Scout, currently a joining badge, to become its own rank

Being a Scout is about to get a lot cooler.

Scout, previously a badge a young man received upon joining and completing a few other requirements, will become its own rank — complete with a new patch — beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

By moving from a “joining badge” to an actual rank, Scout joins Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star and Life as the ranks a young man must earn on his way to the highest rank in Scouting: Eagle Scout.

The requirements for the Scout rank are intentionally tougher than the ones for the Scout badge. Don’t expect completion of the new requirements for the Scout rank (included below) to happen overnight, particularly for boys who were not members of a Cub Scout pack. Depending on the maturity of an individual boy, it may take a few weeks for him to memorize the Scout Oath and Scout Law (Scout rank requirement 1a), as well as to learn some basic Scout skills.

But well-prepared Scouts — especially those who have recently earned the Arrow of Light — should be able to complete the Scout rank during the first few weeks after joining.

The Scout badge/rank is changing, but the age requirements to become a Boy Scout are not. A boy must be 11 years old, or have completed the fifth grade, or have earned the Arrow of Light Award and be at least 10 years old. He cannot yet have turned 18.

Let’s look at the new badge, as well as the old and new requirements.

Scout rank badge


As you can see, the new badge coloring makes more sense when seen as a part of the whole. Here’s the new set:



Each rank badge design now builds on the one before it. From left to right above that’s Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and Eagle Scout.

Previous Scout badge requirements

You’ll sometimes hear of these requirements as the “Boy Scout joining requirements.”

  1. Meet the age requirements. Be a boy who is 11 years old, or one who has completed the fifth grade or earned the Arrow of Light Award and is at least 10 years old, but is not yet 18 years old.
  2. Find a Scout troop near your home.
  3. Complete a Boy Scout application and health history signed by your parent or guardian.
  4. Repeat the Pledge of Allegiance.
  5. Demonstrate the Scout sign, salute, and handshake.
  6. Demonstrate tying the square knot (a joining knot).
  7. Understand and agree to live by the Scout Oath, Scout Law, motto, and slogan and the Outdoor Code.
  8. Describe the Scout badge.
  9. Complete the pamphlet exercises. With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide.
  10. Participate in a Scoutmaster conference. Turn in your Boy Scout application and health history form signed by your parent or guardian, then participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

New Scout rank requirements

All requirements for the Scout rank must be completed as a member of a troop. If a Scout has already completed these requirements as part of the Webelos Scouting Adventure, he must simply demonstrate his knowledge or skills to his Scoutmaster or other designated leader after joining the troop.

1a. Repeat from memory the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan. In your own words, explain their meaning.

1b. Explain what Scout spirit is. Describe some ways you have shown Scout spirit by practicing the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan.

1c. Demonstrate the Boy Scout sign, salute, and handshake. Explain when they should be used.

1d. Describe the First Class Scout badge and tell what each part stands for. Explain the significance of the First Class Scout badge.

1e. Repeat from memory the Outdoor Code. In your own words, explain what the Outdoor Code means to you.

1f. Repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance. In your own words, explain its meaning.

2. After attending at least one Boy Scout troop meeting, do the following:

2a. Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership.

2b. Describe the four steps of Boy Scout advancement.

2c. Describe the Boy Scout ranks and how they are earned.

2d. Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned.

3a. Explain the patrol method. Describe the types of patrols that are used in your troop.

3b. Become familiar with your patrol name, emblem, flag, and yell. Explain how these items create patrol spirit.

4a. Show how to tie a square knot, two half-hitches, and a taut-line hitch. Explain how each knot is used.

4b. Show the proper care of a rope by learning how to whip and fuse the ends of different kinds of rope.

5. Demonstrate your knowledge of pocketknife safety.

6. With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide and earn the Cyber Chip Award for your grade.

7. Since joining the troop and while working on Scout rank, participate in a Scoutmaster conference.

Transitioning to the new requirements

Boys joining on or after Jan. 1, 2016 must use the new requirements.

Boys who have joined prior to Jan. 1, 2016 who are working on the Scout badge may continue to work on the existing requirements, but they must convert to the new requirements upon completion of the Scout badge.

See more on the transition here.

Answers to FAQs about the Scout rank (and other rank changes)

Go here (PDF).

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.