Life is the second-highest rank attainable, above Star and below Eagle. Life is awarded when the Scout serves actively in the troop, team or crew, serves in a position of responsibility for six months, and performs six hours of community service.[6] A Scout must also earn five merit badges (at least three of which must be required for the rank of Eagle) for a total of 11, including the six previously earned. Finally, the Scout must pass a Scoutmaster conference, and board of review.

Life was originally lower than Star, and originally required earning five specific merit badges concerned with health and fitness (First Aid, Lifesaving, Public Health, Personal Health and Athletics). The ranks were switched in the 1920s, following a decision to recognize the five-pointed star as a symbol of the five badges needed to earn that rank. The Life heart came to symbolize achievement in health and fitness, as the First Aid merit badge was required for both Life and Eagle until 1972, when it became required for all ranks above First Class.