How To Join Indian Air Force: Complete Guide

Some people are not born to spend 8 hours in front of the computer and go back home. They have a desire to serve the country, and to do something that commands massive respect. These people believe in doing something different, and since you are here, we assume you are among one of them. A lot of students wish to join Indian Army, Indian Air Force, and even the Indian Navy. Are you also willing to join Indian Air Force? If so, then you are at the right place as this page is all about the process of joining the Indian Air Force.

We understand that there is a lot of confusion when it comes to joining the Indian Air Force. You might be willing to know about the eligibility criteria, qualifying exam, and the best way to prepare for the exam. In today’s article, we will cover all the details. We are also going to share some insights into the life of an officer serving the Indian Air Force. For the next 15 minutes, leave whatever you are doing, and concentrate only on this post.

You can grab a notebook a pen to take down some of the points from this page. These points will help you in preparing for the next step. Be assured that if you are choosing Indian Air Force, you are choosing adventure, excitement, and challenges over the monotonous office job. Let us get started and share the details now.

How to Join the Air Force after 12th Class?

You will have to choose the route as per the final destination. The first thing that you need to answer here is if you would like to join the Air Force as an officer or as an Airmen. It should be noted that the eligibility criteria for Officer would require you to have a particular set of educational qualification. If you are planning to join as an officer, then you must have Non-Medical Stream in Class XI & XII. Moreover, you need to have Physics & Maths as compulsory subjects. You would also need to appear in NDA or NA Exam. We have shared the detailed routes for joining as an Airmen or an Officer in the section below.

How To Join Indian Air Force

Joining the Air Force as an Airmen after 12th

If you have decided to join the Air Force as an Airmen, then you can apply after class 12th. In this case, you are supposed to go through the Joint Basic Phase Training, which is also known as JBPT. You will have to go through medical, physical, and visual evaluations. A trade or a field will be allocated to you according to your performance in JBPT & your educational qualification. It should be noted that you will be given one of the two groups listed below.

  • Group X
    • Technical Filters – Automobile, Electronics, Electrical, Mechanical System, Propulsion, Structure, Workshop (Smith or Mechanical) & Weapon.
  • Group Y
    • Technical Filter – Communication Technician & Automobile Technician
    • Non-Technical Assistant – Admin, Accounts, Logistics, Medical, Environment Support Services, Operations, Meteorological, Ground Training, IAF Police, IAF Security.

It should also be noted that the basic combat training will be given to you irrespective of your trade.This also includes basic discipline, educational training, weapon training, and manner. Parade, games andPhysical Training is an integral part of training for any person serving the Indian Defense Forces. You will find yourself involved in such activities too.

Educational Qualification –You can check out the educational qualification required to join the Air Force as Airmen.

  • Group X – For Group X, the age limit of the candidate is between 17 years, and 21 years.
    • In addition to this, the candidate should have cleared Class XII with a minimum of 50% in Mathematics, Physics & English. Or.
    • The candidate should have passed his three year diploma course in engineering. The candidate should be enrolled in the Polytechnic institute, and he should have at least 50% marks in English. The candidate should have enrolled under Mechanical, Electrical or Electronic Courses only.
  • Group Y – Even here, the age limit is between 17 years & 21 years. In addition to this, the candidate should have the following educational qualification.
    • The candidate should have cleared Class XII with at least 50% marks.
    • For the candidate willing to join as a medical assistant, the candidate should have cleared Class XII with at least 50% marks. He also needs to have Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and English as a compulsory subject.
    • If the candidate is willing to join as a Musician, then he needs to clear Class X or Class XII with minimum pass marks. Moreover, the candidate should be proficient in planning one of the approved musical instrument.

We have covered all the details for the candidates who are willing to join Indian Air Force as an Airmen. If you are willing to join Indian Air Force as an Officer, then you can go through the details below.

