Skill points, along with expertise , are granted by playing almost any content of Star Trek Online, e.g., defeating NPC or player enemies, completing missions/assignments, and so on. Skill points are comparable to "experience" of other MMORPGs in that their accumulation causes the player to level up, i.e., increase in rank.
While expertise is used to improve the abilities of your Bridge Officers amongst others, skill points can be spent in the player's skill tree (comparable to a talent tree) in order to improve and individualize your character. Points can be spent as soon as they are earned, but new columns of the tree are not unlocked until the respective rank is achieved.
Although skill points can be earned indefinitely, even after reaching level 60, the amount of points that can be spent in the skill tree is 366,000 . This means that all points gained beyond the rank of Vice Admiral/Lieutenant General (level 50) are purely cosmetic and are merely supposed to show the character's ongoing progression.
- According to this forum post, for each skill point you receive in-game the game server internally records 100 to make sure that small bonuses accumulate correctly.