An officers candidate was a generally a civilian – already possessing a higher education – or a non-commissioned officer who trained to earn a commission, as an officer in the military, without being required to attending a service academy. An officers candidate was similar to what a midshipman was to a cadet.

Prior to joining the crew of USS Voyager in 2371, Crewman Frank Darwin was recommended by his training instructor as an officers candidate. Darwin, however, turned down the opportunity in favor of his desire to get out into space. (VOY: "Meld")

This rank has been mentioned in a handful of Pocket Books publications (citation needededit), most often as a way to explain prior civilian doctors and scientists who join Starfleet as officers without having attended Starfleet Academy.

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