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All Boy Scout awards, merit badges, badges of rank, and Eagle Palms are for registered Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and Lone Scouts; and also for qualified Venturers or Sea Scouts who are not yet 18 years old. Venturers and Sea Scouts qualify by achieving First Class rank as a Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, or Lone Scout. 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.


After being awarded the Scout badge, there are six ranks in Boy Scouting that are to be earned sequentially no matter what age a boy joins the program.

The first three ranks are oriented toward learning and practicing skills that will help the Scout develop confidence and fitness, challenge his thought processes, introduce him to his responsibilities as a citizen, and prepare him for an exciting and successful Scouting experience. Requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class may be passed at any time after the joining requirements have been met. For example, a Scout working toward Tenderfoot may fulfill and be signed off on all the first aid–related requirements for all three of the ranks. For information on boards of review for these ranks, see "Particulars for Tenderfoot Through Life Ranks (or Palms),", especially point No. 7.

All requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle, except for those related to merit badges, must be fulfilled after the successful completion of a board of review for the previous rank.

In Boy Scouting, advancement requirements must be passed as written. If, for example, a requirement uses words like "show," "demonstrate," or "discuss," then that is what Scouts must do.  Filling out a worksheet, for example, would not suffice.

Advancement Requirements

The most current requirements for Boy Scout rank advancements are found in the 12th Edition BSA® Handbook #34554-34622.

You can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers as you earn merit badges. There are more than 130 merit badges. Any Boy Scout may earn a merit badge at any time. You don't need to have had rank advancement to be eligible.

BSA is in the process of updating ALL 130 merit badge books, with the goal of updating all of them within 4-5 years (a rate of around 25 per year). As new pamphlets are issued, when they contain new requirements, Scouts will have the option of starting with the new requirements as soon as the pamphlets are issued, or they may start work using the old requirements until the next edition of Boy Scout Requirements is issued.

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