What is a Merit Badge?
A Merit Badge is a badge earned for the study of a specific hobby or occupation, such as swimming, dentistry, or woodworking, while under the tutorship of an acknowledged expert in the field called a Merit Badge Counselor. 
Merit badges are the second main area of the Boy Scout advancement program, with Rank being the first.

There are over 130 different Merit Badges to choose from.

How Many Merit Badges are Required?
There is no limit to the number of badges a Scout may pursue over his ScoutingCareer. However, if a Scout intends to advance in rank toward Eagle Scout, then, along the way, he will need to earn 21 Merit Badges–with 12 specific badges being required. These 12 are known as “Eagle Required Merit Badges.”

After the rank of Eagle has been earned, any Merit Badges beyond the 21 will earn him Eagle Palms.




The Blue Card:

Once a Scout selects a merit badge he wants to work on, the scout must:

  1. discuss it with the Scoutmaster who will provide him with a signed “Blue Card.” 
  2. ask for the name of a Merit Badge Counselor to contact. 
  3. download the Worksheet
  4. contact the Merit Badge Counselor.

When the requirements for your Merit Badge have been met:

  1. Fill in all the spaces on the Blue Card and your counselor will sign it off.
  2. Retain 1/3 of the card. Get Scoutmaster’s signature on the remaining 2/3’s of the Blue Card.
  3. Give the card to the Advancement Coordinator who will turn it into the Council Scout Office. 
  4. The Scoutmaster will present you with your patch, and a portion of the Blue Card, at the first available Troop meeting after it is received.

The scout will also be acknowledged at the next Court of Honor. Keep your portion of the Blue Card. It is your PROOF of completion and may be important if the badge is used to help you advance in rank.  The merit badge patch should then be sewn onto your Merit Badge Sash to show off your accomplishment. A Boy Scout may work on Merit Badges from the time they join a Scout troop until they turn 18 years old. Once he begins work on a merit badge, there is no time limit for completion of merit badges, other than age, nor is completion required if a merit badge is begun. 

A primary benefit of the Merit Badge Program is that a Scout develops his ability to interact and communicate with adults. These skills serve him well as he learns to adapt to society as a maturing young man.

Related Links:

BSA Introduction to Merit Badges

Merit Badge Counselor Application

Merit Badge Worksheets