Registering to be a Merit Badge Counselor

We have updated this page. The content remains the same but it no longer tracks exactly with the video narrative.

To be a Merit Badge Counselor (MBC) you must be at least 21 years of age and complete the following documentation. 

  • BSA Adult Application form. Use Position Code ’42’ – Merit Badge Counselor. This is a district position; a unit signature is not required. 
  • YPT certificate valid through Dec 31, 2023. Going forward, your YPT certificate must be valid for the duration of your MBC registration.
  • Merit Badge Counselor Information form –  Form #34405
  • Merit Badge Training – Training is required for all counselors. It’s available online at Merit Badge Counselor Training .
  • AB 506 Training certificate
  • LiveScan – Confirmation of a LiveScan background check.

The Adult Application form is required even if you are already registered in some other volunteer role – Scoutmaster, Cubmaster, and so on. Submit your application to the Council Advancement Committee when you have a complete set of documentation.

Note: The Citizenship in Society Merit Badge has a separate procedure. Contact your District Advancement Chair for more information.

Need to update your Badges or Certificates?

For current Merit Badge Counselors who want to change the merit badges they counsel or who need to upload a certificate – follow the link below. In the section ‘What do you want to do today’, click on the arrowhead to display the choices you can see in the image here.

Drop down message for merit badge counselors to select a choice

Completing the Merit Badge Counselor Information Form

Use this form to provide contact information for our Council’s Merit Badge Counselor list and explain what experience you have that relates to the merit badge(s) you choose to counsel.

  • Read the sections regarding qualifications and what you agree to.
  • Fill out all required contact information.
  • List the merit badges in the left column and note whether you are adding (A) or dropping (D) the merit badges.
    Note: At this time, we are limiting MBCs to counsel a maximum of 8 Merit Badges.
  • For each badge, you must list qualifications to support your request. The electronic fillable form allows you to enter a limited explanation on the front. If you need more space, use the back of the paper or additional paper. Providing more information will enable us to process your application in a timely manner. Failure to provide any explanation of qualifications may result in delays or return of the application.

Certain Merit Badges require additional qualifications. They are summarized below. You can find additional information in Section 7 of the Guide to Advancement. Be sure to include copies of any requested paperwork.

How to register

Watch the video for a step by step guide through the steps you need to  follow. There’s also a detailed guide to completing the Information Form below. When you’re re ready, follow the link below to get started. 

Merit Badge Counselor renewal

In November 2022, you will receive a MBC Renewal form to renew for the next 12 months. Your YPT needs to be valid through 12/31/2023, at least, or you will not be renewed. Make sure Council has your current email address and that you are not blocking or unsubscribing  from messages sent from Council’s mailing provider or Scoutbook.

Merit Badges requiring additional qualifications

  • Rifle and Shotgun Shooting – All instruction involving any handling of firearms or live ammunition must be supervised by a certified BSA National Camp School shooting sports director, or NRA Rifle/Shotgun Shooting Instructor or Coach. Shooting must be supervised by an NRA-certified Range Safety Officer. Merit badge counselors who are not certified will not be able to handle firearms, live ammunition or conduct shooting without assistance from certified personnel. Reference Guide to Safe Scouting and BSA National Shooting Sports Manual no. 30931.
  • Archery – Archery activities must be supervised by a BSA National Camping School– trained shooting sports director or USA Archery or National Field Archery Association instructor, or by someone who has been trained by one of the three; or alternatively, the activities may be supervised by someone with at least Level 1 training in the operation of an archery range from USA Archery, NFAA, or an equivalent.
  • Water Sports – Canoeing, Kayaking, Lifesaving, Rowing, Scuba Diving, Swimming, and Whitewater – Merit badge counselors must have current Safety Afloat and Safe Swim Defense training (available online through Please attach a copy of your certifications to the application.
  • Climbing – All climbing, belaying, and rappelling exercises and activities must be supervised by a rock climbing instructor who is a mature and conscientious adult at least 21 years old, and who is trained in BSA Climb On Safely and understands the risks inherent to these activities. Training as a BSA climbing Level 2 Instructor is highly recommended. Someone with certification in First Aid/CPR/AED from the American Red Cross (or equivalent) must be present at these activities.
  • Lifesaving – Demonstrations or activities in or on the water must be supervised by an adult at  least 21 years old with  certification in  Red  Cross First  Aid/CPR/AED or equivalent, and also as BSA Lifeguard or Aquatics Instructor or equivalent.
  • Scuba Diving – All phases of SCUBA instruction (classroom, pool and open-water training) must be conducted by a recreational diving instructor in good standing with a scuba agency recognized by the Boy Scouts of America (PADI, NAUI, SSI, IDEA, PDIC, or SDI, or be a member of the WRSTC). Merit badge counselors who are not certified will not be able to conduct instruction. Reference Guide to Safe Scouting BSA Scuba Policy.

Golden Gate Area Council thanks you for volunteering as a Merit Badge Counselor (MBC) and for sharing your time and talents with the scouts of our Council. As a counselor, you can teach skills and introduce concepts that may change the course of a boy’s or girl’s life. Many scouts have been guided to their chosen careers or discovered lifelong hobbies through the BSA merit badge program. This opportunity would not exist without adult volunteers giving of their knowledge and time selflessly to help shape the leaders of tomorrow. Thank you for your support.


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