Merit Badge Difficulty Table 08-15-14
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Mr. D's Merit Badge Review
as of 8/15/2014
Merit Badge#RqmntsDifficultyDurationPrereqsComments
AMERICAN BUSINESS6Hard3 MonthsnoneWould go great with school economics course.  What makes this "hard" is running a business for 3 months, otherwise it is easy to medium.
AMERICAN CULTURES5Medium1-3 MonthsnoneDuration is mostly logistics - this one takes some planning.
AMERICAN HERITAGE6+Medium2-3 MonthsnoneWould go great with an American History class.  A fair bit of planning and reporting required.
ANIMAL SCIENCE6Easy1 MonthnoneSome planning and visits, but most information is in an encyclopedia or library book.
ARCHAEOLOGY11Hard2-5 MonthsnoneVery involved.  Need to do research, reports, presentations and visits.  Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones movies won't count as requirements, but they will help make it more interesting.
AMERICAN LABOR9Medium1 MonthnoneGood companion to American Business MB, requires a bit of writing and research, but nothing too difficult.
ARCHERY5Medium1-4 WeeksnoneSkill required!  But fun to learn and do.  Good summer camp badge.
ART5Easy1 WeeknoneGood first merit badge - they don't get any easier than this ... fun too.
ARCHITECTURE5Medium1 MonthnoneLots of cool PC tools to help, involves interviews.  Be sure to ask the architects why they almost always under estimate the cost! Pamphlet combined with Landscape Architecture in 2009.
ASTRONOMY9+Medium1-2 MonthsnoneFairly involved and requires planning.  Good camp or troop badge. So is Pluto a planet? 
AUTOMOTIVE MAINTENANCE12+Hard2-5 Months15-16ishThis will be invaluable later (when you need to get that thingy to stop making that noise, etc.), but not of much interest until around driving age. Revamped in 2009.
ATHLETICS6Medium1-3 MonthsnoneA scout is physically fit ... and this newly updated badge will prove it.  Takes some planning and scheduled events.
AVIATION5Medium1-3 MonthsnoneSome of this is in you Webelos book!  Revisions make this a solid "medium" and does require some planning and project work.
BASKETRY3Easy1-3 DaysnoneAs easy as they get!
BACKPACKING11+Medium3 MonthsSome First AidNot difficult, but time consuming.  Good start possible at summer camp.
BIRD STUDY8Medium1-12 WeeksnoneLots to study, but not too involved.
BUGLING6Medium3 MonthsnoneGood one for brass players in band, but most can learn a bugle.  3 months of bugling required.
CAMPING (E)10+Medium1-2 YearsnoneMost requirements are simple, but to get in all the campouts takes time.  Keep track of all campouts and around 1st Class or Star should have most done.  Rewritten in 2006, although not much changed.
CANOEING10+Medium1-4 WeeksFirst AidFirst Aid will cover CPR and other first aid issues and 1st Class requires basic swimming skills.  Otherwise, enjoy the ride!
CHEMISTRY7+Medium2-8 Weeks
Science in School
A good one to do with High School Chemistry or Science class.
CINEMATOGRAPHY (replaced - Moviemaking)4Easy1-4 WeeksnoneThe hard part might be finding the merit badge counselor, but otherwise this is a fairly easy one.
CHESS6+Medium1-4 WeeksnoneA good introductory badge requiring you to learn the basics and some history of the game, but overall it never says you have to be good at playing the game <g>!
CITIZENSHIP - Community (E)8+Medium1-4 WeeksnoneA good one to do with Jr. High or High School government class.  Eagle Required.
CITIZENSHIP - Nation (E)8+Medium1-4 WeeksnoneA good one to do with Jr. High or High School government class.  Eagle Required.
CITIZENSHIP - World (E)7+Medium1-4 WeeksnoneRewritten in 2006 and seems easier, but overall is still a "medium" rating.  Again a good one to do with Jr. High or High School government class.  Eagle Required.
