Information for Merit Badge Counselors

The merit badge counselor is a key player in the Boy Scout advancement program. Whatever your area of expertise or interest—whether it is a special craft or hobby (basketry, leatherwork, coin collecting), a profession (veterinary medicine, aviation, engineering), or perhaps a life skill (cooking, personal management, communications)—as a merit badge counselor, you can play a vital role in stirring a young man's curiosity about that particular topic. By serving as a merit badge counselor, you offer your time, knowledge, and other resources so that Scouts can explore a topic of interest.

If you are not yet a merit badge counselor, it is easy to become one. There are Six Basic Steps:

1.  Review the the following materials about Merit Badges and Information for Merit Badge Counselors found on the National BSA website:External Link

Boy Scouts of America Merit Badges webpageExternal Link

Boy Scouts of America (Guide for) Merit Badge Counselors webpageExternal Link

2.  Complete BSA Youth Protection Training (YPT).External Link

The Boy Scouts of America seeks to create a safe environment for young people and adult leaders to enjoy the program and related activities. BSA Youth Protection Training helps preserve that environment.

After completing the training, be sure to print a copy of your BSA Youth Protection Training completion certificate to include with items 3, 4 & 5 below.

3.  Comply with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law.

In accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, all merit badge counselors must have their current Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check, Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance, and FBI Criminal History Record (if NOT a PA resident continuously for the past ten years), or Disclosure Statement Application for Volunteers (if a PA resident continuously for the past ten years) on file at the council office.  If you do not have these clearance documents on file, you must submit them with your BSA Merit Badge Counselor Application. You should contact the Council Service Center if you are confused about what clearance documents you must submit to be approved as a Merit Badge Counselor. You can access council policy and find specific details on how to complete the required background clearances by clicking on the “PA Child Protective Services Act" drop-down link in the "Resources/Forms" menu item in the blue menu bar on the top of every page in this website.

4. Complete a BSA Adult Application to register with the Boy Scouts of America

The application can either be obtained from the Council Service Center or by downloading the form by clicking the link above.

Note that individuals are expected to complete BSA Youth Protection Training PRIOR to submitting a leadership application.

Also note that every applicant is screened to insure adherence to BSA Membership Standards.

5. Complete a BSA Merit Badge Counselor Application to apply to be a counselor for specific merit badges

This application may be completed online and then printed or emailed.

IMPORTANT - This specially designed application cannot be opened via a browser. To DOWNLOAD this file, please use the following procedure:

  • RIGHT-CLICK Here to DOWNLOAD the BSA Merit Badge Counselor Application
  • Once the dialog box appears, click on "save target as" (MAC users click on "save link as")
  • Another dialog box will then appear for you to name your "save as" file and choose where on your computer you would like to save the file. Once you have saved the application to your computer, you can double-click on that file to open it, just like you would any other document. 

6. Turn-in above items 2, 3, 4 & 5 to the Council Service Center:

  • Your certificate of completion of Youth Protection Training (item 2. above)
  • Clearance documents not on file at the council office (item 3. above)
  • A completed BSA Adult Application (item 4. above), and
  • A completed Merit Badge Counselor Application (item 5. above).

You may begin counseling after you have been notified that your application has been accepted & processed.

Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns

If you have a concern about a Merit Badge Counselor or Merit Badge counseling procedure, you may use the form below, to report this concern to either the council or your district's advancement committee.

   Reporting Merit Badge Counseling Concerns

   (See IMPORTANT Note in Item 5, which provides further directions for downloading this file)