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Adult Uniform Left Side/Knot Insignia Training Award Knot emblems

Training Award Knot Emblems

Professional Circle (Training) Award
Unit Leader Award of MeritPhilmont Training Center AwardDoctorate of Commissioner Science training recognition
Scouters' Training AwardScouters' Key AwardDen Leader (Training) Award

Scoutmaster/Coach/Advisor/Skipper Award of MeritSea Badge (Training) Award
Den Leader Coach (Training) AwardCub Scouters' (Training) AwardWEBELOS Den Leader (Training) Award
Cubmaster (Training) AwardTiger Cub Leader (Training) AwardPack Trainer (Training) Award

Illustration showing the various training recognition square knot insignia. The insignia above the line shown represent the training awards which will be retained by the BSA after 2014. The other insignia is being discontinued and may not be available for purchase from Scout Shops(tm) or Council trading posts.

Between 2011-2015, the variety of training recognitions will be consoldated in an overall plan to reduce the total number of training awards and to place Cub Scouting training recognitions in line with the other BSA programs' training recognitions. As a result, the total number of "square knot insignia" associated with those awards will be reduced from 15 to 6 (read the notes about the Seabadge and the Scoutmaster Award of Merit below and on its page; the Phimont Training recognition emblem will be discontinued in 2015; and the three Commissioner Awards will be consolidated in 2014). The linked pages featuring discontinued awards and their associated square knot emblems will be retained for historical purposes and will be so annotated on the actual page.

A reminder: the square knot insignia is NOT the AWARD; each page below shows the actual award (medal, medallion, certificate) AS WELL AS the uniform insignia corresponding to the actual award and/or certificate!

A common question I have been fielding has to do with the discontinued awards and wearing their associated square knot insignia:
Pat wrote and asked over on the BSAs SCOUTING magazine blog:

I have a question I have not seen an answer to anywhere. I earned the Webelos Den Leader, Cub Scouter, Cubmaster, and Scoutmaster Award of Merit when they were all separate awards (and knots). I know I can wear them as long as they hold up and/or I can find a replacement.

That is correct.

My question is: Is it proper to substitute the new Cub Scout Den Leader and Unit Leader Award of Merit (with program devices) for those superseded awards?

The short answer is No.

The longer answer is No, you cannot substitute them because you did not EARN the new awards. The Unit Leader Award of Merit requires you to do things which you did not perform or complete as part of the previous Cubmaster (Training) Award or the Scoutmaster Award of Merit. Likewise, while you may have the tenure part of the new Cub Scout Den Leader Award down, there is different performance and training standards which you must meet in order to earn the new training award.

I am sure that your question was answered over on the BSAs Training Times webpage a couple of times since the new awards were introduced. Ill add it to the Badge and Uniform Site this evening so that others can find it. I am also capturing the question for submission as part of the next Insignia and Uniform Guide. Thanks for asking, Pat!!!

The BSA's training awards:

Unit Leader Award of Merit (see note below)
Scouters' Training Award
Scouters' Key Award
Den Leader (Training) Award[discontinued]
Den Leaders' Training Award
Den Leader Coach (Training) Award [discontinued] (see note below)
Cub Scouters' (Training) Award [discontinued] (see note below)
WEBELOS Den Leader (Training) Award [discontinued] (see note below)
Cubmaster (Training) Award [discontinued] (see note below)
Tiger Cub Leader (Training) Award [discontinued] (see note below)
Pack Trainer (Training) Award [discontinued] (see note below)
Professional Circle (Training) Award
Seabadge (Training) Award [cloth emblem/knot discontinued]
Doctorate of Commissioner Science training recognition
Philmont Training Center Award


  • Scoutmaster Award of Merit: The BSA renamed AND redefined the award previously known as the "Scoutmaster Award of Merit", the "Coaches' Award of Merit" and the "Advisor/Skipper Award of Merit" in 2009.

    The new award, with DIFFERENT requirements, is called the "Unit Leader Award of Merit". Previous holders of the older "(Leader) Award of Merit" award may qualify for the new Unit Leader Award of Merit by meeting the new requirements as a primary leader. Cubmasters may also earn this new Unit Leader Award of Merit emblem, certificate and the associated square knot insignia.

  • The Den Leader Coach (Training) Award no longer exists as of 2005; it was replaced by the Pack Trainer (Training) Award and in December 2011, that award went away as well. Holders of the two previous versions of the Den Leader Coach (Training) Awards may still wear the award(s) and their associated square knot emblem(s) on the field uniform until no longer serviceable. Likewise, holders of the Pack Trainer (Training) Award may continue to wear the square knot emblem until it is no longer serviceable.

    Holders of the earlier Den Leader Coach Training Award from the 80s and 90s AND the Cub Scouters (Training) Award may still wear TWO square knot insignia of the same design (because the BSA did a BIG "oops" and acknowledged it) denoting their attainment of the Cub Scouter (Training) Award and the second version of the Den Leader Coach (Training) Award. This is the ONLY EXCEPTION to the "wearing two of the same square knot insignia" policy!)

