Shinobi Career Path
Want a career full of action and adventure? Want to protect the ones you love? Want opportunity for advancement? Consider being a shinobi! Benefits include comprehensive health coverage, life insurance, and a great retirement plan! Traveling and overtime required.
If you live in a hidden shinobi village, there's a good chance that one or both of your parents or a relative was a shinobi. If your parents are still alive or if you have a caretaker, then you're one of the lucky ones. But your custodian will have to grant you permission before you can enroll. If you're an orphan, then consider giving back to the system that supported you for all these years and enroll on your own!
RANK: ACADEMY STUDENT
Students are allowed to enroll at any age based on their skill level and potential.
Most students enter the academy at about 8 years old. (Konohamaru just enrolled and he is 8.) Students can graduate at any age, but most spend 4 years in the academy and graduate at 12 years old (the rookie 9 are all 12).
Confusion centers around Naruto's graduation. Iruka says Naruto has taken the graduation exam twice before and failed. If that is the case, then what about the other genin who are the same age? In ep 44, in a flashback, two boys transfer to Naruto's class and say (regarding Naruto) they "found a funny guy already." But in the manga (ch 75) the 2 boys call Naruto the "new kid," which implies Naruto transferred into their class. Kiba doesn't seem to know Naruto at this point, so they don't appear to have been in the same class for 3 years. Perhaps being an orphan Naruto entered the academy a couple of years earlier. Or perhaps students can opt to take the graduation exam every year until they pass (Naruto took it 3 times). They might be advised when to take it and most don't until they feel confident of passing, which may be why geniuses like Sasuke or Neji graduate with their peers. Naruto, being over confident and never listening to advice, took it before he was ready. Another possibility is that there are multiple exams to graduate and he flunked two already, but in later episodes Naruto says he failed each time because bunshin was on the test. (Or this is just another unresolved discrepancy.)
In the past, geniuses like Kakashi (graduated at 5 years old), Orochimaru (6 yrs), Jiraiya (6 yrs), and Itachi (7 yrs) graduated earlier. However, it is possible that pushing these phenomena at such a young age has left them with psychological problems that manifested as they grew older (see character psychoanalysis). It is likely that academy admittance requirements are now stricter and more uniform. Recent geniuses like Neji and Sasuke have entered and graduated the academy at the same time as their peers. Their greater maturity will hopefully prevent them from developing psychological problems later on. (Guess it didn't work for Sasuke!)
Upon graduation, the students are given their forehead protectors and are now considered shinobi with the rank of genin. However, this is just a ruse as the new genin must pass another test to maintain their genin status. The final test varies by the jounin sensei. The hardest version is probably the bells test given by Kakashi, where the 3 man genin team must act together to obtain only 2 bells with the expectation that only 2 will pass. Genin who fail have to return to the academy.
Missions: C or D
Once a genin team completes at least eight missions, the genin qualify to take the chuunin selection exams and must register as a team. The exams are a series of three tests and are given twice a year in different countries. Teams from other countries take the tests together.
Exams 1 and 2 may vary from country to country or by examiner. The following are examples of past exams:
Exam 1: Pyschological test and test of espionage skills in the guise of a written test.
Exam 2: Survival skills tested by a competition to retrieve a complementary scroll from another team. Teams have 5 days to get matching scrolls and arrive at the center tower. No holds barred!
Exam 3: The third exam is a one-on-one no holds barred competition in front of a stadium of spectators, some who are high ranking officials from other countries. Losing or winning a match does not actually determine whether a participant passes the final exam. To pass for chuunin, the genin must show the qualities of a leader which can include calm decision making ability, intelligence, patience, and the ability to strategize.
Missions: B or C
SUB-RANK: SPECIAL JOUNIN - probably the same skill level as jounin but in a specific area (Anko, Ibiki, and Ebisu are called special jounin while Kakashi, Gai, Asuma, and Kurenai are regular jounin)
An appointed position. Normally selected by the previous Kage but in the event no selection was made prior to the Kage's death, the elders (advisors) make the selection. General requirements include: principles of morality, knowledge, loyalty, family and 1000 techniques.