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Introduction to Boy Scout Rank Advancement

As parent of a new Boy Scout, navigating the details of the Boy Scout advancement program can be overwhelming.  But be assured, much care has been taken to provide your son with outdoor skills, citizenship, and tools for leadership and self-management… experiences that will benefit him as a teenager and as an adult.

The first aspect for a parent to understand is the Boy Scout Rank system.  The ranks are designed to introduce your son to basic skills (Scout through First Class), then progress into advanced skills and leadership (Star though Eagle). 

For the early ranks, your son will learn requirements from an older scout. Once ready, the scout will demonstrate knowledge and receive signoff on the requirements in his Scout handbook.  Rank requirements for Scout through First Class may be worked on at the same time, but completion of the rank with Scoutmaster Conference and Board of Review must take place in sequence. The advancements are then documented by the Unit Advancement chair and reported regularly to the Council.

* Starting with Tenderfoot, each of these lower ranks has a 1 month physical activity requirement for a total of 3 months.  There are increasing community service hours and activities requirements as well.

Rank Description Time (months) Service Hours Cumulative Activities

(Camping) Events

1. Scout “Scout” is now a rank, and addresses basic Scouting knowledge such as the Scout Oath, Law, Motto and Slogan.  Also covers the basics of patrols, advancement, and knot skills. 0
2. Tenderfoot Introduces basic outdoor, cooking, tools, first aid skills. Most notable requirement is to prepare and complete a 30-day fitness plan. 1* 1 1
3. Second Class Continues development and depth of outdoor and first aid skills. Navigation skills, beginner level swimming are introduced.  Additional citizenship, safety and fitness requirements. 1* 2 5 (3)
4. First Class Attaining First class rank transitions the scout from foundational scouting skills into the leadership requirements of the higher ranks.  Focuses on expansion of First Aid, Citizenship and Outdoors skills. 1* 3 10 (6)


Once the scout has earned First Class, advancement changes focus to holding leadership positions, earning merit badges and continuing with community service.  Merit badges earned while holding a lower rank will count towards these totals so participation by younger scouts in merit badge classes is recommended at both camp and throughout the scouting year.

Rank Description Position Requirement (months) Service Hours Eagle MB Other MB
5. Star Star is the first upper level rank. 4 6 4 2
6. Life Life is the next upper level rank on the road to Eagle.  Soon after achievement of this rank, a Life to Eagle meeting should be arranged with the unit Eagle Coordinator. 6 6 3 2
7. Eagle Eagle is the culmination of the Boy Scout program and is highly recognized as a measure of leadership skills. In addition to completing all Eagle merit badge requirements, and serving in a troop leadership position, the Eagle candidate plans and executed a significant service project. 6 Project 6 4
8. Eagle Palms After attaining Eagle, the scout is encouraged to continue participating in Boy Scouts by working towards Eagle Palms.  Multiple palms can be achieved for every 3 months’ participation and 5 merit badges earned. 3 5


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