How to Become an IAS Officer

IAS stands for Indian Administrative Service. It is a part of Civil Services of Government of India. In this article, you will be reading about the topic – how to become an IAS officer in India.

Become IAS Officer in India

If you want to become an IAS officer, this article will be of help to you. This article has been crafted keeping the needs of Civil Service aspirants in mind. Here, you’ll find the steps involved in becoming an IAS officer.


There are many Civil Services, which are pillars of the Government of India. Here’s a list of Civil Services in India. Among these Civil Services, IAS commands the most respect and prestige!


IAS is the most preferred choice among Civil Service aspirants. This is the main reason why only toppers (in Civil Service exam) get selected for IAS training!


IAS officers don important roles in the administrative system of India. They are directly involved in the Nation-building process. If you want to bring about a change in the society, this profession is for you!


Being an IAS officer, you’ll get a change to bring about change at the grassroots level! You’ll get a chance to improve the lives of people through development in areas such as – social security, food security, education, sanitation, transportation, policy making etc.


In short, it is a challenging and immensely satisfying profession. IAS officers also get to enjoy good salary package and additional benefits (such as housing, pension, medical benefits etc). It is an influential post that commands respect in the society.


How to become an IAS Officer?

Becoming an IAS officer is not an easy task. It is a challenging and demanding job. Only the best candidates are selected for this post.


In order to select these deserving candidates, Government of India has tasked UPSC with the task of conducting Civil Services examination.



In order to become an IAS officer, a candidate must crack the tough Civil Services examination. UPSC is the body that conducts this examination.


Civil Services Examination (CSE): Details

Civil Services examination is ranked among the toughest examinations in the world. The exam is conducted once each year. The entire exam spans over a period of one year!


The Civil Services examination consists of two main parts. They are –

  • Preliminary examination
  • Mains examination
  • Interview/Personality Test


Each year, Lakhs of candidates appear for Civil Services preliminary examination. Among them, only handful of candidates are selected for the mains examination.


The first stage of CSE is preliminary examination. Preliminary examination consists of objective type papers (general studies and aptitude test). Candidates who clear preliminary examination are called to appear for mains examination.


The second stage of CSE is mains examination. It consists of nine papers. Candidates who manage to clear mains examination are then called to appear for Interview/Personality Test.


Preliminary Examination

Preliminary Examination is well known as prelims exam. The prelims exam consists of two papers –

  • Paper 1
  • Paper 2


You’ll find details about each paper in the table provided below –


Preliminary Examination
Paper Type Duration No of Questions Marks
Paper 1 General Studies 2 Hours 100 200
Paper 2 Aptitude Test 2 Hours 80 200


Mains Examination

Mains examination consists of 9 papers. Out of the 9 papers, 2 are qualifying papers and 7 papers used for ranking candidates.


Details about mains examination have been provided in the below table –


Mains Examination
Paper Type Marks
Paper A (Qualifying Exam) Language 300 Marks
Paper B (Qualifying Exam) English 300 Marks
Paper 1 Essay 250 Marks
Paper 2 General Studies 1 250 Marks
Paper 3 General Studies 2 250 Marks
Paper 4 General Studies 3 250 Marks
Paper 5 General Studies 4 250 Marks
Paper 6 Optional Subject, Paper 1 250 Marks
Paper 7 Optional Subject, Paper 2 250 Marks


Eligibility Criteria

If you want to become an IAS officer, you must crack CSE. In order to appear for CSE, you must satisfy some requirements. Here they are –


Educational qualifications required

  • All candidates must have as a minimum one of the following educational qualifications:
  • A degree from a Central, State or a Deemed university.
  • A degree received through correspondence or distance education.
  • A degree from an open university.
  • A qualification recognized by the Government of India as being equivalent to one of the above.


The following candidates are also eligible, but must submit proof of their eligibility from a competent authority at their institute/university at the time of the main examination, failing which they will not be allowed to attend the exam:

  • Candidates who have appeared in an examination, the passing of which would render them educationally qualified enough to satisfy one of the above points.
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of the MBBS degree but have not yet completed an internship.
  • Candidates who have passed the final exam of ICAI, ICSI and ICWAI.
  • A degree from a private university.
  • A degree from any foreign university recognized by the Association of Indian Universities.

Age Limit

  • The candidate must be between the age of 21-32 years (for the General category candidate) on August 1 of the year of examination. However, age relaxations dies exist for SC, ST, OBC and Physically Handicapped candidates.
  • For Other Backward Castes (OBC) the upper age limit is 35.
  • For Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), the limit is 37 years.
  • The upper age limit is relaxed for certain candidates who are backward with respect to other factors and physically handicapped (PH) people.


For the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service, the candidate must be a citizen of India.


For other services, the candidate must be one of the following:

  • A citizen of India.
  • A citizen of Nepal or a subject of Bhutan.
  • A person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire, Ethiopia or Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India.

Posts and career growth

After completing training, IAS officers are commissioned as Additional or Sub-Divisional Magistrates at District level. With time, they are promoted to higher posts such as – District Magistrate, Divisional Commissioner and District Collector.


Also read: Best Careers in India

Government jobs after 12th

Become an IAS officer after 12th (guide)


Senior IAS officers are assigned managerial posts (MD, CEO, Director) in Government-run corporations and PSUs.

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