Which positions of responsibility work for Star, Life, and Eagle?

Splpatch To earn the Boy Scout ranks of Star, Life, and Eagle, a boy has to serve in a position of responsibility for six months (four months for Star rank).

But not every position of responsibility applies. Assistant patrol leader, for example, is not considered a position of responsibility in this sense. But senior patrol leader is.

To keep it all straight, here's a short guide to which positions in a troop, team, crew, or ship will count for advancement.


Boy Scout troop: Patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, senior patrol leader, Venture patrol leader, troop guide, Order of the Arrow troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, troop webmaster, or Leave No Trace trainer.

Varsity Scout team: Captain, cocaptain, program manager, squad leader, team secretary, Order of the Arrow troop representative, librarian, historian, quartermaster, chaplain aide, instructor, den chief, team webmaster, or Leave No Trace trainer.

Venturing crew/ship: President, vice president, secretary, treasurer, den chief, quartermaster, historian, guide, boatswain, boatswain’s mate, yeoman, purser, storekeeper, crew/ship webmaster, or Leave No Trace trainer.


Boy Scout troop: Same as Star/Life, except bugler is removed.

Varsity Scout team: Same as Star/Life

Venturing crew/ship: Same as Star/Life


  1. I’m researching to see if you can stay in the same position of responsibility all the way through from Star to Eagle. Any idea if that’s possible? Thanks.

    • it kind of depends on your troops set up most troops have a 6 month o 1 year time frame of p.o.s., our troop does not allow the spl to run more than 1 time in a row, it is to the boys advantage to learn more than 1 position

    • A youth could hold the same position of leadership but usually they don’t. Let other youth have the opportunity and its good to learn positions of leadership.

    • The Assistant Patrol Leader is an appointed position, appointed by the Patrol Leader. The Assistant Patrol Leader has no more power than any other non-Patrol Leader. .The Assistant Patrol Assistant has little or no power. He only stands in till the Patrol Leader arrives.

  2. Of course you may. If you are a good QM, and the SM wants you to continue, you may do so. The same thing with other positions. Not all troops have 40 -75 Scouts, so sometimes Leadership positions are difficult to make changes in.

  3. What are the duties of a Troop Quartermaster? We have a youth that is the quartermaster and he thinks his duty is to dictate what our meals will be at a camp out. To me a Quartermaster is a youth that knows what equipment the troop has, what condition these items are in, and where the equipment is located in our Troop Trailer or Scout Hut. And my idea is the meal planning and purchasing is the patrol function, deciding what the menu is for the weekend camp out, making compromises for food that some members have food allergies for or just don’t like. And then the patrol decides who will purchase the food needed and etc.

    • Have you or another adult explained to him what his responsibility as the QM is ? Have you given him the booklet that explains the role of the QM in a unit ?

  4. John McKenzie, what booklet are you talking about. I’ve checked a lot of BSA resources but can’t find good definitions about any positions of responsibility. Thanks for answering my previous problem.

    • Some years ago there was a booklet the same size as the patrol Leaders Handbook which described each position and what the position entailed.

      Perhaps they have discontinued printing it since so much of everything is now on line.

      When I was a SM many years ago, I liked to put the older Scouts who had more obligations in school and at school in positions like JASM or Instructor. I instructed them to attend meetings when they were able to without jeopardizing their academic work or athletics.

      They still showed Scout Spirit and attended and assisted when they could. I ALWAYS carried eagle Scouts until they were 18, then registered them as an adult.

      Many of the Scouts I had as youth members are now approaching their 50 year Veteran status.

      Be a little creative in what you need or want from your older scouts.

  5. I don’t see Den Chief listed here, but other websites it is listed as a position of leadership. Just wondering since we just had a Tenderfoot sign up for this position. Thanks!

  6. Why does Assistant Patrol Leader not count as a Position of Leader? Our APL’s are a part of the PLC’s and in most cases do more than a Bugler or Librarian.

  7. I continue to see folks refer to all positions of responsibility as leadership positions. In terms of leadership, there areonly 4 positions in a troop that involve leading scouts: Senior Patrol Leader, Asst. SPL, Patrol Leader and APL. While APL is not authorized for rank advancement, it is still an appointed leadership position. It isn’t a a placeholder, the APL doesn’t “only stand in till the Patrol Leader arrives.” The APL performs all duties of the PL, in the absence of the PL. He has all of the authority inherent in the position of PL, when he is acting on behalf of the PL in his absence.
    Any other position, not involved in directly leading Scouts is a position of responsibility. These positions allow scouts to gain more responsibility within a troop, in addition to their responsibilities to their patrol.

  8. Can a scout in both a Crew and a Scout Troop use his position on the Crew for advancement in the Troop of should his advancement take place in the Crew? This is in regards to the Star Rank.

  9. The curent Boy Scout Handbook states that the Scout “serve actively in your troop for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility (or carry out a Scoutmaster approved leadership project to help the troop): for a Boy Scout troop, the handbook states “patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader, Troop guide, OA troop representative, den chief, scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler, junior assistant Scoutmaster, chaplain aide, instructor, webmaster, or outdoor ethics guide.” The only position is specifically mentioned as not approved position is the assistant patrol leader. Troops may have more than one scribe, librarian, historian, quartermaster, bugler, etc. Some larger units have more than persons. For a quartermaster of a troop of 60+ scouts, it is necessary to have other scouts to share responsibilities. Some units present the patch of the position to the scout based the unit requirements. I have had hear and seen comments that a scout has to serve at this or that level. I point to the handbook, what does it specifically stated? Patrols are part of the troop. Scouts rely on the handbook. If the authors of the handbook meant this or that regarding one or more positions, they would have stated it in the handbook. Positions of responsibility have been around for decades. The handbook has been revised 13 times.
    Each troop sets it’s own age, rank, and other qualification standards for its positions of responsibility. “What really matters is how Scouts and Scouters show leadership by sharing knowledge and offering guidance and encouragement to others.” The book contains the official text for all rank requirements.

    The President, National Commissioner, and Chief Executive Officer state the current handbook is the official BSA manual, based on the experience of the Boy Scouts of America on the United States since it’s founding in 1910. If you feel that the handbook needs to clarify each position of responsibility – ambiguity still exists in the roles – please make your opinion known to the persons responsible for the handbook.

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