Registering as a NEW Merit Badge Counselor
The Chief Seattle Council delegates the responsibility for approving and maintaining a list of current Merit Badge Counselors to the districts. (Guide to Advancement 188.8.131.52)
Merit Badge Counselor (MBC) is a district position, not a unit position.
NEW! As of September 1, 2016 Scouters who are currently registered in a Unit or District position and who's Youth Protection Training is current within 1 year of the last completion date may multiply register as a Merit Badge Counselor by submitting to their District Merit Badge Counselor Coordinator or the Council Service Center a Merit Badge Counselor Information form.
There are four steps for a NEW MBC to register with the BSA and begin merit badge counseling:
#1. Complete the Online Youth Protection Training (YPT) for Boy Scouts
To become a MBC, a volunteer must complete Youth Protection Training (YPT), which can be found on the MyScouting website:
- Youth Protection Training - CLICK HERE
Once complete, print your YPT Completion Certificate, as you must submit it with your application to become an MBC. It is also a good idea to save a copy. If you have taken YPT within the last two years, submit your current certificate. (We ask that everyone submit a paper copy of the YPT certificate, as it is not always possible for volunteers and staff to see your online training records.)
#2. Complete the BSA Adult Application Form
Having completed YPT, you need to complete a new BSA Adult Application, which can be found at this link:
- Adult Application - CLICK HERE
This form is required even if you have other, current registration(s) for positions with your unit or district. You only need to submit a BSA Adult Application once to become an MBC (unless your MBC registration has lapsed). Pay special attention to filling in the "Council/District Position,” as "Merit Badge Counselor;” and your "District Name."
The signature blocks for the unit Committee Chairman and Chartered Organization Representative do not have to be signed. Do not forget to answer questions 1-6 on the right side of the application. Without answers to these questions, your application cannot be processed.
All new MBCs must submit a BSA Adult Application along with the Merit Badge Counselor Information form; however, later changes to add or drop merit badges to be counseled may be accomplished using only the Merit Badge Counselor Information form.
NOTE: The entire BSA Adult Application must be filled in and signed by the applicant, including the Disclosure/Authorization page located before the application form itself. All applicants and currently registered Scouters go through a background check – as noted and authorized on the Disclosure/Authorization page of the BSA Adult Application.
#3. Complete the Merit Badge Counselor Information Form
This form is used by the district to know for which merit badge(s) you want to serve as a Counselor; to show why you have the needed skills, education, or training in the merit badge subjects and that you hold any required certifications (as outlined in the Guide to Advancement) to serve for the merit badge(s); and to approve your request. Approval requires that you have appropriate education, training, or life experiences for each desired badge's subject matter.
- Merit Badge Counselor Information Form - CLICK HERE
Before filling it out, read both sides of the form. If you have any questions or need assistance, please talk with your Unit MBC Coordinator, the District MBC Coordinator, or the District Advancement Chair. If you plan to only counsel within one or more specific units, remember to check the "Only with Scouts in these units (indicate whether troop, team, or crew)” and fill in the unit number(s). If you wish to serve as an MBC for Scouts from any district units, please check the "All Scouts in these districts” and fill in the name(s) of the district(s). Please consider not limiting yourself to serving only those Scouts in your unit. Your district may have very few counselors for many of the less popular merit badges, and you could help Scouts pursue an interest in a subject for which you have expertise.
#4. Submit All Paperwork
Submit your completed BSA Adult Application, YPT certificate, and MBC Information form to your District MBC Coordinator, who will review and approve them and then send the application package to the council office for final approval and processing. If any merit badges for which you are applying require a special certification, submit that proof as well. NOTE: Some units may have a Unit MBC Coordinator who collects and submits the MBC paperwork to the District MBC Coordinator.
- District Merit Badge Counselor Coordinators List – CLICK HERE
- Which District is my Unit in? - CLICK HERE
Please DO NOT take a completed MBC application package directly to the council office. Since the council delegates the responsibility of maintaining a list of counselors to the districts, they are responsible for reviewing and approving applications, forwarding the application packages to the council office for processing, and keeping track of which counselors are approved for each badge.
After your application to become a MBC is accepted by the BSA, you will receive a membership card with your member ID number on it. You should immediately update your My.Scouting.org profile to include your member ID number. This links your online training to your membership record and s units, districts, and the council to verify your training online without requiring paper copies of Certificates of Completion.
Counselor Registration Considerations
- There is no fee for registering as a MBC, even if you are only registered with the Boy Scouts of America in that one position.
- You must be current with YPT in order to work with Scouts, and this training must be completed at least every two years. The council and district may track this requirement, but it is your responsibility to remain current. Failure to keep up to date on YPT will result in being dropped from the MBC list. If an MBC is dropped from the council/district MBC list, the dropped counselor will need to re-register as a new counselor in order to serve again in that role.
- Several merit badges involve activities for which the BSA has implemented strategies to improve safety, improve the Scouts' experience, and manage risks. These activities often require supervision with specialized qualifications and certifications. The District MBC Coordinator will need to verify counselors' required certifications for these badges if certification documentation is not supplied with the MBC Information form. See the Guide to Advancement section 184.108.40.206 for these merit badges and their requirements.
- Merit Badge Counselors are highly encouraged to complete Merit Badge Counselor Training which is offered at the Program Training Conference, by your District Merit Badge Counselor Coordinator at a district training event or by completing this self study.
Useful Links for Merit Badge Counselors
- BSA Guide to Advancement – CLICK HERE
- General BSA Merit Badge Counselor Information - CLICK HERE
- MeritBadge.org Wiki Site - CLICK HERE
- Guide for Merit Badge Counselors - CLICK HERE
- BSA Scouting Forms - CLICK HERE
Annual Renewal of Merit Badge Counselors
All MBCs are subject to renewal each year, at the time of the district's (not its units') annual rechartering. Counselors must be up-to-date on YPT in order to be renewed. Districts will notify all Unit MBC Coordinators and/or individual counselors annually in April-May to advise them of YPT status and give the counselors an opportunity to be removed from the list if desired. Districts should periodically send out a list of MBCs to their units asking for an update. Such unit lists are usually the best and easiest method for districts to accomplish the annual renewal. However, because MBCs are not required to be directly associated with a unit, individual MBC contacts may also be necessary.
District Merit Badge Coordinator
The responsibilities of the District MBC Coordinator are to:
- Receive BSA Adult Applications, YPT Completion Certificates, and MBC Information forms from volunteers desiring to become MBCs.
- Check those documents for proper completion, and review the applicant's qualifications to serve as a counselor for each desired merit badge.
- Verify qualifications and any required training or certifications with the applicant, as necessary.
- Send the application packages to the council office for background checks and BSA registration.
- Track all in-process MBC application packages, pending BSA registration.
- Receive approved MBC Information forms back from the council after MBCs are registered and record (on the district's official "for distribution" MBC list) the counselor's name, contact information, unit information (if any), and badge(s) for which the registered counselor has been approved.
- Maintain the district MBC list and distribute it to units as needed.
- Assist in the annual re-registration of MBC’s as part of the with the district rechartering process.