Kao Chi-yi attended the Military Surveying School of the Three Eastern Provinces in 1909-1911. He studied communications at the Communications School established by the Ministry of Communications and graduated from the Military Officers' Class in 1918. Mr. Kao obtained practical training on the Tsin-Pu Railway.
After his graduation, Mr. Kao became a battalion commander in the Northeastern Army. He served as a departmental chief in the Headquarters of the Mongolian Border Development Commissioner since 1921. Kao Chi-yi was a chief aide-de-camp to Chang Hsiao-liang, then commander of the 3rd brigade of the Shenyang Army in 1922 and in 1924 he was appointed chief aide-de-camp to the commander of the 27th division of the Shenyang Army (also Chang Hsiao-liang).
Kao Chi-yi was promoted commander of the 17th regiment of the Shenyang Army and participated in the Zhili-Shenyang War in 1924. He held the position of a chief of the general affairs department of the Northeastern Aviation Administration since 1926, and was soon promoted chief aide-de-camp with the rank of brigadier-general of the Headquarters of the 1st and 3rd Allied Army of Shenyang Forces.
Mr. Kao acted as a commander of the 19th brigade of the Northeastern Guominjun in 1925 under the late Kuo Sung-lin. Kao Chi-yi resumed hois offica as a chief aide-de-camp of the Headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the 3rd and 4th corps of the Shenyang Army in 1927. He was a director of police administration of Shenyang Province in 1928 and concurrently director of the bureau of land tax of the Special Districts of the Three Eastern Provinces.
Kao Chi-yi was an acting director of the Shenyang Office of the Beijing-Shenyang Railway Administration from January 1929. After the reorganization of the Shenyang administration, he was appointed member of the Liaoning Provincial Government and concurrently Commissioner of Public Safty for Liaoning in 1929. Shortly after the inauguration of the Political Council of the North East, he was appointed concurrently vice-chairman of the Northeastern Communications Commission.
He was delegated by Chang Hsiao-liang to Nanjing to discuss the administration of the Peking-Liaoning Railway and upon unification of the Railways, he was appointed by Sun Fo, Minister of Railways, managing-director of that Railway, which office he assumed on September 14, 1930. Mr. Kao concurrently served as a member of the Liaoning Provincial Government and vice-chairman of the Northeastern Communications Commission.