He graduated from the Kwangtung Military Primary School and the Kwangtung Military Academy.
Following completion of his military training, Chen Chi-tang entered the army and after various promotions he rose to the position of commander of the 45th battalion of the Hu Kuo Chun (National Protection Army) in 1920. The followinf year (1921) he served as a commander of the 1st battalion of 4th regiment of the 1st division of Kwang- tung Provincial Army.
Since 1922 Mr.Chen was promoted commander of the 4 th regiment of Kwangtung Provincial Army. He was appointed commander of the 2nd brigade of the 1st division of the Kwangtung Anti-Rebel Army from 1923 to 1924, and concurrently Chief of Staff to the Headquarters for the Rehabilitation of Wuchow, Kwangai (1924).
Around 1925 to 1926 Chen Chi-tang worked as a commander of the 11th division of the 4th Nationalist Revolutionary Army, and concurrently garrison commander of Kowchow, Luichow, Limchow and Yamchow in Southern Kwangtung (1925).
In 1926 he made a trip to Russia. From 1927 Mr. Chen took up the post of a field commander of the East Route Nationalist Army. Chen Chi-tang resumed his office as a Commander of the Nationalist Revolutionary Army in 1928. He became a commander of the 1st division of Kwangtung Provincial Army and concurrently director of military reorganization and disbandment matters in Kwangtung in 1929. Mr. Chen was appointed Field-Commanderin chief of the 8th Route Army of the National Revolutionary Armies in 1930.
Chen Chi-tang served as a Commander-in-Chief of the 1st Group Army Corps of the National Revolutionary Army since 1931, and concurrently Commander-in-Chief of the Southern Route Army for Bandit-Suppression in the Provinces of Kiangsi, Kwangtung, Fukien, Hunan and Hupeh since 1933.