All Eagle-Required Merit Badges: Difficulty Rankings in 2022 | ScoutSmarts (2022)

All Eagle-Required Merit Badges: Difficulty Rankings in 2022 | ScoutSmarts (1)

It’s no secret, some Eagle-required merit badges are harder to earn than others. If you’re interested in difficulty rankings and recommendations of when to complete each Eagle-required merit badge, you’re in the right place!

A number of Eagle-required badges are completed during troop activities or classes, which is a fact I took into account when rating their difficulty. The higher the ranking, the more work outside of Scouting you’ll likely need to do to complete the badge. However, just because a badge is difficult, doesn’t mean it won’t also be fun!

Further down in this article, you can also read my descriptions of each badge, the reasoning behind my difficulty rating, as well as find a link to my full guides on completing each Eagle-required merit badge worksheet’s knowledge requirements. 🙂

Without further ado, the 13 merit badges needed to reach the rank of Eagle Scout and their difficulty ratings are:

  • First Aid: 5
  • Citizenship in the Community: 8
  • Citizenship in the Nation: 6
  • Citizenship in the World: 5
  • Communication: 8
  • Cooking: 7
  • Personal Fitness: 7
  • Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving: 5, 6
  • Environmental Science or Sustainability: 7, 8
  • Personal Management: 9
  • Swimming or Hiking or Cycling: 4, 9, and 9
  • Camping: 6
  • Family Life: 6

You might also be wondering if there’s an ideal order for scouts to complete their Eagle-required merit badges. There is! As an Eagle Scout who’s earned every badge listed other than Sustainability and Cycling, I’d strongly recommend completing the badges in a specific order.

I’ll be grouping all 13 Eagle-required badges into 3 categories: Badges that should be completed by younger scouts (Under 15), badges that should be completed by scouts around the age of 15, and badges that are best suited for older scouts (Aged 15+).

I’d definitely recommend reading the article but, if you’re more of a visual learner, I’ve also created a helpful video (10:19) giving you more details on each of these badges:

By the way, if you aren’t already subscribed to my channel, you definitely should so that you can get notifications, helpful tips, and detailed recommendations on your journey through Scouting! Now, read through this article, and I guarantee you’ll be prepared to earn each of these Eagle-required merit badges and become an Eagle Scout! 🙂

Best Eagle-Required Merit Badges For Younger Scouts (Under 15)

Tip: Click the underlined badge name to check out my ultimate guides, aimed at helping you answer the knowledge requirements to each merit badge worksheet!

First Aid

Overview: The First Aid merit badge teaches scouts the skills necessary to provide assistance, should they witness a medical emergency. First aid is typically one of the first Eagle-required badges most scouts earn, and for good reason. Having a detailed knowledge of first aid will make future activities in Scouting much safer!

Overall Difficulty: 5.
The First Aid badge can usually be completed during troop or Summer camp classes. Although First Aid has a total of 14 requirements, most of these are knowledge-based and require minimal research.

(Video) Ranking The Difficulty Of Every Eagle-Required Merit Badge (Easiest To Hardest)

Hardest Requirement: You’ll need to demonstrate proper CPR technique on a training device to complete requirement 7 and earn the First Aid merit badge. This can typically only be done during an official CPR certification course.

Swimming or Hiking or Cycling

Overview: Earning any of these badges will undoubtedly test your physical fitness and endurance. The reason why they’re best for younger scouts though is that they’re typically done as troop activities. Swimming will likely be the easiest badge to earn, as it is often offered as a class during longer summer camps.

Overall Difficulty: 4, 9, and 9, respectively.
Don’t think they’ll be a simple walk in the park just because these badges are done as troop activities. Hiking and Cycling are no joke, and you’ll need decent swimming skills to earn the Swimming merit badge. You can click here to see a full comparison between earning Swimming, Hiking, and Cycling.

