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In conversation, I just said:

Если его за это понизят в ранге, ему почти нечего будет сказать в свое оправдание.

Here I wanted to express the idea of getting demoted on the corporate ladder, or more specifically, in the medical field. I'm wavering between "ранг" and "звание" -- when to use which:

Если его за это понизят в звании, ему почти нечего будет сказать в свое оправдание.

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    в должности could fit, but really depends on the actual circumstance, could be категория, разряд, especially if the demotion only affects payment, звание is mainly pertinent to military and law enforcement, ранг - to navy and justice system – Баян Купи-ка Jan 4 '19 at 10:22
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The term "ранг" is appropriate mainly for the military and some government officials.
The term "звание" is used more broadly, but is also limited in application.
In fact, each sphere has its own analogue of the term "ранг". For medical professionals it's "[медицинская] категория", to workers it's "[квалификационный] разряд", etc.

However, the term "ранг" can be used in a figurative sense. In that case it can be attributed to a very wide range of applications. And in some cases, you can simply say "положениие в [корпоративной] иерархии".

Also, do not forget about the term "должность". This is not the same as "ранг", because the relationship between "ранг" and "занимаемая должность" in many areas is only indirect.
But sometimes "должность" may be the most appropriate in the discussion about promotion/demotion on the corporate ladder.

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    Put должность first, because it's what is asked about. Понизить в должности. – Elena Jan 4 '19 at 6:04
  • @Elena I'm not sure about it. Maybe author was referring to the medical category. It depends a lot on the context of the conversation. – Ivan Olshansky Jan 4 '19 at 6:10

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