Chief Petty Officer is the seventh enlisted rank in the Federation Starfleet. The rank is higher than a Petty Officer First Class and lower than a Senior Chief Petty Officer. The rank is the third highest that can be attained by a non-commissioned Starfleet officer. Personnel having this rank are referred to as Chief in most circumstances.
Unlike Petty Officer First Class and lower ranks, advancement to Chief Petty Officer not only carries requirements of time served in Starfleet, superior evaluation scores by superior officers and Commanding Officers, and specialty examinations, but also carries an added requirement of review of peers. A Chief Petty Officer can only advance after review by a selection board of serving Senior and Master Chief Petty Officers, in effect "choosing their own" and conversely not choosing others - a tradition carried over from 20th century Naval practices. This review happens once every year.
Advancement to the Chief Petty Officer grades is the most significant promotion within the enlisted Starfleet ranks. At the rank of Chief, the enlisted personnel takes on more administrative or command duties. Those promoted to the top three Chief Petty Officer ranks also have conspicuous privileges such as separate dining and living areas. Any Federation vessel of sufficient size has a room or rooms that are off-limits to anyone that are not a Chief (including officers) except by specific invitation. In addition, a Chief Petty Officer, no matter how much he was on "first name" basis with other petty officers before promotion, is always addressed as "Chief" by subordinates and superiors alike.
Chief Petty Officer RanksEdit