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Ninja Ranks
Academy Ninja
Academy ninja are kids that are trying their best to become ninja. Through classes taught by Chuunin instructors, they will know everything they need to know when it comes to the Final exam. According to Naruto Manga Episode 103 "The Failure", the exam tested on one ninjutsu, the Bunshin No Jutsu, the art of the Doppelganger.
After graduating from the academy, the new ninja obtain the rank of genin. To become a Chuunin, a Genin must pass the Chuunin exam and then be selected by either a Feudal Lord or a Kage to get promoted. It has been said that two Genins are promoted each year; however, during the Third Exam Prelims the Hokage said that it was possible for none of the Genin to become Chuunin, or that all of them could become Chuunin.
Chuunin is the next step in the ninja food chain. These ninja are qualified to lead and complete B-C rank missions. It is unkown at this tim how a Chuunin obtains the rank of Jounin.
This is a high ranking ninja. Jounins are extreamly strong, and highly intelligent Ninjas that complete A-Rank missions. They also lead Genin squads and help them learn what being a ninja is all about. Being a Jounin is hard work and is very dangerous, so only a fully dedicated Ninja can gain the rank of a Jounin.
Not much is know about these ninja. Some say that they are another branch of the Anbu, while others say they are special assasins sent out to kill missing nin. Which is true, I don't know, but I do know that they are extreamly skilled in all areas of combat.
Missing-nins are Ninja that abandon their Hidden Village for one reason or another and go on the run. The Village sends ninja to track the missing ninja down and bring their target ninja to justice. They also try to stop them from teling any secrets that they may know about the vilage.
The ANBU is a special squad of ninjas that perform some of the most important missions for their village. These missions may include assassinations, escorts, etc. They are very talented shinobi who are precisely chosen to protect their village. It is unknown what it takes to be considered for ANBU because ANBU members put their lives on the line to protect their village. The animal masks they wear is used to conceal their identities and to separate themselves from other shinobi.
The Kage is the highest rank a Shinobi can hope to become. There can only 5 Kages at any one time, why, I have no idea. The Kages are leaders of the most powerful Hidden Villages and are the strongest ninja in the Naruto world. The five Kages are known as Hokage, Kazekage, Mizukage, Raikage and Tsuchikage.
Mission Ranks
D rank
D-Rank missions are the lowest level mission that can be assigned and is done by the new Genins. These missions are somewhat pointless, and are of low priority.
C rank
C-ran missions are assigned mostly to Chuunins but they have been assigned to Genin ranked ninja. These missions are of a lower priority, but they are more important than D-rank missions. The first C-rank mission Naruto was assigned was to escort a bridge builder back to his home country. This mission later was classified as a B-rank mission because the bridge builder was being hunted by enemy ninja (Zabuza and Haku).
B Rank
These missions are assigned to Chuunin, and it is unknown what kind of missions they are.
A Rank
These missions are assigned to Jounin, and can possibly include very important tasks like assassinations, escorting important people, and that sort of thing. It is uncertain what these missions actually are, but as time goes on, I am sure that more will be revealed, and that we will understand more about all of the mission rankings.
S Rank
Nothing is known about these missions.