I am not sure, whether there is an English equivalent. Der Meister is high skill in craftsmenship. First, the newbees start as der Lehrling= the "learner". 3 to 4 years later he has acquired skills, i.e. as a bricklayer, makes his exams and becomes : der Geselle. The highest rank is der Meister. He is allowed to educate Lehrlinge, he may found his own business and can become member of the craftsmen's guild or union.