Frequently Asked Questions

Many of the same questions frequently arise from merit badge counselors, especially those who are new to the program. Here are the answers to some of those FAQs.

Unit leaders are not automatically approved to serve as merit badge counselors.

Question: Must individuals who are serving as a merit badge counselor register as a merit badge counselor with the Boy Scouts of America?
Answer: Yes, an Adult Application must be completed for each position in which the individual wants to serve. The application allows only one position per form. For instance, an individual who wants to serve only as a merit badge counselor will need to complete only one application. However, a Scoutmaster or assistant Scoutmaster who wants to serve as a merit badge counselor must complete two applications—one for the Scoutmaster position and one for the counselor position.

Question: Once the adult leader application has been submitted, how long does the approval process take?
Answer: The process usually takes from four to six weeks.

Question: What is the minimum age requirement for merit badge counselors?
Answer: An individual must be at least 18 years of age to serve as a merit badge counselor.

Question: Once a volunteer is registered and approved as a merit badge counselor, is that registration for life?
Answer: Approvals for merit badge counselors and all other adult volunteer positions are valid for one year only and must be renewed annually. BSA Youth Protection training helps preserve a safe environment for young people and adult leaders so that they can all enjoy the Scouting program.