CLIMBING12+Medium1-12 WeeksnoneSome knots and climbing required.  Good one for summer camp or high adventure campout.
COIN COLLECTING10+Medium1-12 WeeksnoneApparently the zealots were not content with 4 requirements, now there are 10.  Helps to already have a collection started.
COMMUNICATIONS (E)9Easy1-4 WeeksnoneGood summer camp or merit badge trail activity ... I'd tell you more, but that's your job!
COLLECTIONS9+Medium1-12 WeeksnoneCould do in conjunction with coin collecting ... or drier lent ... or even something useful!  Fun for us packrats!
COMPOSITE MATERIALS6+Medium1-4 WeeksnoneSeems like a good introduction to the topic without going nuts! A good current materials technology to learn about.
COMPUTERS (replaced - Digital Technology)9Medium1-12 WeeksnoneGood one for school keyboarding or if you already use the computer for papers, internet and other things.  If it's all new to you, this will take some time!
COOKING (E)8+Medium1-8 WeeksnoneNeed to do some planning and cooking, but fairly easy.  This bumped up to medium because it doubled in reqs in '02.
CRIME PREVENTION9+Medium4-12 WeeksnoneLot of trips/visits to plan, so this one will take some time.
CYCLING (E Opt)9+Medium3-6 MonthsnoneLots of bike rides required for this one.  Plan to do it over a year or so. (Eagle Required - or swimming or hiking).
DENTISTRY7+Medium2-6 WeeksteethEasy-to-medium. My dentist would love this one, yours might too!  Do your brush your tounge?  Floss?
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY (NEW)9Medium2-4 WeeksnoneEasy-to-medium. Much of this will be things the computer savvy teenager is already familiar with, but provides a good overall view of the medium. More of a challenge if limited exposure to computers, prgrams and apps.
DISABILITIES AWARENESS7Medium3 MonthsnoneWhile the political correctness runnth over, this is a merit badge to be proud of.  Possibly a life/perspective-changing effort.  Recently rewritten.
DOG CARE10Medium2 Months
Helps to have a dog
A good one to do if you have a dog or like animals.  If you don't have a dog, you might be able to take care of someone else's for the badge.
DRAFTING7+Medium1-8 WeeksnoneShades of my old mechanical drawing class from high school!  Rewritten in 2009 pretty much requiring access to a CAD system and drawing tools.  Might as well do the architecture badge while you're at it.
ELECTRICITY11+Medium1-2 WeeksnoneCan get most of the information from books at the library.  Rated medium because it requires two small projects and has over 10 requirements.
ELECTRONICS6Medium1-2 WeeksnoneGoes well with electricity, project intensive and requires some math.  Perfect if you are taking it in school anyway!
EMERGENCY PREP. (E Opt)9+Medium1-6 WeeksFirst AidThis or Lifesaving is Eagle Required.  This badge is a goes well right after First Aid and Pioneering.
ENERGY8Medium3-6 Weeks
Jr/Sr High Science
This is best done in conjunction with a school science class and requires oral and written reports.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP6+Hard3 MonthsnoneThis badge was probably prepared by consultants (like a zealot only with no stake in the outcome)!  Does require you to start a business, good joint badge with American Business.
ENGINEERING9+Medium1-2 MonthsnoneAnother badge prepared by zealots!  You'll know a lot about engineering and get to do some visits and hands-on projects.  Learn why most engineers should be required to take the communications merit badge!
ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE 6+Medium1-8 WeeksnoneEagle Required (or Sustainability).  Rewritten to be a bit less zealous, which is good.  An important badge, of course!  A good one to do at Summer Camp.
FAMILY LIFE (E)7Easy3 MonthsnoneEarn brownie points at home!  A simple enough merit badge, but it does require some discipline.  90 days is a must for requirement 3.
FARM MECHANICS7+Medium1-6 WeeksnoneIf you live on a farm this is a breeze!  If not, your camp ranger or a local farmer would appreciate your projects on this one.