  • In 2012, a decision was made to consolidate and merge ALL of the Cub Scouting (Training) Awards into the existing Scouters' Training Awardand Scouters' Key Award. In this manner:
    • The Tiger Cub Den Leader, Cub Scout Den Leader, and WEBELOS Den Leader (Training) Awards will be discontinued and merged into a new Den Leaders' Training Award with a distinctive new medal suspended from a blue, gold and blue ribbon. Presently the previous Den Leader (Training) Award square knot emblem will be used for this new award. There are different requirements for the new Den Leader Training Award.

    • the Cub Scouter (Training) Award and the Pack Trainer (Training) Award will be discontinued. Instead, Cub Scouters will be able to earn and wear the Scouters' Training Award.

    • the Cubmaster (Training) Award has also been discontinued and new requirements for Cubmasters to earn the Scouters' Key Award as a Cubmaster have been put in place.

    Small program devices will be worn with either Training Awards or the Key signifying in which program(s) the Award or the Key was earned within. In this way, training accomphishments will be displayed regardless of program.
    Current Cub Scouters holding the present or past Cub Scouting training recognitions may continue to wear the associated square knot insignia representing those awards until the uniform emblem(s) because unservicabale. The BSA will no longer stock the various Cub Scout (Training) Award "knot emblems" starting in early 2013. Cub Scouters may not start earning the old (Training) Awards after 31 December 2012; they may continue to use tenure and performance requirements for the older awards until the end of 2013, in which ALL Cub Scouters must use the current requirements for the various training awards and the Key.

  • The Seabadge Cloth "emblem" will be discontinued on 31 December 2012. There will no longer be an official "knot" or "cloth" emblem for the Seabadge. Sea Scouters are encouraged to wear the Seabadge with all versions of the general field or Sea Scouting uniform (blues, whites, khakis) as prescribed in the Sea Scouting inspection sheet.

Medals associated with these awards are worn immediately above the left pocket. The medallions, if presented/obtained, are worn around the neck of the holder. Modesty says that one should not wear more than five medallion-suspended awards around ones neck. The BSA Supply Group no longer stock the medallions.

The Professional Training Award is awarded with a certificate and knot emblem. There are no other formal recognitions for this award.

The square knot insignia associated with these awards are worn as illustrated below. The order in which one wears training awards rests with the holder -- there is not an "order of merit list" with regard to training award emblems. Holders of the Seabadge may choose to wear the trident cloth insignia piece associated with the Seabadge alongside other square knot insignia; or may choose to wear the silver metallic Seabadge without the cloth insignia piece.

If the actual Seabadge is worn, it is centered above the "Boy Scouts of America" or "Sea Scouting BSA" strip (and above any interpreter strips) on the RIGHT pocket of any version of the field uniform, the green Venturing uniform or the older Exploring field uniform. The Seabadge may also be worn as a lapel pin worn on the right lapel of the traditional Scouting blue blazer.

The Den Leader's Training Award, the Scouters' Training Award, Professional Circle (Training) Award, and the Scouters' Key Award are the only training award "knot emblems" which may have devices attached to the knot emblems signifying under which program(s) the Award was earned in. These same devices are attached to the medal for the Den Leaders' Training Award, the Scouters' Training Award and/or Scouters' Key. More information on how these devices are worn are found on this page.

Page set-up:

Each of these pages is set up with a full color scan or illustration of the award -- the actual award, not just the knot emblem representing the award or recognition. Where these items are worn Above in the red circle, is where such uniform items (the "square knot insignia" go on the uniform; more information about how to wear the various knot emblems are found on this page.

Description: Here you will find a description of what the award looks like and some background as to why the color(s) were chosen for the uniform knot emblem.

Worn by: Here you will find information on who wears the knot emblem; for the most part, male and female volunteers and professionals who have met the requirements for the award and who were awarded the training recognition wears the uniform cloth emblem (the "square knot") on the field uniform informally; and wears the medal or medallion during formal occasions or events.

A note to Venturing/Sea Scouting leaders: some of the knot emblems shown here were available in background colors matching the color of the uniform shirt (kelly green for Venturing, white or dark blue for Sea Scouting). These variations on the khaki-tan knot emblems no longer exist from the BSA's Supply Group. They may be available from third-parties but be advised that unless approved by your Council's Scout Executive, the wearing of such third-party or unofficial insignia is in violation of BSA uniform and insignia policies even if it "matches the shirt color" or "looks good".

(Hey! I'm just the messenger, okay?? *smiling*)

Earned or Received: Earned (all of the training award recognitions are earned)

Status: Here you will find the status of each training recognition. In several cases, there will be a notation that the award will be discontinued on a certain date and replaced or consolidated into other training recognitions.

Here is where you will find the application or additional information about the training recognition

Also, the certificate which (should!) accompany the Award medal and/or uniform emblem(s) is shown.

Background: Here you will find background and history of the award and variations of the Award and links to other information. As you see, each of the above training award recognitions now have their own page, for ease of printing and inserting into a binder or handout. The word "Training" is sometimes in parentheses (e.g. Pack Trainer (Training) Award) because the BSA previously de-emphasized the Cub Scout training recongnitions in favor of performance awards. Either term is correct, however, because all of these awards are catagorized as "training awards" and not as "service awards."

Rarity of Award: Finally, here is where the collectors of such items will find information about the estimated number of knot emblems or how rare or not the knot emblem is.


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Credits: Scans courtesy of Mike Walton.

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