Steps of Scouting

steps of scouting
With age, achievement, and experience, Scouts advance through a series of ranks. Scouts plan their own advancement and progress through the ranks at their own pace. With the exception of Cub Scouts, Scouts achieve new ranks by developing new skills and knowledge; having those skills and knowledge tested; going before a board or review; and then being recognized for his or her achievement.

Cub Scouts



BOBCATBobcat Badge

TIGERTiger Badge

WOLFWolf badge

BEARBear badge

WEBELOWebelos badge

Arrow of Light badge

Tigers through Webelos will begin with the BOBCAT rank. It involves learning about the values, signs, and symbols of the Boy Scouts of America and Cub Scouting. While you are working on the Bobcat rank, you may also work on the rank for you age or grade, but you must finish Bobcat before any other rank is awarded.


For TIGER, WOLF, and BEAR ranks, you will complete seven adventures. As you finish an adventure, you are awarded a belt loop that is worn on your Cub Scout belt.


After completing kindergarten or turning 6 years old, you will become a Tiger, then a Wolf after first grade or turning 7, then a Bear after finishing second grade or turning 8.


WEBELOS, an acronym for “WE’LL BE LOYAL SCOUTS,” is the rank for fourth graders. Six adventures are required. To earn this rank, you must be active in your den for three months.


For the ARROW OF LIGHT rank, if you are a fourth graders and have completed the Webelos rank, you may earn your Arrow of Light; fifth graders may work on this rank without earning the Webelos badge. Five adventures are required, and you must be active in your den for six months or be 10 1/2 years old. Arrow of Light is Cub Scouting’s final rank before crossing over to Scouts BSA.

Scouts BSA

In order to join Scouts BSA, you must be at least 10 years old, currently in the fifth grade, and register on or after March 1; or have completed the Arrow of Light Award and are at least 10 year old; or are age 11 but have not reached age 18.

Once you are a Scout, your rank is no longer related to your age or grade. Instead, you earn ranks by developing and demonstrating required skills and knowledge.

There are two phases of advancement for Scouts. In the first, from Scout through First Class Scout, you’ll advance by learning Scoutcraft skills, working as a part of a team, and becoming more self-reliant. In the second phase, from Star Scout through Eagle Scout, you’ll advance as you develop leadership skills, earn merit badges, and perform valuable community service.

SCOUTscout badge

TENDERFOOTTenderfoot badge

SECOND CLASSSecond Class badge

FIRST CLASSFirst Class badge

STARStar badge

LIFELife badge

EAGLEEagle badge

The first rank, SCOUT, is earned by demonstrating a basic knowledge of Scouting ideals and symbolism along with several commonly used knots.

TENDERFOOT, the second rank, recognizes new skills in Scoutcraft, physical fitness, citizenship, personal growth, and Scout Spirit. To earn the Tenderfoot rank, you’ll spend the night in a tent you help pitch, begin learning first aid, assist in preparing a camp meal, and begin learning to use and care for camp tools like a knife, saw, and ax.

To earn the SECOND CLASS rank, you’ll expand your Scoutcraft skills, spending more nights outdoors, building a campfire, planning and cooking camp meals, the using a compass and map, identifying wild animals and plants, and developing swimming and water rescue skills. You’ll also perform community service and begin learning about things like earning and saving money.

Requirement for the FIRST CLASS rank include continuing to build on the Scoutcraft skills learned for the Second Class rank, plus learning about weather, the use of a GPS unit, canoeing or kayaking, more advanced first aid and rescue techniques, and civic concerns like constitutional rights and obligations.

STAR SCOUT, the third-highest rank, is awarded when you have served actively in your unit in a position of responsibility for at least four months, performed at least six hours of community service, and earned six merit badges.

LIFE SCOUT is awarded when you have served in a position of responsibility for six months and performed at least six hours of community service. You must also earn five more merit badges.

EAGLE SCOUT is the highest rank attainable. To become an Eagle Scout, you must earn a total of 21 merit badges and demonstrate Scout Spirit, service and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that you will plan, organize, lead, and manage.

find out more about Eagle Scouts >