Joining Air Force as an Officer after 12th

If you are planning to join Indian Air Force as an Officer, then you would need to appear in NDA & NA exam. The male candidates who have cleared class XII with Physics & Maths are allowed to appear in the exam. After you have been shortlisted in NDA, you will have to go through rigorous training at National Defense Academy. After the basic training, you will be enrolled for specialised training according to the field given to you. After the completion of training, you will be commissioning in Air Force as a Permanent Commission officer, and you will be posted at one of the Air Force Stations.

National Defense Academy & National Academy Exam

As mentioned above, you need to appear in the NDA & NA Exam. In this section, you will find all the details about the examination. Before you go ahead, let us mention that the NDA exam happens semi-annually, and it is hosted in all the major cities of India. Millions of candidate appear for the exam, but only a few hardworking candidates get selected for the serving the nation. More details about the Eligibility Criteria are listed below.

Eligibility Criteria – The candidate should be eligible for undertaking the NDA & NA Exam. He should be meeting the eligibility criteria advertised in the advertisement. Find out more information below.

Advertisement Schedule – The advertisement for the NDA & NA exam is released by UPSC, and it is done in January & June. You can also visit the UPSC Website to check out more information about the advertisement schedule.

Branches – You will get admission in the flying branch, ground duty (technical & non-technical) only via NDA. The candidates opting for the technical branch or flying branch would be offered a degree in B.Tech in NDA. Whereas, the candidates in the non-technical ground duty will be offered B.Sc degree.

Gender, Age & Marital Status – There are certain restrictions associated with the gender, age, and marital status of the candidate. It should be noted that only males are eligible for examination, and the age of the candidate should be between 16.5 years, and 19.5 years. In addition to this, you should be unmarried while appearing for the exam. You will have further restrictions, and you will not be able to get married until the course is complete.

Nationality – Only Indian nationals are allowed to appear for the exam. Even a naturalised Nepalese/Tibetan or Bhutanese refugee who entered India before 1962 are eligible for the exam. If you are a foreign national, then you would be required to produce eligibility certificate issued by the government of India. Migrants from some countries who have an urge to settle in India are allowed to appear for the exam.

Educational Qualification – All the candidates who have cleared class 12th should have cleared their examination with at least 50% marks. In addition to this, the candidates are also required to have Physics and Mathematics as a compulsory subject. The candidates appearing in class 12th exam are also eligible for the exam.

Physical Standards – There is a long list of the physical standard set by the Air Force to go ahead with the application of the exam.  We recommend you to go through the complete advertisement to understand the physical standards associated with the eligibility criteria.

Detailed Selection Process

NDA exam is the most crucial step for the application to Indian Air Force. This will be your first chance to get through the selection criteria. Once you have cleared the written test, you will be called for an interview in the Service Selection Board. If you manage to crack the SSB interview, then you will have to go through the mandatory medical test. Finally, you will be admitted to the esteemed National Defense Academy. You will also have to appear before the Air Force Selection Board, and Computerised Pilot Selection System to get into the Indian Air Force.

The exam is hosted in April, and November every year, and all the details about filling the form, and written exam are available on the website. To give you some details, the exam consists of two sections. One of the section has a Mathematics test, and the second one has the General Ability Test. Total marks carried by the exam are 900, and the cut-off varies every year.

Joining Air Force After Graduation

If you have missed the chance to appear for NDA, then you have a second chance. You can get into the Short Service Commission as well. It is also possible to join the Indian Air Force after completing graduation. You can check out the details in this section.

Route 1: CDS Examination

If you are in the final year of graduation or if you have completed your graduation, then you can apply for the Common Defense Service Examination. This examination is also conducted by UPSC, and it is conducted twice in the year. You should be between the age of 20 & 24 years. In addition to this, only single men are qualified to apply for the exam. Even in the case of the CDS, the process remains the same. You will have to go through the written test followed by the Air Force Selection Board, and Medical Examination. If you are doing a three year course, then that should be completed from a recognised university.

