How to Become an IAS Officer in India?

Lakhs of people dream of becoming an IAS officer in India and serve the country. But everyone doesn’t get a chance to become an IAS officer because the preparation process and examination for this career are tough.

IAS or Indian administrative service is one of the most prestigious civil services in the country and offers rewarding career opportunities to people. It is one of the leading government services in the country and is great for students who want to get a respectful job in the government sector. But it is not going to be easy for everyone to pursue a career in this field. So, you can spend some time improving your knowledge and skills and eventually improve your chance of becoming an IAS.

If you are preparing to become an IAS officer, this guide is for you. Here is all about how one can become an IAS office in India.

About IAS Officer:

How to Become an IAS Officer in India?

IAS is one of the most competitive civil services in the country after IPS and IFS. This is why many people dream of pursuing this career. To become an IAS officer, one needs to appear for the entrance exams conducted for it. After clearing the exam, candidates can become IAS officers and work in the government sector. Moreover, this is one of the popular career options in the country. An IAS officer gets a handsome salary and many other facilities that no other job in the government sector can offer. Being a unique career option in the country, this enables the person to bring positive changes to the life of many people in the country.

What Is the Role of An IAS Officer?

An IAS officer plays an important role in managing various administrative and policy-related matters of the ruling government. They also implement various government policies and update the status of the same to the respective ministry. They perform various jobs like framing government policies, implementing the policies of the state and central government, maintaining law & order, advising the ministers on various social issues, supervising the spending of public funds according to the norms, collecting revenue, etc.

IAS officers can work in various job profiles at district, state, and central levels. They can become a collector, commissioner, or district magistrate at the district level. They can also become a joint secretary, cabinet secretary, or deputy secretary and work in other job profiles at the state or center level. Apart from all these job profiles, an IAS officer can also work as a HOD in various public sectors. This way, the job profile has many responsibilities and allows individuals to work for the betterment of society.

What Are the Eligibility Criteria to Become an IAS Officer?

As mentioned above, this career is highly competitive and involves many processes. But those who have the right attitude and skills can become an IAS officer easily. To become an IAS officer, you must clear the UPSC Civil Service Exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). This exam contains three stages, namely the preliminary stage, main exam, and interview section. After clearing all three stages, one can become eligible for becoming an IAS. This exam is also considered one of the toughest exams in the world.

The following are the eligibility criteria for appearing in the UPSC civil service exam.

  • Candidates should be at least 21 years old to be eligible for the UPSC entrance exam.
  • The applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any stream from a recognized college or university.
  • Also, those who have a professional or technical certificate from a government-recognized college or any equivalent qualification are eligible for the IAS entrance exam.
  • Candidates who have appeared in the final year exam of their bachelor’s degree and are waiting for their results can appear for the preliminary exam of the UPSC civil service. But the candidates need to provide the certificate of their bachelor’s degree while appearing for the main exam. This has to be submitted with the application form of the main exam by the candidates.

What Are the Advantages of Becoming an IAS Officer?

  • It is a part of civil service, and the candidates can get chances to serve society after becoming an IAS officer.
  • This job has many privileges and facilities that are not available with any other job.
  • IAS is a respectful career option, and the candidates can get job satisfaction by pursuing this career.
  • In this career, the candidates can serve society at the highest level.
  • An IAS officer is closely involved in the political leadership of the country.

Are There Any Disadvantages of Becoming an IAS Officer?

Yes, if you are looking for a peaceful job, then IAS is not for you. The job has many responsibilities and includes a lot of work pressure. It can be also stressful because an IAS officer needs to handle many things simultaneously. There can be also political pressures on IAS officers during their day-to-day work schedule.

What to Study to Become an IAS Officer?

To prepare for the IAS entrance exam, candidates spend a lot of time. They study many books and other study materials to clear the UPSC entrance exam. Still, only a few of the total applicants clear the exam and achieve their career goals. This is why the success rate of the UPSC civil service exam is only 1%. So, you should put sufficient effort into preparing for this exam to pass this exam. The following are some books and study materials that you can study to appear for the UPSC civil service exam.

  • NCERT Books
  • Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania (Culture)
  • Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
  • A Brief History of Modern India
  • Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations
  • India Year Book For Current Affairs

IAS Entrance Exam Pattern:

The Union Public Service Commission Civil Service Examination is conducted in the country for recruiting civil servants for All India Services, Civil Services, And Group B Services. It is also considered that the UPSC civil service exam is one of the toughest exams in the country as well as the world.

