Merit Badge History


Since 1910, BSA has offered hundreds of merit badges. The following is a list of all of them, together with the years when they were available. Note that in many cases, the same badge was offered under slightly different names and/or with slightly different requirements. Each variation is listed below, through the most recent. For example "Handicap Awareness", "Handicapped Awareness", and the current "Disability Awareness" have all been used as the name for essentially the same badge.

Since around 1986, BSA has assigned a number to each badge for internal recordkeeping purposes.  Those numbers are shown below, as well.
Badge names in red italic have been discontinued or the name has changed. The 133 badge names shown in bold are currently in use and available for Scouts to earn.

Note that this statement, "Merit badges are never totally retired - If you can find a counselor, find a book that has the requirements, and find the badge, you can earn some that are not officially listed right now." is simply an untrue urban legend. The Guide to Advancement specifically covers this and states the following:

7.0.4.4 - Discontinued Merit Badges
Scouts are not allowed to begin work on discontinued merit badges. If actual and purposeful effort that is more than simply incidental to participation in Scouting activities has already begun by the time discontinuation becomes effective, and work actively continues, then the badge may be completed and can count toward rank advancement. However, presentation of the badge itself will be subject to availability. It is a misconception that discontinued merit badges may be earned as long as the patch and requirements can be found.

Merit Badge Name BSA ID No. Scoutbook ID No. First Offered Last Offered Notes
Aerodynamics     1942 1952 Formerly part of Aviation
Aeronautics     1942 1952 Formerly part of Aviation
Agribusiness 120   1987 1995 Formerly Farm & Ranch Management
Agriculture     1911 1975  
Airplane Design     1942 1952 Formerly part of Aviation
Airplane Structure     1942 1952 Formerly part of Aviation
Ambulance     1910 1911 Became First Aid
American Business 15 3 1967 current Formerly Business
American Cultures 17 4 1979 current  
American Heritage 16 5 1975 current  
American Labor 121 6 1987 current  
Angling     1911 1951 Became Fishing
Animal Industry     1928 1975 Became Animal Science
Animal Science 18 7 1975 current Formerly Animal Industry
Animation 158 152 2015 current  
Archaeology 132 8 1997 current  
Archery 19 + 1911 current  
Architecture 20 10 1911 current  
Art 21 11 1911 current  
Astronomy 22 12 1911 current  
Athletics 23 13 1911 current  
Atomic Energy 24   1963 2004 Became Nuclear Science
Auto Mechanics 127   1992 2008 Became Automotive Maintenance
Automobiling     1911 1963  
Automotive Maintenance 127 14 2008 current Formerly Auto Mechanics
Automotive Safety     1962 1974 Became Traffic Safety
Aviation     1911 1942 Became Aerodynamics, Aeronautics,
 Airplane Design, and Airplane Structure
Aviation 25 15 1952 current  
Backpacking 26 16 1982 current  
Basketry 27 17 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Bee Keeping     1915 1955 Formerly Beefarming
Became Beekeeping
Beef Production     1928 1975  
Beefarming     1911 1914 Became Bee Keeping
Beekeeping 28   1956 1995 Formerly Bee Keeping
Bird Study 29 18 1914 current Formerly Ornithology
Blacksmithing     1911 1952  
Bookbinding 30   1927 1987 Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Became part of Graphic Arts
Botany 31   1921 1995  
Bugling 32 19 1911 current  
Business     1911 1966 Formerly Clerk
Became American Business
Camping 1 20 1911 current  
Canoeing 33 21 1927 current  
