The Boy Scouts of America classifies position patches into two types: youth scout position insignia and adult scout position insignia. The organization further divides adult scout position patches into professional insignia and volunteer insignia.
The organization gives youth insignia or patches according to a troop's hierarchy. These positions include historian, scribe, bugler, patrol leader and senior patrol leader. There are also leadership position patches, such as the ones given to officers of the Order of the Arrow and the Air, Explorer, Varsity and Sea scouting programs. Other position patches, such as ones for the quartermaster, assistant senior patrol leader, librarian, instructor and chaplain aide are available as well.
For adult scouts volunteers who join scouting activities, volunteer insignia or patches are given. These are usually parents of youth scouts, and they act as assistant scoutmasters and scoutmasters at local troop levels. Adult scouts who work full-time for the Boy Scouts of America groups wear professional insignia. There are available position patches for scouting executives working in the council, district, regional and national levels.
The organization gives position insignia and patches to members as an easily identifiable way to recognize a scout's rank in the organization. They represent the pseudo-military group structure of the Boy Scouts of America and its focus on ranking and leadership.