The OA has over 171,000 members in lodges affiliated with local BSA councils.
The Order of the Arrow membership requirements are:
- Unit leader approval - To become eligible for election, a Boy Scout must be registered with the Boy Scouts of America and have the approval of his Scoutmaster prior to the election. The Scoutmaster must certify his Scout spirit (i.e., his adherence to the Scout Oath and Law and active participation in unit activities). The Scoutmaster must also certify that the nominee meets all specified requirements at the time of this annual election.
- Youth membership qualifications. All members of, or candidates for membership in, the Order of the Arrow who are under 21 years of age shall be considered youth members or candidates for youth membership, subject to meeting the following requirements:
- Registered - Be a registered member of the Boy Scouts of America.
- Rank - Hold the First Class rank of the Boy Scouts of America, as a minimum.
- Camping - After registration with a troop or team, have experienced 15 days and nights of Boy Scout camping during the two-year period prior to the election. The 15 days and nights must include one, but no more than one, long-term camp consisting of six consecutive days and five nights of resident camping, approved and under the auspices and standards of the Boy Scouts of America. The balance of the camping must be overnight, weekend, or other short-term camps.
Eligible candidates for youth membership shall be elected by other youth members in accordance with policies set forth by the national Order of the Arrow committee. Adults may be nominated by their unit committee's in accordance with OA policy and rules.
The induction process, called the Ordeal, is the next step toward membership in the Order. Upon completion of the Ordeal and its ceremony, the member is expected to strengthen his involvement in the unit and encourage Scout camping.
After 10 months of service as an Ordeal member and after fulfilling certain requirements, a member may take part in the Brotherhood ceremony, which places further emphasis on the ideals of Scouting and the Order.
After two years of exceptional service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the national Order of the Arrow committee, a youth or adult Arrowman may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for their distinguished contributions to their lodge, the Order of the Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout camp. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one Arrowman for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.