Carpentry     1911 1952  
Cement Work     1927 1952 Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Chemistry 34 22 1911 current  
Chess 147 135 2011 current  
Cinematography 126   1990 2013 Became Moviemaking
Citizenship (Civics)     1947 1951 Formerly Civics
Became Citizenship in the Community
Citizenship in the Home and
Citizenship in the Nation
Citizenship in Society 160 154 2021 current  
Citizenship in the Community 2 24 1952 current Formerly part of Citizenship (Civics)
Citizenship in the Home     1952 1972 Formerly part of Citizenship (Civics)
Citizenship in the Nation 3 25 1951 current Formerly part of Citizenship (Civics)
Citizenship in the World 4 26 1972 current Formerly World Brotherhood
Citrus Fruit Culture     1931 1952  
Civics     1911 1946 Became Citizenship (Civics)
Clerk     1910 1911 Became Business
Climbing 133 27 1997 current  
Coin Collecting 35 28 1938 current  
Collections 128 29 1991 current  
Communication 5 30 2010 current Formerly Communications
Communications 5   1965 2009 Became Communication
Composite Materials 137 31 2006 current  
Computers 36 32 1967 2014  Replaced with Digital Technology
Conservation     1911 1952  
Conservation of Natural Resources     1966 1972 Became Environmental Science
Consumer Buying 37 . 1975 1995  
Cooking 38 33 1911 current  
Corn Farming     1928 1975  
Cotton Farming     1931 1975  
Craftsmanship     1911 1926 Became Basketry, Bookbinding, Cement Work, Leathercraft,
Metalwork, Pottery, Wood Carving, and Woodwork,
Crime Prevention 131 34 1996 current  
Cycling 39 35 1911 current Formerly Cyclist
Cyclist     1910 1911 Became Cycling
Dairying     1911 1975  
Dentistry 40 36 1975 current  
Digital Technology 154 148 2014 current Replaces Computers
Disabilities Awareness 60 37 1993 current Formerly Handicap Awareness
Dog Care 41 38 1938 current  
Drafting 42 39 1965 current Formerly Mechanical Drawing
Dramatics     1932 1966 Became Theater
Electrician     1910 1911 Became Electricity
Electricity 43 40 1911 current Formerly Electrician
Electronics 44 .41 1963 current  
Emergency Preparedness 6 .42 1972 current  
Energy 45 43 1976 current  
Engineering 46 44 1967 current  
Entrepreneurship 134 45 1997 current  
Environmental Science 7 .46 1972 current Formerly Conservation of Natural Resources
Exploration 59 153 2017 current  
Family Life 129 47 1991 current  
Farm & Ranch Management 47   1980 1987 Formerly Farm Records
Became Agribusiness
Farm Arrangement     1960 1973 Formerly Farm Home & Its Planning
and Farm Layout & Building Arrangements
Became Farm Arrangements
Farm Arrangements     1974 1979 Formerly Farm Arrangement
Farm Home & Its Planning     1928 1959 Became part of Farm Arrangement
Farm Layout & Building Arrangements     1928 1959 Became part of Farm Arrangement
Farm Mechanics 48 48 1928 current  
Farm Records     1959 1980 Formerly Farm Records & Bookkeeping
Became Farm & Ranch Management
Farm Records & Bookkeeping     1928 1958 Became Farm Records
Fingerprinting 49 49 1938 current  
Fire Safety 50 50 1995 current Formerly Firemanship
Firemanship 50   1911 1995 Became Fire Safety
First Aid 8 51 1911 current Formerly Ambulance
First Aid To Animals   + 1911 1972 Became Veterinary Science
Fish & Wildlife Management 51 52 1972 current Formerly Wildlife Management
Fishing 52 53 1952 current Formerly Angling
Fly Fishing 136 54 2002 current  
Food Systems 53   1978 1987  
Forage Crops     1959 1975 Formerly Grasses, Legumes, & Forage Crops
Forestry 54 55 1911 current  
Foundry Practice     1923 1952  
Fruit & Nut Growing     1953 1975  
Fruit Culture     1928 1954  
Game Design 151 140 2013 current  
Gardener     1910 1911 Became Gardening
Gardening 55 56 1911 current Formerly Gardener
