Scouting Forums

How to sign up a new Merit Badge Counselor

How do we sign up to be a merit badge counselor? We used to have a form we could fill out online. I can’t locate that and it doesn’t appear that Scoutbook has an option to sign one up.

Where do we go?

It depends on your council. In most cases:

  1. Fill out a BSA adult application and use position code 42.
  2. Fill out a Merit Badge Counselor information form (some councils have their own form).
  3. Current Youth Protection Training (some councils require a copy of the YPT certificate to be attached to the application).

The national MBC information form may be found here.

If you are already registered with BSA also fill in your current BSA Member ID on the adult application form.

You got it almost right, but you forgot 2 steps.

  1. Retain a copy of your applications when submitting the originals to Council

  2. Send in a set of the duplicates when Council indicates after you’ve waited 3 months that they don’t have a record of your application.



  1. bug the smithereens out of them for the next month.

  2. Hand deliver another application and walk it through your Council at the end of that month.

I have no information to share.

At least in my council, an MBC application needs to be signed by the District Advancement Chair (DAC). If these are received by the council without the appropriate signature, they are given to the DAC at the next Council Advancement Committee meeting. Depending upon the meeting cycle, it could be a considerable amount of time before they are signed.

To shorten the process, I take any MBC applications I receive to my District Committee meeting or roundtable where I have them signed by the DAC then I turn them in to the Council. They are typically processed within days of receipt when they have all the proper signaures.

Thank-you, you are correct.

Although in my case, it was:

Hand deliver copy # 1;
wait 3 months;
Mail in copy # 2;
wait 2 months;
Email copy #3;
wait 3 months;
Call, and then get my merit badge counselor card dated June 29th (expiring on July 1)
Then re-submit paperwork;
wait 6 weeks;
re-submit again with a scathing email copied to every single email address I could scrape off the council website
got MBC card 3 weeks later.

(But that was faster than getting my Unit Award of Merit. That one took 4 submissions and 2.5 years to approve)

And scout executives can’t seem to figure out why troops don’t feel like they are getting value from their Council.

The Merit Badge Program

Guide to Advancement, 2019, extracts About Merit Badge Counselors Qualifications of Counselors

People serving as merit badge counselors must maintain registration with the Boy Scouts of America as merit badge counselors and be approved by their local council advancement committee for each of their badges. This includes those working at summer camp or in any other group instruction setting, or providing web-based opportunities. See “Counselor Approvals and Limitations,” There are no exceptions. … Counselor Approvals and Limitations

The council advancement committee is responsible for approval of all merit badge counselors before they provide services, although it is acceptable to delegate authority for this function to districts.

How to get started

  1. Complete Youth Protection training
  2. Submit adult application and information form(s)
  3. Complete basic position-specific Merit Badge Counselor Training
  4. More information: Guide for Merit Badge Counselors

Possible Delays

  1. Council has not delegated responsibility to the district advancement committee that meets more frequently.
  2. Applicant has not completed (or have current) Youth Protection training before submitting application.
  3. Application or information form is incomplete. (e.g. Missing required certification(s) for some badges.)
  4. Council waits for advancement committee approval before submitting background investigation to save money.
  5. Background investigation delays. Time to do BI can vary. (Applies to all new adult applications.)
  6. Application is lost between advancement committee and council/district professionals.

MBC approved for badges without being screened

  1. This can occur if the district (or council) advancement committee or chair is not doing their job, or is not provided a copy of the application and information forms so they can screen the applicants. Is your district (or council) advancement committee just maintaining lists of MBCs?

How to make improvements

  1. Volunteer to serve on your local district (or council) advancement committee.
  2. If you are a unit advancement committee chair you can help by attending district advancement committee meetings.
  3. All traditional units should had someone on their unit committee who is responsible for advancement.
  4. If the process is not working in your council, get your council advancement chair or VP for Program involved in reviewing and fixing the process.

My troop was using different software, and we are moving to Scoutbook. I have noticed that none of the current MB counselors for our Troop are listed in Scoutbook. Is it the council’s job to input that information into Scoutbook? Does that happen on the national level? Who should I contact?

Brynne, your council has the option to upload their merit badge counselor (MBC) list to Scoutbook. If the council chooses not to upload the list, individual MBCs can be added, but they must be attached to a unit in Scoutbook. MBCs can be added similar to other leaders in units in Scoutbook.

Jennifer, I may need some clarification on this matter. I called my Council this morning, they stated that they will not be entering MBC into Scoutbook. I then asked if I, as the Advancement Chair, could enter then into Scoutbook. I was told that Council is not supporting that because they have no way of knowing who is trained, and turned in their application. I think that is a conversation with our Council Rep, I will talk to him about that. However, I am a MBC for my Troop. On my account page it says that I am a MBC and the MB are all listed. But when I go and do a search in Scoutbook for MBC’s for a MB I signed up for, then I don’t appear. It looks like only people who signed up to do MB for the entire District show up. Is there a work around?

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