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Eagle Scout Requirements Comparison

Eagle Scout Requirements

A Comparison of the BSA's Eagle Requirements since 1911

Eagle Scout is just about the most significant accomplishment a boy can do while he is a boy. The honor has become prestigious because of the example past Eagles have set in adult life.

Here are the requirements for the BSA's highest rank since its creation in 1911. By my count, there have been about 11 different sets of requirements, though changes were often minimal. I have also indicated the theoretical minimum time it would take to earn Eagle based on the requirements for all ranks. A boy could begin his advancement toward Eagle when he became a Scout (age 12 until 1949, age 11 until 1972, about age 10-1/2 since). Until 1952, adults could also earn Eagle; since then the opportunity to earn the award stops at age 18.

Of the original 1911 requirements, an Eagle Scout in 2000 will still have to earn First Class, still have to earn a total of 21 merit badges, and still have to earn First Aid merit badge and Personal Health (now called Personal Fitness) merit badge. Lifesaving is now optional, and Athletics and Public Health are no longer required.

1910

The BSA comes into existence. For the first few months, the highest rank is First Class.

1911 Eagle Requirements

The BSA adds three higher ranks for earning merit badges beyond First Class: Life, Star, and Eagle (Star was switched before Life in 1922 because the five points of the Star could symbolize the five merit badges required for the rank).

Could possibly be earned while still age 12 (only built-in time limit is a 1-month minimum time from Tenderfoot to Second Class)
No maximum time limit or age

1914 Eagle Requirements

[increased the required list to 11 badges by adding 6 badges to the 5 formerly required for Life]

Could possibly be earned while still age 12 (only built-in time limit is a 1-month minimum time from Tenderfoot to Second Class)
No maximum time limit or age

1916 Eagle Requirements

[made Physical Development optional along with Athletics; added Civics]

Could possibly be earned while still age 12 (built-in time limits add up to 3 months: 1 month minimum time from Tenderfoot to Second Class, plus 2 months from Second Class to First Class)
No maximum time limit or age

1927 Eagle Requirements

[required 1 year active service as First Class Scout]

Could possibly be earned while age 13 (built-in time limits add up to 15 months: 1 month minimum time from Tenderfoot to Second Class, 2 months from Second Class to First Class, plus 1 year from First Class to Eagle)
No maximum time limit or age

1936 Eagle Requirements

[for the first time, required earning Star and Life ranks; added Safety]

Could possibly be earned while age 13 (built-in time limits add up to 15 months: 1 month minimum time from Tenderfoot to Second Class, 2 months from Second Class to First Class, 3 months to Star, 3 months to Life, and 6 months to Eagle)
No maximum time limit or age until 1952 when age 18 became the upper limit

1958 Eagle Requirements

[now it gets complicated—a maze of merit badge options adding up to 16 required badges (from a list of 65 badge choices!) and 5 other badges; plus the first requirement to provide leadership and give service]

Could possibly be earned while age 12 (time limits to First Class dropped; built-in time limits add up to 12 months: 3 months to Star, 3 months to Life, and 6 months to Eagle)
Maximum time limit—7 years (age 18)

1965 Eagle Requirements

[eliminates the complex merit badge list and returns to a simple list of 11 required badges; requires specific leadership and a community service project]

Could possibly be earned while age 12 (built-in time limits add up to 14 months: 1 month minimum time from Tenderfoot to Second Class, 1 month from Second Class to First Class, 3 months to Star, 3 months to Life, and 6 months to Eagle)
Maximum time limit—7 years (age 18)

1970 Eagle Requirements

[alphabetized the required list of badges; Conservation of Natural Resources replaces Soil and Water Conservation]

Could possibly be earned while age 12 (built-in time limits add up to 15 months: 1 month minimum time from Tenderfoot to Second Class, 2 months from Second Class to First Class, 3 months to Star, 3 months to Life, and 6 months to Eagle)
Maximum time limit—7 years (age 18)

1972 Eagle Requirements

[increased total badges required to 24, reflecting the new requirement to earn 5 merit badges for First Class; dropped Camping, Cooking, Nature; renamed/updated Conservation of Natural Resources as Environmental Science; added Citizenship in the World (formerly World Brotherhood), Communications, Personal Management (formerly Personal Finance), and optional Emergency Preparedness and Sports; made Swimming, Lifesaving, and Personal Fitness optional; for the first time, permitted a boy to earn Eagle Scout without knowing how to swim and without having any particular outdoor or camping experience; no longer refers to troop offices as "leadership", but simply as "position"]

Could possibly be earned while not quite 13 (built-in time limits add up to 24 months: 2 months minimum time from joining until Tenderfoot, 3 months from Tenderfoot to Second Class, 3 months from Second Class to First Class, 4 months to Star, 6 months to Life, and 6 months to Eagle)
Maximum time limit--up to 7-1/2 years (age 18)

1978 Eagle Requirements

[reduced the Eagle total back to 21 merit badges; restored Camping to the required list]

Could possibly be earned while not quite 12 (built-in time limits add up to 22 months: 2 months minimum time from joining until Tenderfoot, 2 months from Tenderfoot to Second Class, 2 months from Second Class to First Class, 4 months to Star, 6 months to Life, and 6 months to Eagle)
[In 1989, the time limits to First Class were removed, but earning First Class requires attending 3 overnight campouts plus 7 other activities, effectively setting about a 3-month minimum requirement to reach First Class]
Maximum time limit—up to 7-1/2 years (age 18)

1999 Eagle Requirements

[made Personal Fitness mandatory for the first time since 1972; dropped Safety and Sports as Eagle badges; added Hiking and Cycling as optional Eagle badges]

Could possibly be earned while not quite 12 (built-in time limits add up to about 19 months: approximately 3 months minimum to First Class because of the 3 campout/7 activity requirement, plus 4 months to Star, 6 months to Life, and 6 months to Eagle)
Maximum time limit—up to 7-1/2 years (age 18)



Yours in Scouting Spirit,
John
John M. Papp
"Nendawen" ~The Torch Carrier "He who shows the Way."
Eagle Scout Class of 1977
Scoutmaster of Troop 357 Rotterdam-Schenectady, New York
2001 National Jamboree "Jambo TODAY" Newspaper Photo Editor
Schenectady District Email Administrator
 
Web Sites at: 
                     John's General Entrance
                     Troop 357 Website 
                     Schenectady District BSA
 

 

 

 

"Since 9-11, America is coming back to the values that scouting has never left!"
~J.M. Papp
 
 
 
 
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