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How to Become IAS Officer- Step by Step Selection Process

Becoming an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer is a prestigious and challenging attempt. Read the article provided below in detail about becoming an IAS Officer. Check the step-by-step selection process of the IAS Officer. Let’s explore the comprehensive steps to becoming an IAS Officer in India.

How to Become an IAS Officer?

To become an IAS Officer in India, you must clear the UPSC Civil Services Exam. Essential eligibility criteria include holding a recognized university degree and being at least 21 years old to be eligible for the post. With dedication and preparation, you can achieve this goal. Achieving the dream of becoming an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer is a goal for many aspiring individuals. Transforming this aspiration into reality demands meticulous planning and dedicated preparation. Here is a step-by-step guide to assist you in navigating the journey toward becoming an IAS officer in India.

Step 1 – Meet the IAS Eligibility Criteria

The initial and primary step towards becoming an IAS officer is to fulfil the eligibility criteria established by the UPSC Commission.

Age Limit

  • The minimum age requirement for the UPSC CSE exam: is 21 years.
  • Maximum age limit for becoming an IAS officer (General category): 32 years.
  • Maximum age limit for the OBC category: 35 years.
  • Maximum age limit for the SC/ST category: 37 years.

Educational Qualification

  • To become an IAS officer, a candidate must possess a graduate degree from a recognized university and successfully clear the UPSC CSE exam.
  • The exam is accessible to candidates in their final year of graduation.
  • Those who have completed a correspondence education program are also eligible to participate.
  • Both professionals and non-professionals can take this examination.
  • Medical students are eligible, provided they have completed their degree and are currently enrolled in an internship program.
  • Candidates who have passed the CA, ICWA, and ICSI exams are also qualified to apply.

Number of Attempts

  • General category candidates are allowed a maximum of 6 attempts.
  • OBC candidates have a limit of 9 attempts.
  • SC/ST candidates face no restrictions on attempts until the age of 37.

Step 2 – Apply for Civil Services Examination

The next step is to apply for the civil services examination by filling out the application form released by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC). Aspiring candidates should stay updated on recruitment advertisements by regularly checking newspapers or visiting the official UPSC website.

Step 3 – Clear Preliminary Exam

The preliminary exam, typically held in June, serves as a qualifying examination. It consists of two compulsory papers, each carrying 200 marks: General Studies Paper I and General Studies Paper II, commonly referred to as CSAT. Both papers are objective, with a duration of two hours allotted for each. It’s important to note that the marks obtained in this exam are not considered in the final ranking.

Step 4 – Fill Out the DAF Form for Mains Exam

After the announcement of the Prelims results, candidates will determine whether they have successfully passed this stage and qualified for the mains exam. To participate in the mains exam, candidates must complete the UPSC DAF Form and submit it online through the official UPSC website. Filling out this DAF form is compulsory for those intending to appear in the Mains exam.

Step 5 – Clear the UPSC Mains Exam

Following the completion of the DAF Form, candidates must participate in the Mains exam, typically conducted in September or October. This exam comprises a compulsory Indian language, an English Paper, an Essay Paper, four General Studies Papers, and two Optional Papers, totalling nine papers for the UPSC Mains Exam. Given the subjective nature of the Mains exam, it is crucial to practice Mains Answer Writing thoroughly.

Step 6 – Crack the Final Interview Round

This concludes the last stage of the Civil Services Exam. After the UPSC Mains Exam, the Commission conducts a Personality Test, which holds 275 Marks. The interview process is comprehensive, involving a panel comprising subject matter experts, psychologists, bureaucrats, educationists, and the board chairperson. The final ranking, determining the selection of IAS officers, is based on the combined marks from the mains and the interview.

Step 7 – Complete IAS Training at LBSNAA

Upon successfully navigating all the aforementioned stages, candidates undergo rigorous training at LBSNAA (Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie). The total duration of the LBSNAA training period is approximately 2 years, divided into distinct phases.