Hardest Requirement: Requirement 3 for the Swimming merit badge has you demonstrating various strokes for 150 yards. However, if you’re able to swim this won’t be too difficult. The hardest requirement for Hiking will be to complete a 20-mile hike. For Cycling, you’ll need to complete a 50-mile bike ride. Yikes!

Cooking

Overview: After you’ve gained some experience camping, it’ll be a good idea to earn your Cooking merit badge. Cooking teaches you proper nutrition, food storage, and culinary safety skills — along with how to cook a camp menu, of course. Cooking is often the first Eagle-required merit badge that scouts earn by themselves, without the help of troop classes or events.

Overall Difficulty: 7.
To earn the Cooking merit badge, you’ll need to make a number of meals in a variety of situations. You also must learn and understand the answers to many food-safety knowledge requirements. If you’ve camped often though, the meals for this badge are pretty easy to complete.

Hardest Requirement: The Cooking merit badge’s requirement 5 has you making three camp meals for your patrol or a group of up to 8 people. You’ll need to make the third meal using either a Dutch oven, a foil pack, or skewers. Hope you’re as hungry to earn the Cooking badge as they are for dinner! 🙂

Camping

Overview: A good mix of activities and knowledge requirements, the Camping merit badge will teach scouts outdoor ethics, camp safety, and proper trek planning. If you can earn the camping badge, that typically means that you’ve reached an advanced level in Scouting.

Overall Difficulty: 6.
If you’ve been in Scouting for at least a year and a half, you’ve probably attended enough camps to finish the most difficult part of the Camping merit badge. After that, earning this badge will be all about gaining more camping knowledge and experience.

Hardest Requirement: You’re required to camp a total of 20 nights to complete requirement 9 of the camping merit badge. You’ll also need to participate in some camping experiences of your choice, such as rappelling or snowshoeing. This should be pretty easy if you’ve been in Scouting for a while.

Best Eagle-Required Merit Badges To Earn Around Age 15

Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving

Overview: When given the option to earn either Emergency Preparedness or Lifesaving, most scouts earn Emergency Preparedness, as EPrep can be completed individually and teaches the skills necessary to prevent and respond to different types of crises.

Most Lifesaving requirements must be completed in a pool with qualified lifeguard supervision. In earning Lifesaving, a scout will learn how to handle different types of aquatic emergencies.

(Video) Eagle Merit Badge USEFULNESS Tier List - For The Real World After Scouting

If you’re deciding on which badge to earn, you can check out my article weighing the pros and cons of earning Emergency Preparedness vs Lifesaving, by clicking here!

Overall Difficulty: 5 and 6.
EPrep mainly consists of straightforward knowledge requirements but requires a scout to earn their First Aid merit badge beforehand. For Lifesaving, a scout must demonstrate various swimming and rescue techniques in the water. Be warned, Lifesaving is more difficult to earn than the Swimming merit badge!

Hardest Requirement For Emergency Preparedness: To complete requirement 1 of Emergency Preparedness, you’ll first need to earn the First Aid merit badge. Additionally, you’ll also need to take part in an emergency service project with your Scouting unit or a community agency to complete requirement 7.

Hardest Requirement For Lifesaving: Requirement 1 of the Lifesaving badge requires you to swim continuously for 400 yards while demonstrating various strokes. Outside of this, you’ll also need to show confidence in the water by completing various aquatic rescue exercises.

Citizenship in the Community

Overview: If you’ve reached the middle of your Scouting career, it’s about time you earn the Citizenship merit badges. Citizenship in the Community will help scouts to understand their government on a local level, as well as identify ways to support organizations benefiting their community.

Overall Difficulty: 8.
Often considered the most difficult citizenship merit badge to complete, Citizenship in the Community mainly requires scouts to complete projects, volunteer in their community, and understand various knowledge requirements.

Hardest Requirement: To complete requirement 7, you’ll need to volunteer with an organization helping your community for a total of eight hours. You’ll also have to attend other local events and develop a presentation to showcase unique aspects of your community.

