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Boy Scout Advancement

Boy Scouting provides a series of surmountable obstacles and steps in overcoming them through the advancement method. The Boy Scout plans his advancement and progresses at his own pace as he meets each challenge.

The Boy Scout is rewarded for each achievement, which helps him gain self-confidence. The steps in the advancement system help a Boy Scout grow in self-reliance and in the ability to help others.

For a complete, and up to date listing of all Boy Scout advancements, visit the National BSA Site

Boy Scout Advancement accommodates the three Aims of Scouting: citizenship, growth in moral strength and character, and mental and physical development. It is one of the eight Methods of Scouting.  

There are six ranks:

When a Boy Scout has achieved a rank, it represents that the young man has:

  • Demonstrated living the Scout Oath and Law in his daily life
  • Met the other requirements and/or earned the merit badges for the rank
  • Participated in a Scoutmaster conference
  • Satisfactorily appeared before a board of review

In the advanced ranks (Star, Life, Eagle), the young man has also:

  • Served in a position of responsibility in the troop
  • Performed service to others

Specific requirements for each rank, including alternate requirements for those with special needs, are available on the National website.

The main resources for information on Boy Scout Advancement are:

The information in the latest editions of these two documents are the official positions of the Boy Scouts of America and supercede information in previous versions or in other documents. Each unit should obtain the current copy of each of these documents.   No council, district, unit, or individual has the authority to add to or subtract from any advancement requirement.

The Guide to Advancement, issued in early October 2011, replaces the Advancement Committtee Policies and Procedures and contains some significant changes and clarifies a number of advancement related issues. Every Troop should have at least one copy for reference.

Additional information is contained in:

The Boy Scout National Council website includes the latest rank requirements, requirements for all merit badges, and additional advancement and recognition information.

There are numerous other online resources for advancement. The quality and accuracy of these sites varies. While it may be worthwhile to check out these resources, the BSA documents are the official resources.  With some of the changes in the Guide to Advancement, many of these sites will be out of date, so be careful in using them.


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