Route 2: NCC Special Entry

Not many people are aware of this, but apart from CDSE, you can also join the flying branch through NCC. If you are an Air Wing Senior Division Certified in the National Cadet Corps, then you can join the Indian Air Force. This route is open for men & women, and it is a short service commission job for you. The age barrier here is between 20, and 24 years. The marital status of the applicant should be single. Apart from this, you would need have scored at least 60% in Maths & Physics in 10+2 as well as graduation. Post selection at first level, you would have to appear for Air Force Selection Board& Medical Examination too.

Route 2: AFCAT – Air Force Common Aptitude Test

AFCAT is yet another way to get into the Air Force. The exam is held semi-annually. You can appear in the exam in February & August. The application for the same is released in December & June respectively. This exam is also conducted across India, and the applicants who are between the age of 20 & 24 are eligible to appear in the exam. Men & Women are eligible to appear in AFCAT, and they should also not be married. The minimum qualifying marks required in graduation & 10+2 is 60%. In AFCAT, the core areas of the test include General Awareness, Numeric Ability, Verbal Ability, and Military Aptitude Test. After clearing the exam, the candidate would have to go through Air Force Selection board and Medical Exam.

Final Word

We have covered all the possible information about getting into the Air Force. It is certainly a matter of pride to serve the country. You can check out the compensation, and benefits available for the Air Force pilots, and all the details are available in the advertisement for Air Force. Getting into the Air Force will help you in building a strong career. A career where you get a chance to grow personally as well as professionally. You will also beable to participate in adventure activities like scuba diving, paragliding, skydiving, and any more. If you need more help, you can reach out to us, and we will try to guide you in the best possible way.

Indian Air Force Job FAQs

Q. How can I join the Indian Air Force?

There are several ways to join the Indian Air Force, including through the National Defence Academy (NDA), Combined Defence Services (CDS) Examination, Air Force Common Admission Test (AFCAT), and through direct recruitment for specific trades.

Q. What is AFCAT?

AFCAT stands for Air Force Common Admission Test. It is conducted twice a year for the selection of officers in the Flying, Ground Duty (Technical), and Ground Duty (Non-Technical) branches.

Q. What are the eligibility criteria for joining the Indian Air Force?

Eligibility criteria vary depending on the entry scheme. Generally, candidates must be Indian citizens, have the required educational qualifications, and meet age and physical fitness standards.

Q. What are the different branches in the Indian Air Force?

The Indian Air Force has three branches: Flying Branch, Ground Duty (Technical) Branch, and Ground Duty (Non-Technical) Branch. Each branch has various sub-specializations.

Q. What is the selection process for IAF jobs?

The selection process typically involves a written examination, followed by an interview, medical examination, and finally, a merit list is prepared based on the candidate’s performance.

Q. What is the age limit for joining the Indian Air Force?

The age limit varies for different branches and entry schemes. It is essential to check the specific age criteria mentioned in the official notification for the respective entry.

Q. What educational qualifications are required to join the IAF?

Educational qualifications vary for different branches. For example, to join the Flying Branch, one generally needs a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline. For Technical and Non-Technical branches, specific educational qualifications related to the branch are required.

Q. Is there any relaxation in eligibility criteria for reserved categories?

Yes, there are relaxations in age and educational qualifications for candidates belonging to certain categories, such as Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), and others.

Q. What is the training duration for officers in the Indian Air Force?

The duration of training varies for different branches. Officer Cadets undergo training at the Air Force Academy (AFA) for Flying Branch, Air Force Technical College (AFTC) for Technical Branch, and Air Force Administrative College (AFAC) for Non-Technical Branch.

Q. How can I get updates on upcoming Indian Air Force job notifications?

You can regularly check the official Indian Air Force website ( for the latest notifications. Additionally, keep an eye on leading newspapers, employment news, and official social media channels for updates.

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