Guide to Advancement

Because rank badges are a special and protected achievement for a Scout, the BSA and Council Advancement Committee operate under a strict set up guidelines and policies. This not only ensures consistency of the requirements being met, but also prevents those that may not have legitimately earned a badge from obtaining them.

The Guide to Advancement published by the National Council, BSA includes the policies and interpretations of advancement guidelines and is the single source for advancement procedures.

Here are some important highlights from the guide that are some of the most requested clarifications:

  • All requests for badges and awards must be accompanied by a completely filled out Advancement Report signed by the unit advancement chairman and/or Board of Review member as indicated. The Dan Beard Council Advancement Committee has also approved Troopmaster Advancement reports as an official Unit Advancement Report. If used, two copies must be submitted to the council service center.
  • Obtaining advancement without submitting advancement reports, stockpiling awards, or falsifying advancement reports may result in an incomplete or inaccurate advancement record for the Scout involved. Such inaccuracies may make approval of Eagle Scout or other special awards requiring advancement verification difficult or impossible.
  • The award cards (not the badge itself) shall be considered the official record of advancement for all Scouts. Requests for replacement card or badges may require verification.
  • All applicants for badges and awards must be currently registered in the unit through which the award is being sought. Requests for the Bobcat and Scout badges will be checked against the unit registration records before being issued. No badges cab be issued until the Scout’s application has been received and processed by the Scout Service Center.
  • All Merit Badge Counselors must be currently registered with the BSA through the local council.
  • All BSA adult leaders, including Merit Badge Counselors, are required to complete Youth Protection Training. One-on-one merit badge counseling is not appropriate.
  • Approval of the Eagle Award is the responsibility of the district advancement chairperson and the National Council of the BSA.
  • The unit advancement chairperson should serve as chairperson at the Eagle Board of Review.
  • Boards of Review for Eagle should be conducted after verification of all required documents by Council Service Center personnel.
  • Eagle Courts of Honor are the responsibility of the unit committee.


It is the belief of the Council Advancement Committee that the timely presentation of rank is one of the most important elements of retaining a young person in Scouting. Likewise, properly reporting achievements is essential to ensuring a complete record of a Scout’s accomplishments. Not only is reporting required for the purchase of any restricted badges at the Scout Shop, but this also ensures a Scout’s profile will carry with them in the case of a transfer to another unit or council. Advancement reporting is also required to accurately measure Journey to Excellence scores.

The Council Advancement Committee has prepared a flowchart to help illustrate how advancements should be reported and recognized.