FINGERPRINTING5Easy1 WeeknoneYou can probably pick up a finger printing kit from your local police department ... and convince network TV to do a CSI spin-off for your home town.
FIRE SAFETY12+Medium3 WeeksnonePyros ... this is the one for you - please!  Not hard, but lots of stuff to do, explain, and demonstrate and includes a visit to the fire department.
FIRST AID (E)7+Hard1 - 4 WeeksnoneYou must know Tenderfoot, 2nd and 1st Class first aid for this, but it's a good way to kill 4 birds with one stone (okay, wound 4 birds and then fix them up).  Requires learning and demonstrating CPR.  Good one to do before many other badges!
FISH AND WILDLIFE MGMT8Medium1 - 4 WeeksnoneGood Summer Camp badge.
FISHING9Medium1 - ? WeeksnoneTime to complete this is mostly dependent on how quickly you can catch two fish.  Scout fishermen are exempt from "trustworthy" only in reporting the size of the fish that got away (simply because it's tradition)!
FLY FISHING10Medium1 - ? WeeksnoneWhy are there 10 requirements here and only 9 for Fishing you ask?  Good question.  If you do both together that would make sense, but this does have some special skills needed!
FORESTRY7+Hard1 - 8 WeeksnoneThis is a good Summer Camp badge.  It requires several "collections"/identifications of plants, trees and shrubs.
GAME DESIGN8Medium1-8 WeeksnoneGame design as in sports, board/card/role-play games, video games and etc. (aka broad definition). If you like games, this is a fun one and a good introduction to design issues, etc.
GARDENING8Medium2 MonthsnoneJust need to watch your garden grow ... and a few other things!  It just got promoted "meduim" due to a few new requirements, but is still a very straight-forward MB.
GENEALOGY9Medium2-4 WeeksnoneThe revision brings this badge down a notch from the over-zealous category. It is now more in-line with an introduction to the topic, albeit involved.  It should be an interesting badge to do.
GEOCACHING9Medium1-4 WeeksnoneThis looks like a pretty fun merit badge. Orienteering skills would help make this more meaningful but not required per se. Some geocaching equipment will be needed but your councellor or camp may have this available.
GEOLOGY5+Medium1-16 WeeksnoneIf you are a rock hound ... this is for you.  Totally rewritten in 2006, it is now a more reasonable introduction.  Still involved, but one you are more likely to tackle, rock-hound or not.
GOLF8Easy1-4 WeeksnoneThis is definitely a fun one, play golf and earn a badge!
GRAPHIC ARTS7+Medium2-4 WeeksnoneGood intro to graphic arts and includes a field trip.
HIKING (E Opt)7Medium1-4 Weeks
1st Class First Aid
Eagle alternate badge (swimming or cycling).  This is a good one to do over a longer period of time based on troop hikes/events.
HOME REPAIRS6+Medium1-4 WeeksnoneMake the folks happy by becoming Mr. Fix-it.  I'm for this one!!!  Thrift vs. the money pit (a house)!
HORSEMANSHIP11Medium2 Months
Helps to have a horse
A good one to do if you have a horse or like animals.  You even get to be "in harmony" with your horse.  You could be the next horse whisperer!
INDIAN LORE4+Easy1 WeeknoneCould go well with history.  This is a nice introductory level approach to the topic.  Kudos to the authors.
INSECT STUDY11Hard1-3 MonthsnoneIf your school biology class still requires an insect collection, this will be a natural, otherwise the bug collection could be a show stopper.  Has definite summer camp possibilities!
INVENTING9Medium2-12 WeeksnoneLooks like a good introductory type badge. Expect to design your own invention and build a prototype.
JOURNALISM5Medium1-4 WeeksnoneThis is a nice introductory level approach and very useful for understanding what you read and hear in the news.
KAYAKING8Medium1-4 WeeksSwimmerSimilar to other boating badges, this requires knoweledge of the equipment and demostrating some skills, but is a lot of fun!
LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE6Easy1 WeeknoneThis is fairly straightforward and a good intro to landscaping. Pamphlet combined with Architecture in 2009.
LAW11Medium2 WeeksnoneI expected a high-falutin' set of requirements, but found these quite reasonable.  A good intro.
LEATHERWORK5Easy1 WeeknoneGood camp badge in terms of having the materials you need, but can be done at home too.
LIFESAVING (E Opt)15+Medium1-4 Weeks
Swimming MB, CPR
Good camp badge for pool, etc.  This is Eagle required, but optional if Emergency Preparedness has been earned.  A good one to do regardless.  
MAMMAL STUDY5Medium1 WeeknoneHas many options, some more time-consuming than others.
MEDICINE10+Hard1 MonthnoneGood introduction, but prepared by zealots.  Lots of details in this one.  Might be able to get into med school after this!
METALWORK5+Medium1 WeeknoneA good one to do in conjunction with metal shop.  Access to proper tools is helpful.  Should be able to forge the tetsighga with these skills.
MINING IN SOCIETY8+Medium1 MonthnoneThis seems like a good introduction to mining. Much of it is reading and internet searching. A few tasks might take some time to complete simply in finding tracking things/people down to talk to.
MODEL DESIGN AND BUILDING6Medium2 WeeksnoneProject planning and model creation required, but a fun one.
MOTORBOATING6+Medium1-6 WeeksCPRThis is a good one to be an older scout, having 1st Class swimming requirements and CPR (via First Aid or other merit badges) - access to a motorboat is required.
MOVIEMAKING4Easy1-4 WeeksnoneThis one replaces cinematography because apparently it was easier to spell. This is a fairly easy one to do and getting even easier with many options for shooting a video.
MUSIC4Easy1-6 MonthsnoneDon't let 6 months scare you off -- one option is being in a band or choir for that long.  Good introduction to music.
NATURE4+Medium1-4 WeeksnoneGood summer camp or merit badge trail activity.
NUCLEAR SCIENCE8Medium1-3 MonthsnoneWould go well with high school science.  Not hard, but involves research and projects.
OCEANOGRAPHY9Medium1-4 WeeksnoneGood in conjunction with high school biology, good selection of options to choose from.
ORIENTEERING10+Medium1-4 WeeksnoneMight be better to be 2nd Class or above, but not essential.  You'll know map reading and compass use well after earning this one!  Still as a male you may only ask for directions as a last resort!
PAINTING8Easy1-2 WeeksnoneAn easy one, but useful none-the-less.  You do not have to paint the counselor's house!
PERSONAL FITNESS (E)9+Medium3 MonthsnoneEagle required.  This'll get you in shape!
PERSONAL MANAGEMENT (E)10+Medium3 MonthsnoneEagle required.  This is medium because it requires planning and discipline, but provides good life skills!
PETS4+Easy4 MonthsnoneEasier that Dog and Horse MBs, but you need 4 months of pet care to earn it.
PHOTOGRAPHY5Easy2-4 WeeksnoneRewritten in 2006 and 2013, this badge is now more of a general introduction to the subject. Should be an easy one to complete.
PIONEERING10Medium1 WeeknoneGood scout weekend or summer camp badge.  Helps to earn this one on your way to Emergency Preparedness and after First Aid (or rank-level First Aid).  If you like camp gadgets, you like this!
PLANT SCIENCE7+Hard1-3 MonthsnoneGood companion to gardening MB.  Does require growing some plants, hence 1-3 Months.  The 2006 rewrite move this into the difficult and "created by zealots" category.  It's more like 15 requirements than 7.
PLUMBING7Medium1-4 WeeksnoneDoes require using a torch and solder, and some plumbing materials and equipment.
POTTERY8Medium1-4 WeeksnoneYou might find a ceramic/pottery shop offering a course or your counselor providing resources to assist you in doing the projects.
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