Citizenship in the Nation

Overview: The Citizenship in the Nation merit badge teaches scouts about the rights and responsibilities of US citizens. In completing this badge, scouts will also learn about the history and present-day function of the American government on a national level.

Overall Difficulty: 6.
Citizenship in the Nation mainly requires you to learn and understand our government’s basic functions, and should not be too difficult to complete. However, you’ll also need to work on a few projects such as touring a national facility and writing a letter to an elected official.

I recommend scouts complete the Citizenship badges around the age of 15 as, at that point, they’ll have likely taken classes in school, such as world history and civics, that would give them a good background to earn these types of badges.

Hardest Requirement: Requirement 8 is probably the most difficult part of the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge, as it requires you to write a letter to one of your district’s elected officials. Later, you’ll also need to discuss any response you receive with your counselor.

Citizenship in the World

Overview: Citizenship in the World will teach scouts about the various organizations that help to uphold international law. Scouts will also learn about various cultures and global events, hopefully becoming more open-minded and accepting of all people in our world.

(Video) Eagle Required Merit Badges & Palms

Overall Difficulty: 5.
Citizenship in the World is often considered the most straightforward Citizenship merit badge and will mainly test your ability to answer knowledge requirements. In fact, the entire badge can be researched and completed in one sitting if you’re dedicated enough.

If you still haven’t earned Citizenship in the World and are looking to easily earn an Eagle-required badge, I’d highly recommend you check out my complete guide, here!

Hardest Requirement: To complete Citizenship in the World requirement 3, you’ll need to research a current world issue along with the various countries involved. This will take a decent understanding of geography and politics, which is why I recommend this badge for scouts who have already taken world history and geography classes.

Environmental Science or Sustainability

Overview: Both the Sustainability and Environmental Science merit badges will teach you important skills about how to conserve resources and protect the natural ecosystem. However, while Sustainability deals more with reducing waste in your household, Environmental Science will teach you about the science behind the way that humans interact with nature.

If you’re deciding on which badge to earn, check out my full comparison of the Environmental Science vs Sustainability merit badge by clicking here.

Overall Difficulty: 7 and 8.
Both Environmental Science and Sustainability are tricky badges that are usually worked on individually. For either choice, you’ll have a balanced mix of experiments and knowledge requirements to complete. Through your experiments, you’ll develop a thorough understanding of how your actions impact our environment!

Hardest Requirement For Environmental Science: Requirement 3 of the Environmental Science merit badge will give you the option to either conduct experiments or write reports. Requirement 4 will have you carry out an experiment by observing a plot of land. Both of these tasks are tricky and will take a minimum of one week to complete.

Hardest Requirement For Sustainability: Requirement 2 of the Sustainability merit badge will be tough. You’ll need to make various plans to implement sustainability into your household by reducing your food, water, and energy waste. At a minimum, this one requirement will take at least a month to carry out and complete.

Best Eagle-Required Merit Badges For Older Scouts (Over 15)

A quick note, I’ve saved these badges for older scouts because they’re typically done individually and deal with topics that are more complex and ‘adult’. You earn merit badges to learn life skills, so to get the most out of Scouting, I’d highly recommend you wait until you’re 15 before starting any of the following badges.

Family Life

Overview: The Family Life merit badge teaches scouts the importance of cooperation within a household, as well as some key skills necessary to one day start their own families. This badge is best suited for older scouts who face greater responsibilities in and outside of their households.

Overall Difficulty: 6.
While the requirements for Family Life aren’t too difficult, you’ll still need to be on top of things to successfully complete this badge. In addition to discussing various topics with your parents, you’re also be tracking your home duties, creating a project for your household, and hosting a family meeting.

Hardest Requirement: For most scouts earning the Family Life merit badge, requirement 3 will be the most difficult. Requirement 3 has you track and complete at least five regular chores over the course of at least 90 days. By staying on top of your schedule, you’ll develop organizational skills and ensure your plans succeed.

