For the form of entertainment, please see method acting.

Acting was a temporary advancement in rank or assignment, unlike a more permanent field commission.

Wesley Crusher was awarded a commission rank of acting ensign in 2364 by Captain Jean-Luc Picard in order to allow him access onto the bridge. In Picard's Captain's log, he granted the rank "for outstanding performance in the best Starfleet tradition, Wesley Crusher is made acting Ensign with the duties and privileges of that rank and whether that rank becomes permanent, Mr. Crusher depends on you." (TNG: "Where No One Has Gone Before", "The First Duty")

Following the murder of Lieutenant Tasha Yar, Captain Picard made Lieutenant Worf the USS Enterprise-D's acting Chief of Security, until he was promoted to the position full time, when he transferred from the command division to the operations division in 2365. (TNG: "Skin of Evil", "The Child")

After Crusher missed his opportunity to join Starfleet Academy in 2366, Picard told him that "in my eyes, you're an acting ensign in title only. I hereby grant you field promotion to full ensign with all the responsibilities and privileges of that rank." (TNG: "Ménage à Troi")

On the USS Valiant in 2373, the seven regular officers were killed in a skirmish with a Cardassian battle cruiser leaving the Red Squad cadets to run the ship. Many were field promoted by Tim Watters to various ranks after he assumed command of the vessel. Watters, himself, was ordered by Captain Ramirez to take command of the vessel prior to his death. (DS9: "Valiant")

The fact that Dorian Collins was promoted to "acting" chief petty officer indicates that their promotions were intended to be temporary.

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