HOME—US Scouting—Boy Scouts of America
Boy Scouting (BSA)
Age Requirements / Advancement / Highest Awards
- Note that Scout troops and Varsity Scout teams are separate units.
- Scouts & Varsity Scouts are male only.
- Boy Scouting adults are coed, with all positions open to those 21 or older, and only Assistant Scoutmaster & Assistant Varsity Scout Coach open to those ages 18 to 20.
Age Range / Highest Award
||age 11 OR
finished grade 5 + min. age 10 OR
earned Arrow of Light + min. age 10
|until age 18
||until age 18
Advancement for Scouts and Varsity Scouts
- Scouts/Varsity Scouts wear only the highest rank earned.
- All ranks must be earned in order.
- The first 4 ranks cover basic Scout skills.
- The higher 3 ranks include merit badges, service, and leadership.
- Each Eagle Palm represents 5 additional merit badges plus 3 months active service. Note that the Silver Palm is higher than the Gold Palm!
Scout (formerly called the 'Scout Badge', became a full rank on 1 January 2016)
Star (6 merit badges)
Life (11 merit badges)
Eagle Scout (badge/medal) (21 merit badges)
Changes to Ranks (effective 1 January 2016)
- "Scout" is now a rank rather than just the joining requirements (but no board of review).
- Service is now required for all ranks.
- There are 30-day or 4-week physical fitness requirements in Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class.
- There is expanded emphasis on health & eating habits, outdoor ethics, weather safety, and Leave No Trace.
- A new Edition (the 13th) of the Boy Scout Handbook became available in late January, 2016.
Pictures of Older Rank Badges
All Rank Requirements, Tenderfoot through Eagle Scout, 1910—Present
Advancement for Varsity Scouts only
- In addition to (or instead of) standard Scout advancement, Varsity Scouts can also earn the 'Varsity Letter' and the Denali Award.
- The Varsity Letter is primarily for active participation.
- The Denali Award requires earning the Varsity Letter, advancing a rank toward Eagle (or earning a Palm), and holding a Varsity leadership position for 6 months.
Varsity Letter (not a rank)
Denali Award (not a rank)
Other Advancement-related Badges & Awards
Merit Badges (over 130 merit badges; 21 required for Eagle Scout); Eagle required badge/left; regular badge/right
Pictures & names of all merit badges (PDF)
Eagle Palms (Bronze/Gold/Silver; not considered ranks, but additional awards an Eagle Scout can earn)
Interpreter Badges / Religious Award
BSA Aquatic Awards
Leave No Trace / Boy Scout World Conservation Award
Age Requirements/Advancement/Highest Awards—