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What is the difference between a technician and a specialist?

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I'm trying to decipher Starfleet's enlisted personnel structure, and I'm a bit confused. The relevant articles seem to state that some enlisted personnel can be specialists, and some can be technicians. What;s the difference between the two?

My tentative theory is that a technician is usually a crewman, and a specialist has to be a non-commissioned officer (though some officers are specialists, too). Specialists can be yeomen, chefs, transporter operators, sensor analysts, medical specialists, and presumably a lot of other things. Presumably, technicians have broader, less comprehensive training in a particular field than specialists do.

Am I missing something here? I feel like I am.

Guy Hoyle

Hi
I doubt you'll find any definitive answers, only speculation. AFAIK, there was no complete (or even partial) description of either in canon Trek. Your best options would probably be
  • Ask at TrekBBS
  • Look to see what the non-canon wiki, Memory Beta, has to say about Technician (β) and Specialist (β) – and if the articles are lacking, asking there might effect more replies, given their larger source material
  • Fanon wikis, such as STExpanded and Memory Gamma
  • Read about Technician and Specialist (rank) IRL and derive your own (speculative) theories
Still, someone here still might have a theory to share, but trying the above might faster, especially because I infer from your comments that you're not necessarily looking for strictly canon definitions.
Canon Trek focused principally on officers – actually, senior officers.
Cepstrum (talk) 13:30, January 13, 2011 (UTC)

The distinction is probably simalar to the US Army rank of E4 (Enlisted grade 4). You have both Specialists and Corporals at that rank. Corporals are considered NCO's (non-comissioned officers) while Specialists are not. The difference is one of training I beieve. I hope this helps. Chaos99.194.92.234 16:15, March 2, 2011 (UTC)

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