(Video) Eagle Scout Merit badge

Personal Fitness

Overview: Personal Fitness is a time-consuming merit badge, but will be much easier if you participate in any school sports. In earning Personal Fitness, you’ll learn the proper way to care for your body, choose nutritious foods, and remain healthy. You’ll also create and follow a regular exercise plan.

Overall Difficulty: 7.
Since most of the personal fitness requirements are about you, this merit badge usually isn’t too difficult for most scouts to earn. The hardest part will be to create and follow a fitness routine for three months. However, if you’re taking a PE class, this requirement becomes much easier to complete.

Hardest Requirement: Requirements 7 and 8 ask you to outline a physical fitness program to follow over the span of 12 weeks. You’ll need to keep a regular log of your activities and results, showing improvement in various fitness categories.

Personal Management

Overview: The Personal Management merit badge will equip scouts with the skills to manage their finances as young adults. To earn this badge, you’ll need to track your budget for three months, as well as identify the answers to various knowledge requirements. Personal Management is one of the most useful merit badges and has many real-world applications.

Overall Difficulty: 9.
It’ll take effort and perseverance to complete the Personal Management merit badge. Requiring a thorough understanding of various financial terms, as well as the completion of a few projects, Personal Management is easily one of the most difficult Eagle-required merit badges.

Hardest Requirement: Requirement 2 asks you to create a budget and track your expenses for a period of 13 consecutive weeks. Outside of that, you’ll need to do hours of research to complete the financial knowledge requirements.

Luckily, I put a ton of work into creating a complete guide to the Personal Management merit badge for you! Check it out by clicking here.

Communication

Overview: The Communication merit badge will teach scouts to structure their thoughts and speak articulately. To complete this badge, scouts must investigate the communications styles of themselves and others, ultimately using these skills to host an event and present on behalf of their troop.

Overall Difficulty: 8.
Communication is often one of the last merit badges that Eagle Scouts earn, and for good reason. It’s tough! Between giving presentations, conducting interviews, and creating written content, Communication is likely one of the most difficult merit badges a scout can earn.

Hardest Requirement: Communication doesn’t have just one hard requirement — they’re all difficult and require hands-on effort. Requirements 2-8 will have you scripting and planning events, attending local meetings, and presenting on multiple occasions. Good luck!

Eagle-Required Merit Badge Difficulty Rank Recap Table

Starter-Tier Merit BadgesMedium-Tier Merit BadgesExpert-Tier Merit Badges
First AidEmergency Preparedness or LifesavingCommunication
CampingCitizenship in the Nation and WorldFamily Life
CookingCitizenship in the CommunityPersonal Fitness
Swimming, Hiking, or CyclingEnvironmental Science or SustainabilityPersonal Management

Conclusion

Do you have your next Eagle-required merit badges in mind now? You should! The difficulty ratings I’ve included come from the experiences I’ve had on my journey to becoming an Eagle Scout, as well as from the input of other scouts online. Hopefully, now it’ll help you out too! 🙂

Great work reading this far! I truly hope this resource helps you on your path to Eagle. If you feel you might need an extra hand though,one of the best ways to ensure success in Scouting is through coaching, along with effective planning, continued support, and friendly accountability.

(Video) Citizenship in Society Merit Badge

That’s why I offer myTrailmap to Eagle Coaching Program! In it, I’ll help you to create a straightforward and reliable plan to complete merit badges and achieve Eagle rank — while still maintaining a healthy school-life balance.So, if you’re wondering if my program is right for you, click thelinkto find out!

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you here at ScoutSmarts again soon. As always, I’m wishing you the best of luck on your Scouting journey!

