they must be approved for each specific merit badge." (p. 13) 
Can a merit badge counselor counsel their own son or relative?
- Yes. "An approved counselor can counsel any youth member, including his or her own son, ward, or relative." (p. 13) 
Can a Scout under 18 teach merit badges?
- Yes. "Camp staff members who are qualified in the subject and are younger than age 18 may assist the merit badge counselor with instruction...However regardless of the class format, each Scout must be tested individually by the counselor to ensure completion of the badge's requirements." (p. 34) 
Can someone require or prohibit Merit Badge Workbooks?
- No. Requiring or prohibiting Merit Badge Workbooks is adding a requirement.(p. 26) 
If a counselor covers a requirement does a Scout still have to be tested?
- Yes. "In the end, the Scout must be reviewed individually by the counselor..." (p. 24). 
Must a Scout complete all merit badge requirements within a year?
- No. "Any registered Boy Scout or Varsity Scout may earn these awards until his 18th birthday."(p. 24). 
- Also, "There is no time limit for completion of merit badges other than age 18."(p. 34). 
Can Scouts earn partial credit for a merit badge at a summer camp?
- Yes. "Partial completion of merit badges should be credited to a Scout on the Application for Merit Badge and given to the Scoutmaster at the end of the week." (p. 34) 
Do we have to turn in an Advancement Report to buy merit badges?
- Yes. "Badges of rank, merit badges, and Eagle Palms are restricted items. These items may not be sold or distributed unless the Advancement Report, has been properly filled out and has been submitted to the local council office." (p. 34) 
Should we wait until the next court of honor to present the merit badge?
- No. "Presentation of merit badges and rank badges should not wait until the next court of honor; awards and badges should be presented at the next meeting after they have been earned." (p. 25) 
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Boy Scout Requirements #33215
- ↑ 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 Advancement Policies #33088
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