Age Appropriate Ranks


This is a guide originally based on canon information with the research justification added below. These are recommended ages in regards to rank and a wonderful resource in helping determine the ‘norms’ for a Starfleet character. There are always special cases and exceptions! In particular, the differences in species ages make a consistent scale for requiring ages per rank exceptionally difficult.

It is recommended that this be used as a minimum length of time a character needs to server (or age) in order to reach a particular rank. Extending these times, especially in cases of a species with a longer lifespan, is easier than looking for reasons why a character would spend less time in rank before promotion.

*Original research conducted by Kermit from 38th Fleet “Argo.” *

Rank Time in Rank Age Range Notes
Enlisted Ranks N/A 18+ Only basic training required; many years of service may allow advancement to officer ranks
Cadet 4 Years 18 - 22 Increase to 8 years for advanced degrees (primarily doctors)
Ensign 2-4 Years 21 - 26
Lieutenant Junior Grade 1-3 Years 24 - 29 Starting rank for those with advanced degrees (primarily doctors)
Lieutenant 2-7 Years 25 - 36 Possible low-level leadership; highest attainable rank without an expectation of leadership
Lieutenant Commander 2-4 Years 27 - 39 Mid-level leadership: XO or department heads for ships or small stations
Commander 2-4 Years 29 - 43 Highest attainable rank outside command; ship XO or heads of large departments
Captain 5+ Years 30+ Everyone that permanently commands a ship should have this rank, and the years to back it up


Using the ages and ranks of major characters, from all the major series’, excluding ones that have special circumstances. (Dax’s extra lives, people trapped on voyager and not getting promoted, etc.)



Stated to be a 4-year training program at Starfleet Academy on Earth. There is some precedent for part of this time being spent on field internships in the later years. Medical School is an additional 4 years, but allows skipping of the Ensign rank. (It’s worth noting that this is only for doctors . Nurses are not included in this. Counselors are more questionable. Troi seems to have done extra years at the academy, while Ezri definitely did not.)



The average length at the Ensign rank was stated specifically to be three years, in dialog. Two characters did three, one did four, and another did at least two. The rest are less clear. Seems like 2-4 years is a good estimate.

Picard: ?
Riker: ?
Data: 2348-2351 (3 Years)
Worf: 2361-2364 (3 Years)
LaForge: 2357-2361 (4 Years)
Sisko: 2354-“Late 2350s” (2-6 Years)
Janeway: ?
Tuvok: ?

Lieutenant Junior Grade


This one was tough, since trek often didn’t differentiate between LTJG and regular LT. Worf and LaForge held the rank for 2 and 5 years respectively. However, it’s not unreasonable to assume some, like LaForge, might take longer than usual; especially since he was in red and didn’t really shine until he transferred to engineering. I decided on an average range of 1-3, based on making some of the higher ranks work properly.

Picard: ?
Riker: ?
Data: ?
Worf: 2364-2366 (2 Years)
LaForge: 2361-2365 (5 Years)
Crusher: ?
Troi: ?
Sisko: ?
Janeway: ?
Tuvok: ?



Lots of people in and through this rank, but not too many with hard starting points. We’ve got 1(lol), 5, 9, and 12 years. Gotta keep this one pretty vague, so I think 2-7 works well for an average.

Picard: ?
Riker: ?
Data: 2351-2363 (12 Years)
Worf: 2366-2371 (5 Years)
LaForge: 2365-2366 (1 Year)
Crusher: ?
Troi: ?
Sisko: “Late 2350s” - “Early 2360s” (2-10 Years)
Janeway: ?
Tuvok: Before 2365-2374 (At least 9 years)

Lieutenant Commander


This one is also tough because many characters finished with this rank, so there’s no reliable end dates. Riker’s 3 years seems like the most accurate, and it fits in with the Captain timelines, so this one gets a 2-4 year range.

Picard: ?
Riker: 2361-2364 (3 Years)
Data: 2363-Death (16 Years-blarg)
Worf: 2371-2379+ (8+ Years, but there was a line about him not being eligible for promotion that time he saved Dax)
LaForge: 2366-2379+ (13+ Years, but his position remained unchanged)
Crusher: ?
Troi: 2364-2370 (6 Years, stated to be longer than expected)
Sisko: “Early 2360s”-2369 (5-8 Years, though he had some time off and a ‘ground’ posting after his wife died)
Janeway: ?



Much smaller sample set here, and still not too much info to go on. I settled on 2-4 years as the final piece for the Captain ranks to make sense.

Picard: ?
Riker: 2364 -2364 -2365 -2366 -2379 (He was offered promotions at 0, 1, 2, and 15 Years. Useless.)
Crusher: Promoted to CMDR in 2362. (That’s 12 years after graduation. Add 4 for med school, that gives us 16 years experience. She was 38 when she reached Commander rank.)
Troi: Promoted to CMDR in 2370. (She was 34 with 11 years experience)
Sisko: 2369-2371 (3 years)
Janeway: 2365-2371 (6 years)



Finally, the big one. Much, much smaller sample set, so I’ve included pretty much every Captain that I could nail an age to, for comparison’s sake. The trend is clear. Kirk, at 32, was by far the youngest of all. The rest were significantly older. In keeping with that, I can’t bring myself to approve of anyone making Captain before the absolute bare minimum, brand-shiny-new CO age of 30 years old.

Kirk : Age 32 (Promoted to Rear Admiral at 37; Back to Captain at 53)
Picard : Age 37 (Promoted to Captain after death of actual CO in 2342. He was LCDR or CMDR at the time.)
Archer : Age 38
Harriman: Age 38
Sisko : Age 39
Janeway : ~39 (Conflicting birth years. Kate Mulgrew was 39. One date indicates Janeway was 39 also. Another says she was 42)
Garrett: Age 39
Riker : Age 44 (Though he was offered commands at 30, 31, and 32 also)
Pike: Age 45
Wesley: Age 35 (Promoted to Commodore at age 47)
Sulu : At least 47 (Captain in 2290, first seen in 2265. 2265-22=2243. 2290-2243=47)
April: Age 50
Spock : Age 55
Scotty : Age 63