FAQs

All Eagle-Required Merit Badges: Difficulty Rankings in 2022 | ScoutSmarts? ›

All Eagle-Required Merit Badges: Difficulty Rankings in 2022
  • First Aid: 5.
  • Citizenship in the Community: 8.
  • Citizenship In Society: 4.
  • Citizenship in the Nation: 6.
  • Citizenship in the World: 5.
  • Communication: 8.
  • Cooking: 7.
  • Personal Fitness: 7.

What is the most difficult merit badge? ›

Personal Management* Creating a budget and thinking deliberately about money aren't normal behaviors for teenagers. That's exactly why this merit badge is so critically important. Because this skill isn't covered elsewhere, this merit badge is often cited by Scouts as one of the toughest.

What is the easiest merit badge to get? ›

The 3 simplest merit badges that any scout can earn are Art, Fingerprinting and Photography. These badges require few supplies and can be quickly completed in an afternoon.

What is the rarest Boy Scout merit badge? ›

Let's take a deep dive into the complete list — from 2019's most popular merit badge to its rarest.
...
The alternative top 10.
RankMerit Badge2019 earned
1Fingerprinting36,510
2Rifle Shooting34,049
3Archery31,934
4Leatherwork31,397
6 more rows
Feb 17, 2020

How many merit badges required for Eagle? ›

Scouts need to accumulate at least 21 merit badges before earning the Eagle Scout rank. Of those 21 badges, 13 must come from this list of eagle-required merit badges and the rest can be any badges not used for these 13. (Starting July, 2022, there will be 14 required merit badges, but the total will remain 21.)

What is the hardest Eagle required merit badge? ›

Hardest Requirement: For most scouts earning the Family Life merit badge, requirement 3 will be the most difficult. Requirement 3 has you track and complete at least five regular chores over the course of at least 90 days.

What percent of Scouts get Eagle? ›

Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Scouts BSA program of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). Since its inception in 1911, only four percent of Scouts have earned this rank after a lengthy review process. The Eagle Scout rank has been earned by over 2.5 million youth.

Is Eagle Scout a big deal? ›

Created in 1911, Eagle Scout is the highest rank of the Scouts BSA (formerly Boys Scouts of America). 1 Because it takes years of hard work, service, and determination to become an Eagle Scout, this prestigious milestone is recognized across the country and the world.

Who is the youngest Eagle Scout in American history? ›

Victor Holt Jr. of Troop 20, 12 years old, was advanced to Eagle scout and will be initiated into the fraternity Tuesday… In April of 1921 Holt was the youngest Eagle Scout in the United States.

Has anyone earned all merit badges? ›

There have been 474 confirmed Boy Scouts who have earned all the merit badges.

What is the weirdest merit badge? ›

Here are seven of the very strangest pieces of sash flair on offer.
  • Fingerprinting. Maybe this will finally put a stop to the string of unsolved murders terrorizing your summer camp.
  • Dentistry. ...
  • Moviemaking. ...
  • American Labor. ...
  • Truck Transportation. ...
  • Nuclear Science. ...
  • Pulp and Paper.
Dec 2, 2014

Are Eagle Scouts more successful in life? ›

The experiences Scouts have while on the trail to the Eagle Scout rank benefit them and their community now and also in the future. A recent study conducted by Baylor University, with funding from the John Templeton Foundation, proves a simple equation: Eagle Scout = Greater Success in Life.

How hard is it to be an Eagle Scout? ›

“Eagle Scout” is the highest rank a young person can reach in Scouting. In fact, only around 5% of all scouts who join ever reach the Eagle rank. As such, becoming an Eagle Scout is an exceptionally difficult challenge, even for scouts who can complete merit badges and rank requirements quickly!

Who are some famous Eagle Scouts? ›

Famous Eagle Scouts
  • Neil Armstrong, first man on the moon.
  • Stephen G. ...
  • Steve Fossett, world record holder, first person to circumnavigate Earth solo in a hot air balloon.
  • Bill Gates, Sr., CEO of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
  • James A. ...
  • The Honorable Richard G. ...
  • J. ...
  • H.