Genealogy 56 57 1972 current  
General Science 57   1972 1995  
Geocaching 145 58 2010 current  
Geology 58 59 1953 current Formerly Rocks & Minerals
Golf 59 60 1976 current  
Graphic Arts 122 61 1987 current Formerly Printing/Communications
and Bookbinding
Grasses, Legumes, & Forage Crops     1938 1958 Became Forage Crops
Handicap Awareness 60   1985 1993 Formerly Handicapped Awareness
Became Disabilities Awareness
Handicapped Awareness     1980 1985 Became Handicap Awareness
Handicraft     1911 1942 Became Home Repairs
Health Care Professions 161 155 2021 current Replaced Medicine
Hiking 61 62 1921 current  
Historic Carpentry 139 129 2010 2010 Historic Program for 2010 only
Historic Pathfinding 140 130 2010 .2010 Historic Program for 2010 only
Historic Signaling 141 131 2010 2010 Historic Program for 2010 only
Historic Tracking 142 119 2010 2010 Historic Program for 2010 only
(Original name was Stalking)
Hog & Pork Production     1928 1958 Became Hog Production
Hog Production     1959 1975 Formerly Hog & Pork Production
Home Repairs 62 63 1943 current Formerly Handicraft
Horseman     1910 1911 Became Horsemanship
Horsemanship 63 64 1911 current Formerly Horseman
Indian Lore 64 65 1931 current  
Insect Life 65   1923 1987 Became Insect Study
Insect Study 65 66 1987 current Formerly Insect Life
Interpreting     1911 1952  
Invention     1911 1917  
Inventing 144 67 2010 current  
Journalism 66 68 1927 current  
Kayaking 149 136 2012 current  
Landscape Architecture 67 69 1967 current Formerly Landscaping
Landscape Gardening     1930 1958 Became Landscaping
Landscaping     1959 1966 Formerly Landscape Gardening
Became Landscape Architecture
Law 68 70 1974 current  
Leather Work     1928 1951 Became Leatherwork
Leathercraft     1927 1952 Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Leatherwork 69 71 1951 current Formerly Leather Work
Leatherworking     1911 1927 Became Leathercraft
Life Saving     1911 1959 Became Lifesaving
Lifesaving 9 72 1959 current Formerly Life Saving
Machinery 70   1911 1995  
Mammal Study 71 73 1987 current Formerly Mammals
Mammals 71   1972 1987 Became Mammal Study
Marksman     1910 1911 Became Marksmanship
Marksmanship     1911 1966 Formerly Marksman
Became Rifle & Shotgun Shooting
Masonry 72   1911 1995  
Master-at-Arms     1910 1911  
Mechanical Drawing     1933 1964 Became Drafting
Medicine 130 74 1991 2021 Replaced by Health Care Professions
Metallurgy     1965 1971 Became Metals Engineering
Metals Engineering 73    1972 1995 Formerly Metallurgy
Metalwork 74 75 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Mining     1911 1937 Became Rocks & Minerals
Mining in Society 155 147 2014 current  
Model Design & Building 75 76 1963 current  
Motorboating 76 77 1961 current  
Moviemaking 126 23 2013 current Formerly Cinematography
Music 77 78 1911 current Formerly Musician
Musician     1910 1911 Became Music
Nature 78 79 1952 current  
Nuclear Science 24 80 2005 current Formerly Atomic Energy
Nut Culture     1928 1954  
Oceanography 79 81 1964 current  
Orienteering 80 82 1973 current  
Ornithology     1911 1913 Became Bird Study
Painting 81 83 1911 current  
Pathfinding     1911 1952  
Personal Finances     1962 1971 Became Personal Management
Personal Fitness 10 84 1952 current Formerly Personal Health
and Physical Development
Personal Health     1911 1952 Became part of Personal Fitness
Personal Management 11 85 1972 current Formerly Personal Finances
Pets 82 86 1958 current  
Photography 83 87 1911 current  
Physical Development     1914 1952 Became part of Personal Fitness
Pigeon Raising     1933 1980  
Pioneer     1910 1911 Became Pioneering
Pioneering 84 88 1911 current Formerly Pioneer
Plant Science 85 89 1974 current  
