How to Become a Merit Badge Counselor

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The merit badge counselor is a key player in the Boy Scout advancement program. Whatever your area of expertise or interest—whether it is a special craft or hobby (basketry, leatherwork, coin collecting), a profession (veterinary medicine, aviation, engineering), or perhaps a life skill (cooking, personal management, communications)—as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a young man’s curiosity about that particular topic. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge, and other resources so that Scouts can explore a topic of interest.
If you are not yet a merit badge counselor, it is easy to become a volunteer. You will need to register with the Boy Scouts of America, through your BSA local council. This entails completing, and turning in the Adult Application, Youth Protection Certificate, and the Merit Badge Counselor Application. The council will then process the application. (Every applicant is screened.)

To qualify as a merit badge counselor, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be proficient in the merit badge subject by vocation, avocation, or special training.
  • Be able to work with Scout-age boys
  • Be registered with the Boy Scouts of America

Steps to becoming a Merit Badge Counselor:

  1. Take Youth Protection Training (YPT) and print/save the certificate for inclusion with your application. You can take YPT by creating an account at
  2. Complete an Adult Application. These are available from your local Scout leaders or the council office.
  3. Download and complete the Merit Badge Application.
  4. It would be a good idea to get a copy of the merit badge workbook for merit badge(s) you are a counselor. They contain the merit badge requirements and the details to complete the requirements.
  5. You might also watch this video that attempts to explain the merit badge process.