Is swimming merit badge required for Eagle? ›

On Jan. 1, 2015, they'll become official, and only Scouts who have already started working with the old requirements may use the old ones. As you know, Swimming's an important merit badge because to earn the Eagle Scout Award, a Scout must earn either Swimming, Cycling or Hiking MB.

Which merit badge is easier environmental science or sustainability? ›

Environmental Science or Sustainability? The Environmental Science Badge requires thorough research but can be finished in under a week, whereas the Sustainability Badge requires less research but will take at least a month to complete.

Are Boy Scout patches worth money? ›

Boy Scouts memorabilia

Those who've held onto their patches and medallions have found those items can become very valuable. Large collections are worth the most. Depending on age and condition, some patches could get bids of around $50 or more, while full merit sashes can go for hundreds of dollars.

Is environmental science Eagle-required? ›

Sustainability and Cooking merit badges will join the list of Eagle-required merit badges over the next 14 months, the Boy Scouts of America's National Executive Board announced today. Sustainability, a new merit badge, will join Environmental Science as an Eagle Scout option after its debut at the 2013 jamboree.

What is the newest merit badge? ›

Beginning July 1, 2022, the Citizenship in Society merit badge will be required for any youth seeking to achieve the prestigious Eagle Scout rank. The Boy Scouts of America introduces the Citizenship in Society Merit Badge, the newest merit badge for youth in the Scouts BSA program.

Should I put Eagle Scout on my resume? ›

Having Eagle Scout on your resume will improve your job prospects and help you stand out from the competition, especially as a young person applying to an entry-level role. The Eagle award demonstrates leadership skills, persistence and character to potential employers, which will raise your chances of being hired.

Can an Eagle Scout award be taken away? ›

The Guide to Advancement makes it clear that no awards can be revoked.

What is the oldest Eagle Scout? ›

Eagle Scout Class of 1927

Lamar Ernest Wallace was born in Romulus, Okla. He received the Eagle Scout award at age 15 — on Sept. 17, 1927, in Gotebo, Okla. Wallace is in rare company both because of his age and because of how long ago he became an Eagle Scout.

What is the weirdest merit badge? ›

Here are seven of the very strangest pieces of sash flair on offer.
  • Fingerprinting. Maybe this will finally put a stop to the string of unsolved murders terrorizing your summer camp.
  • Dentistry. ...
  • Moviemaking. ...
  • American Labor. ...
  • Truck Transportation. ...
  • Nuclear Science. ...
  • Pulp and Paper.
Dec 2, 2014

What is the hardest Boy Scout rank? ›

Communication (Most Difficult Eagle-Required Badge)

Overview: I've always said that Communication is one of the hardest merit badges for most scouts to complete.

How hard is it to be an Eagle Scout? ›

“Eagle Scout” is the highest rank a young person can reach in Scouting. In fact, only around 5% of all scouts who join ever reach the Eagle rank. As such, becoming an Eagle Scout is an exceptionally difficult challenge, even for scouts who can complete merit badges and rank requirements quickly!

How hard is the archery merit badge? ›

Like the other shooting merit badges, archery demonstrates improvement through repeated practice and perseverence. The most fun of this badge is making a real arrow and bow string, and shooting a lot of arrows. It can be difficult to reach the mastery required to score the required points in requirement #5.

Videos

1. 5 Secrets To Ranking Up In Scouting (After Becoming A First Class, Star, Or Life Scout)
(Cole from ScoutSmarts)
2. Aviation Merit Badge
(DVR)
3. Life to Eagle Scout Rank Requirements 3 minute video
(CKScouter)
4. How well do YOU know your Scout Badges
(Big Man in The Woods)
5. The 3 Easiest Merit Badges You Can Earn From Home TODAY
(Cole from ScoutSmarts)
6. How to get Swimming Merit Badge - My First Winter Camp at La-No-Che
(Mac Guzman)

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