Plumbing 86 90 1911 current  
Pottery 87 91 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Poultry Farming     1911 1913 Became Poultry Keeping
Poultry Keeping     1914 1975 Formerly Poultry Farming
Printing     1911 1981 Became Printing/Communications
Printing/Communications 88   1982 1987 Formerly Printing
Became part of Graphic Arts
Programming 153 144 2013 current  
Public Health 89 92 1911 current  
Public Speaking 90 93 1932 current  
Pulp & Paper 91 94 1972 current  
Rabbit Raising 92   1943 1993  
Radio 93 95 1923 current Formerly Wireless
Railroading 94 96 1952 current  
Reading 95 97 1929 current  
Reptile & Amphibian Study 96 98 1993 current Formerly Reptile Study
Reptile Study 96   1927 1993 Formerly Reptiles
Became Reptile and Amphibian Study
Reptiles     1926 1926 Became Reptile Study
Rifle & Shotgun Shooting 97   1967 1987 Formerly Marksmanship
Became Rifle Shooting
and Shotgun Shooting
Rifle Shooting 123 99 1987 current Formerly part of Rifle & Shotgun Shooting
Robotics 146 132 2011 current  
Rocks & Minerals     1937 1953 Formerly Mining
Became Geology
Rowing 98 100 1933 current  
Safety 12 101 1927 current Formerly Safety First
Safety First     1916 1926 Became Safety
Salesmanship 99 102 1927 current  
Scholarship 100 104 1911 current  
Scouting Heritage 143 103 2010 current  
Scuba Diving 138 105 2009 current  
Sculpture 101 106 1911 current  
Seaman     1910 1911 Became Seamanship
Seamanship     1911 1964 Formerly Seaman
Became Small Boat Sailing
Search and Rescue 150 137 2012 current  
Sheep Farming     1928 1975  
Shotgun Shooting 124 107 1987 current Formerly part of Rifle & Shotgun Shooting
Signaling 102   1911 1991 Formerly Signaller
Signaller     1910 1911 Became Signaling
Signs, Signals, and Codes 157 151 2015 current  
Skating 103 108 1973 current  
Skiing 104   1938 1999 Became Snow Sports
Small Boat Sailing 105 109 1964 current Formerly Seamanship
Small Grains     1959 1975 Formerly Small Grains & Cereal Foods
Small Grains & Cereal Foods     1943 1958 Became Small Grains
Snow Sports 135 110 1999 current Formerly Skiing
Soil & Water Conservation 106 111 1952 current Formerly Soil Management
Soil Management     1928 1952 Became Soil & Water Conservation
Space Exploration 107 112 1965 current  
Sports 13 113 1972 current  
Stalker     1910 1911 Became Stalking
Stalking     1911 1952 Formerly Stalker
Stamp Collecting 108 114 1931 current  
Surveying 109 115 1911 current  
Sustainability 153 142 2013 current  
Swimming 14 116 1911 current  
Taxidermy     1911 1952  
Textile 110 117 1973 current Formerly Textiles
Textiles   1927 1972 Became Textile
Theater 111 118 1967 current Formerly Dramatics
Traffic Safety 112 120 1975 current Formerly Automotive Safety
Truck Transportation 113 121 1973 current  
Veterinary Medicine 114 122 1995 current Formerly Veterinary Science
Veterinary Science 114   1973 1995 Formerly First Aid to Animals
Became Veterinary Medicine
Waterskiing 115   1969 2007 Became Water Sports
Water Sports 115 123 2007 current Formerly Water Skiing
Weather 116 124 1927 current  
Welding 148 133 2012 current  
Whitewater 125 125 1987 current  
Wilderness Survival 117 126 1973 current  
Wildlife Management     1952 1972 Became Fish & Wildlife Management
Wireless     1919 1923 Became radio
Wood Carving 118 127 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
Wood Turning     1930 1952  
Woodwork 119 128 1927 current Formerly part of Craftsmanship
World Brotherhood     1952 1972 Became Citizenship in the World
Zoology     1930 1972  

Thanks to Steve Henning for the original research used to develop this page.


Page updated on: November 18, 2021



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