About Being a Merit Badge Counselor

Share Your Knowledge With Scouts

Merit badge counselors teach Scouts a variety of skills. From American Business to Woodwork, there's a badge for everything. All merit badge counselors must be registered with the Boy Scouts of America and approved by the council advancement committee for each badge listed on the Merit Badge Counselor Information form.

Guidelines for Merit Badge Counseling

It is an expectation of the Northern Star Advancement Committee that the Merit Badge Program puts forward the best possible learning experience for all Scouts that are served. To do so the Northern Star Advancement committee outlines the following guidelines for Merit Badge Counselors:

  • All Merit Badge Counselors must stay current with Youth Protection Training in order to work with youth and reregister annually on June 1.
  • It is an expectation that all merit badge counselors understand their role and all policies regarding the merit badge counseling process. A review of Section 7 of the Guide to Advancement and Guide to Safe Scouting and taking the 30-minute online Merit Badge Counselor Training at my.scouting.org is the easiest way to do so.
  • Merit Badge Counselors wishing to counsel 20 or more merit badges must receive special approval from the Northern Star Advancement Committee to do so. All volunteers requesting to counsel more than 20 merit badges will have an individual from our Council Advancement Committee contact them to personally discuss their qualifications and review the reason it is necessary.
  • Merit badge counselors may drop and add merit badges to their list throughout the year to meet the needs of the youth in the area they serve.


A qualified merit badge couselor is

  • At least 18 years old
  • Registered with the Boy Scouts of America
  • Completes and maintains current Youth Protection training status
  • Has the skills and education in the merit badge subjects covered

To get started, fill out the merit badge counselor Information form No. 34405 and attach the BSA Adult Application indicating position 42 with the signed Disclosure Form. There is no charge to register as a merit badge counselor. A copy of that form can be found on this page in the related section.

If you are NOT already a registed member with the Boy Scouts of America, you can join in two ways:

  1. Register as an adult leader with a local pack or troop on our Joining website
  2. Join as a Merit Badge Counselor only, which requires filling out an Adult Leader Application Form found on the forms section of our website. There are both English and Spanish versions available.

Submit all forms to:

Northern Star Scouting - Attn Registrar
6202 Bloomington Rd
Fort Snelling, MN 55111

or use the contact information on this page.

After being approved by the Council Advancement Committee, you will be added to the Northern Star Scouting merit badge counselor list.

Adding and Subtracting Merit Badges

You can add or remove badges from your original list at any time. Just fill out the Merit Badge Counselor Information form and mark "A" for add and "D" for drop. Bring, mail or email the final form to the council office.

Renewal Process

Each year, we communicate with all merit badge counselors to confirm our records. All merit badge counselor who have lapsed in Youth Protection Training will be removed and communicated with via email about how to reregister.

Effective starting August 1, 2023, National BSA will require all Merit Badge Counselors who are not already in a paid registration with the BSA to register and pay an annual membership fee of $25. This annual fee applies only to Merit Badge Counselors who are not already paid leaders. Any primarily registered Merit Badge Counselor who have a current registration prior to July 31, 2023 will not have to pay the fee until after their current registration expires in 2024. All paid registrations will be for a 12 month period from the date of registration.

How to Stop Being a Merit Badge Counselor

We're sorry to see you go, but if you decide that you can no longer be a counselor please call and talk to one of our registrars to expire your membership at 612-261-2304.

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