Merit Badges Required for Eagle Scouts

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Scouting is known for camping, hiking, and adventure, but it's also about acquiring the skills to not only survive in the wilderness but to contribute to society as a whole. Eagle Scouts must complete a minimum of 21 merit badges.

That may seem like a lot, but it's just 10 more badges than a Life Scout already has, and chances are, your son has already completed many of the badges on the required list. Your child's list of badges must include these 13 very specific topics.

Required Badges

Below are the required merit badges Eagle Scouts must earn:

First Aid

One of the first merit badges to be offered by the Boy Scouts of America, the first aid badge requires demonstrating the ability to help when someone is ill or injured until professional help arrives.

Citizenship in the Community

Understanding how to participate in local government is part of the path to earning this badge. Scouts may go to a city or county meeting or hearing and then make the case for one of the issues discussed.

Citizenship in the Nation

Standing up for the rights of others and defending our country are key to this badge being earned by an Eagle Scout.

Citizenship in the World

This badge is awarded for being open-minded and seeing past differences to understand how others in our world live. Scouts learn about international law and international organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the United Nations.


The guidelines for this badge quote the definition from the U.S. Department of Education: "Communication focuses on how people use messages to generate meanings within and across various contexts, cultures, channels, and media. The field of communication promotes the effective and ethical practice of human communication."


You must demonstrate not only that you know how to prepare a meal, but that you can store and prepare the food safely. You also must demonstrate knowledge of what composes a nutritious menu.

Personal Fitness

The 12 weeks spent working towards the personal fitness badge should allow scouts to learn the importance of taking care of their bodies and staying fit and healthy for their entire lives.

Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving

Being prepared to help save someone's life who is hurt or in distress in or on the water is the focus of this important badge. It's truly the definition of "be prepared."

Environmental Science or Sustainability

Long before it was a trend, the Boy Scouts organization was concerned about sustaining the health and well-being of our outdoor environment. Scouts learn all kinds of skills pertaining to the outdoors to earn this badge.

Personal Management

"Personal management is about mapping a plan for your life that will involve setting short-range and long-range goals and investigating different ways to reach those goals. Education, training, and experience all help make your goals become a reality. To achieve your goals, you will choose the best path and make a commitment to it, while remaining flexible enough to deal with changes and new opportunities." - Boy Scouts of America

Swimming, Hiking, or the Cycling Badge

Safety and competence in swimming, hiking, and cycling are key to being a healthy and well-rounded scout.


Camping and scouting have been intertwined ever since the Boy Scouts of America organization began. When he founded the Scouting movement in the early 1900s, Robert Baden-Powell encouraged every Scout to learn the art of living out-of-doors. Mastering the tools and skills needed to survive and thrive in the outdoors is at the heart of what scouting is about.

Family Life

Appreciating the precious gift of a family and creating a strong family in the future are lessons and goals scouts are encouraged to learn and aspire to.


Some of these badges are very time-consuming to complete. Personal Fitness, for example, is not difficult, particularly for anyone involved in high school athletics. But it's a three-month time commitment and if your child does not stay on top of the significant amounts of record-keeping, it quickly turns nightmarish. Environmental Science can be loads of fun, but it's almost impossible to do at home.

Luckily, doing a little research with knowledgeable Eagle scouts or their parents can help your child learn tips and advice that can make a huge difference in getting these requirements fulfilled in a timely, manageable, and enjoyable manner. Ultimately, the challenge is part of the appeal of becoming an Eagle Scout.

By Jackie Burrell
Jackie Burrell is a former education and parenting reporter, experienced in issues around parenting young adults as a mother of four.