How to Join Starfleet
Starfleet Academy - The most common method of entry to Starfleet as a Commissioned Officer is to go through the Starfleet Academy which consists of four years of a college level service academy. In addition to being commissioned as an Ensign upon graduation of the academy but each cadet (or midshipman) will receive a bachelor’s degree in their qualifying major.
Officer Candidate School (OCS) - Officer Candidate School is another method of entry to the realm of Commissioned Officer. Generally OCS is reserved for those who are currently serving in Starfleet at the rank of PO2 or higher who have obtained their degree outside of the academy.
Direct Officer Candidate School (DOCS) - an Officer Candidate with no previous service with a degree and specialized training that warrants an automatic commission can participate in a Direct Commissioning Program. Some examples would be medical officers and lawyers.
Medical Officers may enter Starfleet via a Direct Officer Candidate School or the Academy. A physician has a bachelors degree (IE: The Academy) and then goes to Medical School which lasts for four years. Medical Officers do earn their commission of Ensign upon graduation of the academy and promote to Lieutenant Junior Grade after graduating from medical school. See below for more information about promotions of Medical Officers within Starfleet.
Warrant Officers generally served as Non-Commissioned Officers prior to promotion to Warrant Officer. To transition to Warrant Officer an NCO must have reached the rank of Petty Officer First Class and are considered to be masters of their rating. All Warrant Officers attend Warrant Officer Candidate School prior to being promoted to Warrant Officer. There are also very limited Direct Warrant Officer Candidate School programs available to those who excel in their placement testing in the enlistment process. No degree is required to make the rank of Warrant Officer.
Non-Commissioned Officers all enlisted in Starfleet and began as recruits who went through basic training or "boot camp". Non-Commissioned Officers are the workforce and backbone of Starfleet and no unit or command can function without them. NCOs unlike officers are highly specialized in their training and the most Senior NCOs normally have more experience than their commissioned Department Heads. All NCOs are promoted to Crewman Apprentice upon completion of their six month basic training course and then go to either their first assignment or "A-School" for training in their specialized rating. Promotion to Petty Officer Third Class is automatic at the completion of "A-School" or upon completion of on the job training or "Striking" a rate aboard their first assignment. Striking a rate generally takes longer than A-school however does not hurt their standings once a rate is struck.
Starfleet often takes transfers from the military of the United Earth and as such related rank and experience translates into the Starfleet rank and position the personnel are eligible for. All incoming transfers are required to take the appropriate training before reporting to their first unit. After reporting to their first unit their time in the military prior to Starfleet counts toward their experience and service requirements for promotions as described below.
Flag Officer ranks are appointed by the President of the Federation and are commissioned officers. Flag Ranks are given based on position and a Flag Officer may not serve in all flag ranks. (IE: You can be promoted from Captain to Rear Admiral or Vice Admiral and skip Commodore, etc. based on a position requiring a RADM.)
Commissioned Officers who come through the academy, a direct commissioning program, or OCS with no prior service all begin at the rank of Ensign. At the 18th month of service generally unless a bad review occurs all Ensigns are promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade. After LTJG for approx 2 1/2 years an automatic promotion to Lieutenant is received unless a bad review is received. After making Lieutenant all following ranks become eligible after serving there years in rank however promotion is not guaranteed. If someone is passed over for promotion more than three times generally they are discharged or retired.
Medical Officers are a special case and these rules supersede the above automatic promotions, etc. Any person who enters Starfleet as a Nurse or Physician shall be a commissioned officer. Someone who enters Starfleet already credentialed will be given a rank as appropriate and will attend Medical Officer Candidate School. All medical students who serve within Starfleet (generally students of the Starfleet Medical School) shall hold the rank of Ensign unless prior commissioned. All physicians in their internship (first year of residency) shall hold the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade. Physicians maybe promoted to the rank of Lieutenant during their residency and will be promoted upon gaining attending status within Starfleet Medical. Any rank past the point of Lieutenant shall be based on supervisory experience and billet need.
After serving for three years as a Warrant Officer an automatic promotion unless bad review received shall be given to Chief Warrant Officer. Once the rank of Chief Warrant Officer is obtained a commission will be received and after an additional three years an application to transfer to the rank of Lieutenant may be granted.
Crewman Apprentice shall be granted upon graduation from basic training, Petty Officer Third Class upon graduation of "A"-School or Striking a rate. A Petty Officer Second Class generally has five to six years of service for promotion. A Petty Officer First Class generally has 8 to 10 years of experience prior to obtaining this rank. Chief Petty Officer will generally have 12-15 years of experience. A Senior Chief 15 to 20 years of service and a Master Chief 20 years or more.