Boy Scout Ranks

Boy Scouting ranks

The first four ranks (Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class) must be obtained in sequence, but can be worked on simultaneously.  A detailed list for each rank is listed in the handbook.   The boys will have many opportunities to learn basic skills as they advance through the first four ranks. .  They will also learn to work together which is often more essential than rank advancement.

Scout

Scout is a joining badge, earned by completing the requirements to join Boy Scouting. The Scout badge has a brown fleur-de-lis on a tan background. The badge is awarded when the boy demonstrates a rudimentary knowledge of the Scouting ideals such as tying a square knot and knowing the Scout oath, law, and slogan.

Tenderfoot

Tenderfoot is the first rank. A Scout can work on the requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks at the same time, but each rank must be earned in sequence. The badge is awarded when the Scout completes requirements in the areas of Scoutcraft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth and Scout Spirit.

Second Class

Second Class is the rank above Tenderfoot and below First Class. A Scout can work on the requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks at the same time, but must be earned in sequence. The badge is awarded when the Scout completes requirements in the areas of Scoutcraft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth and Scout Spirit.

First Class

First Class is the rank above Second Class and below Star Scout. A Scout can work on the requirements for the Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class ranks at the same time, but must earn them in sequence. The badge is awarded when the Scout completes requirements in the areas of Scoutcraft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth and Scout Spirit.

Originally, First Class was the all around Scout and the final and highest rank. Later ranks were originally recognitions of earning merit badges beyond First Class, and not properly ranks. Now these additional ranks form a second tier where Scouts can further develop leadership skills and explore potential vocations and avocations through the merit badge program.

Although Eagle is the highest rank and one all Scouts should strive for, the number of Scouts achieving First Class within one year of joining is still one of the key measures of unit effectiveness. Studies have shown that if a Scout achieves First Class within a year of joining, he typically stays in the Scout program for at least three years. Scouts who do so are more likely to retain Scout values as an adult and achieve the BSA primary mission of "producing useful citizens".

From 1972 to 1990, the First Aid merit badge was required for First Class rank. After 1990, this was replaced with a series of requirements to demonstrate awareness of advanced first aid techniques, including CPR. A sixth merit badge was added to the requirement for Star rank at that time to maintain its overall requirement of 21 merit badges, and First Aid is still one of the merit badges that is mandatory for Eagle Scout.

Star

Star is the rank above First Class and below Life Scout. Star is awarded when the Scout serves actively in the troop, team or crew in a position of responsibility for at least 4 months; performs at least six hours of community service; and earns six merit badges (four of which must be required for Eagle Scout rank).

Initially, the Life badge was awarded for five merit badges and the Star badge was awarded for ten. The order was reversed in the 1920s when it was decided that the five-pointed star of Star Scout better represented the five merit badges required for first rank above First Class. That symbolism disappeared when the number of merit badges required for Star was increased to six in 1990.

Life is second-highest rank attainable and ranks above Star Scout and below Eagle. Life is awarded when the Scout serves actively in the troop, team or crew, serves in a position of responsibility for six months, and performs six hours of community service. Another thing a scout must do in order to achieve Life is earn an additional five merit badges (three of which are required for the rank of Eagle), to make a minimum total of eleven merit badges (including the six previously required for Star). Finally, the scout must pass a scoutmaster conference, and board of review.

Life was originally lower than Star, and originally required earning five specific merit badges concerned with health and fitness (First Aid, Lifesaving, Public Health, Personal Health and Athletics). It was changed in the 1920s when it was decided that the five-pointed star better represented the five merit badges required for Star, and the two were switched. Life's heart came to symbolize achievement in health and fitness, as the first aid merit badge was required for Life and Eagle for many years.

Eagle

Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men.

Requirements include earning a number of merit badges and demonstration of Scout Spirit, service and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. Eagle Scouts are presented with a medal and a badge that visibly recognizes the accomplishments of the Scout. Additional recognition can be earned through Eagle Palms, awarded for completing additional tenure, leadership and merit badge requirements.


Signing Off Requirements 

To have the requirements signed off, the Scout needs to ask someone to sign it.  Older Scouts with Star and above are authorized to sign the requirements for Scout, Tenderfoot, Second and First Class.  If an older scout is unavailable to test and sign off for the requirement;  then an adult leader may sign for the Scout.  An adult leader may be an Assistant Scoutmaster or a Troop Committee Member. (In Boy Scouts troop leaders, rather than parents, sign off advancement requirements. In order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, in most troops, troop leaders will not normally sign off rank requirements for their own sons..  Your son will be introduced to the adult and scout leaders during his first months in the Troop.

Active Participation:

The requirements for Star, Life, Eagle, and Eagle Palms all include a requirement to "Be active in your troop and patrol ..." The Guide to Advancement now contains an extensive section on how to determine whether the Scout has met the requirement. Rather than duplicate that information here, please click here to see the information.

Demonstrate Scout Spirit:

The requirements for Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle Palms all include a clause to "Be active in your troop and patrol ...", and the requirements for Eagle contain a similar clause, "Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law ...." The Guide to Advancement now also contains an section on how to determine whether the Scout has met this requirement, too. Rather than duplicate that information here, please click here to see the information.;

Serve Actively ... in ... Positions of Responsibility

The requirements for Star, Life, and Eagle all include a requirement to "Serve Actively ... in ... Positions of Responsibility" The Guide to Advancement now contains an extensive section on how to determine whether the Scout has met this requirement as well. Rather than duplicate that information here, please click here to see the information.

Scoutmaster Conference

At the completion of each rank, the Scout is required to schedule a Scoutmaster conference and these are often held during the regular troop meetings. The Scout has the responsibility to request a conference and then the Scoutmaster or an Assistant Scoutmaster will meet with the scout to talk over and check that the Scout has  fulfilled all rank requirements and also measure the Scout’s readiness for advancement.   Boys should dress neatly in uniform for their conferences.  The exact parts of the uniform required are different for the lower and upper ranks, see uniform section below.

Board of Review

Boards of Review are also a part of rank advancement.  Committee members interview boys who have passed their Scoutmaster conferences to both formalize their achievements and to obtain feedback about the troop and the boys experience in it.  The Board of Review is an opportunity to engage in conversation.  It is not intended to be an examination or a retesting.

Court of Honor

The purpose of a Court of Honor is to recognize the accomplishments of the boys.  It is to acknowledge and appreciate the ranks, Merit Badges and leadership roles earned by the Scouts since the last Court of Honor.  They are usually held quarterly in the church sanctuary.