Chūnin (中忍; Literally meaning "Journeyman Ninja") are shinobi who entered the Chūnin Exams and passed, or were promoted for other reasons. Chūnin are qualified to guide other shinobi or lead missions. They have reached a level of maturity and ability that primarily consists of leadership skills and tactical prowess. Genin who do not have the skills to become chūnin are weeded out in the Chūnin Exams. Some Chūnin move on to function as Academy Teachers, while others are appointed as leaders to teams that need to make tactical decisions and utilize the skills of the other shinobi in the team. Some Chūnin can be eligible to be Exam Proctors as well. Typically, Chūnin are sent on C-rank or B-rank missions.
The method of promoting Genin to Chūnin varies from village to village. The most common and well-known method is the Chūnin Exam, an annual event held in different villages to weed out the weaker, unfit Genin. Many smaller villages tend to promote internally, basing their promotions on varying factors such as mission success rate, maturity level, general skill levels, and other unknown variables.