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Specialist Ratings Source

NOTE: This is no longer applicable to the current Specialist Ratings list on the website updated as of January 5, 2016. The new list is based on information released by Yasser F. Sarona of the BSP. This method below explains how the OLD list was derived prior to the new list now available online.

Several ocassions I have been asked for the source of the list of Specialist Ratings listed on the website. So here it is.

The source of the compiled list comes from the 13 and Above Handbook and the Advancement and Merit Badge Handbook both published by the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP). As everyone is aware, each publication presents its own list of Specialist Ratings and since there is no official BSP guideline concerning which one is correct it is a valid assumption that both list are valid lists.

Prior to publishing a compiled list, a series of elimination needed to take place:

  • Removing all merit badges explicitly required for Eagle Scout. By saying explicitly, it refers to merit badges that leaves a Scout no choice but to earn them. For example, Safety is explicitly required since before you become an Explorer Scout you will need to have this merit badge, while Ecology is not explicity required since you can take Tree Farming instead. We remove these merit badges since these merit badges can no longer be used as one of the three merit badges you use to earn your specialist rating, otherwise you will end up with less than 21 merit badges for Eagle Scout.

  • Removing all merit badges with no official BSP requirements attached to them. In short, these merit badges are not found in the "Advancement and Merit Badge Handbook". We call these the Merit Badges in the Works.

  • Removing specialist ratings that cannot be completed. After removing merit badges from the list, some specilist ratings are left with less than three merit badges under them. Obviously, a specialist rating can only be earned after earning three merit badges and completing a related service project. We call these the Unworkable Specialist Ratings.

After all these eliminations, a finalized list of specialist ratings is published on this website.

Canonical Source

As far as the process was concerned, it was (and is) always important to use what I call "BSP Canonical Publications". What I refer to as canonical are BSP publications that are still in official cirulation and not in any way discontinued or revoked. In short, these publications are still sold at the National Scout Store in the National Office.

So, the old Senior Scout Program Guidebook will no longer be considered canon since it has been discontinued. Same goes for the Service Scout Series of Handbooks which were discontinued in the early 1990s.

Any BSP circulars, memos, and orders are also considered as Canonical Publications so long as they are not rendered void by other BSP circulars, memos, and orders.


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