The UPSC exam is conducted in three parts. The first part is the preliminary test which is the civil service aptitude test. The second part is the main exam, and the third part is the interview section. The preliminary exam is conducted in two parts – preliminary part 1 and preliminary part 2. The preliminary paper 1 exam contains questions from general studies, current topics, geography, politics, history, etc. It has a total of 200 marks and lasts for two hours. The scores obtained in the preliminary paper 1 are considered for the merit list.

The preliminary paper 2 exam includes questions from analytical ability and comprehension. The duration of this exam is 2 hours, and it has a total of 200 marks. This exam is qualifying by nature. Those who clear these two papers can appear for the UPSC Civil Service Main Exam.

The UPSC civil service main exam has a total of 9 papers, and the details of each paper are as follows:

Paper A:

The Paper A exam is conducted for a duration of three hours and has a total of 300 marks. This exam includes questions from compulsory Indian languages.

Paper B:

The paper B exam contains questions from the English language.  It is a 300-mark exam and has a duration of three hours.

Paper 1:

The Paper 1 of the main exam includes an essay question with a total of 250 marks. This exam also lasts for three hours.

Paper 2:

This paper consists of questions from General Studies 1. It includes several topics like international relations, Indian heritage, ethics, etc. This paper has 250 marks andlasts for a duration of three hours.

Paper 3:

The Paper 3exam has a total of 250 marks that includes questions from general studies 2. This exam has questions from different topics like geography, history, technology, aptitude, environment, etc. This exam has a duration of three hours.

Paper 4:

This paper has 250 marks and is conducted for a duration of three hours. It has questions from General Studies 3 subjects like environment, aptitude, Indian heritage, economy, technologies, etc.

Paper 5:

The questions of the Paper 5 exam are derived from General Studies 4 subjects such as politics, aptitude, geography, ethics, international relations, technology, etc. This paper is conducted for three hours duration and has 250 marks.

Paper 6 and Paper 7:

These two papers include questions from optional subjects. The duration for each paper is three hours, and each paper has a total of 250 marks.

Top Job Roles for IAS Officers:

After clearing all the stages of the UPSC Civil Service Exam, one can become an IAS officer and apply for various job profiles in government sectors. The top job profiles for the IAS officers are listed below.

District Collector or District Magistrate:

The district collector is a top job role for the candidates who clear the IAS entrance exams. A district collector or district magistrate is responsible for running the administration in the district smoothly and efficiently. The individual in this job profile coordinates with various agencies within the district to ensure that everything runs smoothly in the district. A district collector also collects revenue from the district and is responsible for the successful implementation of government policies.

Sub Divisional Officer:

A sub-divisional officer works at the sub-division level and supervises the implementation of various development activities in the sub-division. The individual in this job role coordinates with various departments at the sub-division level. A sub-divisional officer has direct control over tahsildars and their staff. He/she performs various roles in the sub-division.

Chief Secretary:

A chief secretary is the administrative head of the cabinet secretariat. He/she attends the meetings of the cabinet and sub-committees. The person in this job role is responsible for coordinating with various departments and resolve various disputes at the inter-departmental level. A chief secretary also advises other secretaries regarding various difficulties in inter-departments. The individuals in this job role prepareagendas for cabinet meetings and record the proceedings of the same.

Divisional Commissioner:

A divisional commissioner is responsible for coordinating various activities in general administration, including revenue administration, law & order, development administration, etc., at the divisional level. The person in this role works as the head of the revenue administration in his division. A divisional commissioner hears complaints against the orders of district collectors. A divisional commissioner supervises the work of all departments of public administration and coordinates with all the departments.

Salary of An IAS Officer:

IAS officers are one of the highest-paid government officials in the country. The salary of an IAS officer varies depending on his/her job post. The following are the pay scale and grade pay of IAS officers in India after the 7th pay commission.

District Magistrate or Collector:

This job role is a senior time scale and has a grade pay of 6600. The pay scale for this post ranges from 15600 to 39100.

Sub Divisional Officer:

The sub-divisional officer falls under the junior grade or lower time scale. The pay scale for this role is 15600 to 39100, and the grade pay is 5400.

Chief Secretary:

The chief secretary job role comes under the Apex scale and has a pay scale of 80000.

Cabinet Secretary:

This job role comes under the cabinet secretary grade with a pay scale of 90000, which is fixed.

Secretary to Ministry:

The Secretary to ministry job role comes under the selection grade. It has a pay scale of 37400 to 67000 and a grade pay of 8700.


Becoming an IAS officer in India is a dream of many people. But everyone doesn’t get successful in achieving their dreams because of the tough entrance examinations. However, if you are serious about your dreams and can give your 100% in achieving those, then you can clear the UPSC Civil Service Exam and become an IAS officer. This article has all the aspects of becoming an IAS officer and the processes to become an IAS officer in India for your reference.

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