Freemason Orders & Degrees
Working out the various orders and degrees of Freemasonry can be confusing. Because it is the highest attainable degree, you’re likely familiar with the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite, but what about the other Freemason orders? What are they, and how does a member climb the numerous Freemason ranks within each?
Let’s start simply: The lowest order within Freemasonry is the Blue Lodge. The three Blue Lodge degrees consist of Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason. Once a Blue Lodge member has achieved the degree of Master Mason, he is able to continue his journey by attaining the various Scottish Rite or York Rite degrees.
The highest degree within the York Rite order is always the third; reaching the status of Master makes the member eligible to move on to the next order within the Rite.
Orders of the York Rite consist of the Royal Arch, the Cryptic Mason and finally the Knights Templar. The final degree within the York Rite under the Order of the Knights Templar is the Order of the Temple.
Both the Scottish Rite and York Rite are avenues to Master Masonry. There are 32 Scottish Rite degrees, beginning with the 4th degree and ending with the rank of Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret. A 32nd degree Mason who has achieved this rank is considered equal to all other Masons of the world.
There are many other orders within Freemasonry, both within the United States and around the world. However, the Blue Lodge, York Rite and Scottish Rite are the three main governing bodies of Masonry.
See our Freemason chart below for a visual explanation of the major attainable Mason degrees and their orders.