Is there some sort trick to getting the officers to rank up? Firstly I'm a VA, I seem to be stuck around commander at least max on my officers so was wondering what I should do about making them better since half of my station abilities isn't usable in space due to the low ranks.
Commander is the maximum rank for your Bridge Offcers. Bridge Stations on ships have fixed ranks and the are based on the tier and class of ship. They can't be changed unless you start using another type of ship.
That's just part of the game. Every BO has 4 abilities, but every ship only allows them to use a few of those abilities, with maybe one officer getting to use all four. You just have to pick and choose which type of officer you want to be able to use all for of his/her abilities.