Selection Process for IAS Officer

To become an IAS officer, you need to pass a test called the Civil Services Examination, which the UPSC holds every year. This test is not just for IAS but also for about 25 other government jobs like IPS, IFS, and more. The UPSC announces this test around January-February, and the first part of the exam happens in May or June.

UPSC conducts the Civil Services Examination in three phases:

  1. Preliminary Examination
  2. Civil Services (Main) Examination
  3. Personality Test or Interview.

Who Is An IAS Officer?

The role of an IAS Officer is highly esteemed in India’s civil service. These officers are selected through a tough exam conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and are appointed by the President of India. IAS officers are in charge of carrying out government policies and programs, making sure that governance and public services run smoothly. They occupy important administrative positions at various government levels, both in the state and at the central level. IAS officers play a crucial part in the country’s development and well-being, working in areas like finance, law and order, education, healthcare, and infrastructure. With their expertise and leadership, IAS officers make significant contributions to shape and improve the nation.

Role Of An IAS Officer

The responsibilities of IAS officers involve supporting both the federal and state governments in implementing and managing their policies, and they provide vital input in government decision-making processes. Generally, an IAS officer assists the government in formulating and implementing policies, offering crucial input to the relevant ministries regarding the status of policy implementation and its impact.

Responsibilities Of An IAS Officer

IAS officers’ duties depend on the sort of assignment they are allotted. There are three types of assignments given to them:

Assignment Responsibilities
Field Assignment
State Secretariat/Public Sector Undertakings & Central Secretariat
Sub Divisional Functions: As a Sub Divisional Magistrate – maintenance of law and order, overseeing developmental & Sub -Division administrative activities.
District Level Functions: As a District Magistrate, Collector/ Deputy Commissioner- perform the same functions as SDM at the district level & supervise SDMs in their role.
Positions within the state government & work in the State Secretariat.
State Secretariat Assignments
State Secretariat postings involve using the experience & expertise gained in the field to advise elected & representatives to formulate policies & make decisions regarding government processes.
Public Sector Undertakings: Many officers get posted to PSU cadres on deputation and become part of the higher management of various Public Sector Undertakings such as power stations, industrial units etc.
Central Secretariat Assignments
Secretarial-level postings at the level of the Central government deal with policy review, formulation and implementation for different ministries.

IAS Officer’s Career Path

The typical career progression for IAS officers follows a set path, with changes in career posts occurring after the probation period, based on the allotted cadre.

  • Training at the district level in the allocated cadre.
  • Phase I Training at LBSNAA, including a week-long foreign attachment with one of India’s diplomatic missions abroad.
  • Central Government attachment at the nominal position of an Assistant Secretary for three months.
  • Posting as SDM/Joint Magistrate/Sub Collector.
  • Posting as Municipal Commissioner, DDO/CDO.
  • Posting as DM/Collector.
  • Posting at State Secretariats at Director/Joint Secretary level.
  • Deputation to the Central Government is an option available at any stage of service after a few years.
  • Principal/Additional Secretary in the State Secretariat/Central Secretariat.
  • Chief Secretary of a state.
  • Cabinet Secretary.

The Cabinet Secretary of India represents the pinnacle of achievement for IAS officers. Within state bureaucracy, other high-ranking positions include the Chief Secretary of the State, constituting some of the most prestigious posts available to IAS officers.

IAS Officer Training Phases

The IAS training is commonly referred to as the probationary term for IAS officers. The IAS, IPS, and IFS share a foundational program at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie, followed by physical training and specific cadre-based training.

Service Institution Venue
IAS Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) Jawaharlal Nehru University Mussoorie

IAS Training Phase-I

After the foundation course for the IAS, the officers start with their training period. Training is administered in a stepwise method, which is mentioned below:

  1. Study Tour (Bharat Darshan):
  2. IAS probationers are grouped and embark on a tour of India.
  3. The tour involves the exploration of Indian diversity, heritage, and culture.
  4. Officers have the opportunity to meet the President of India and various other dignitaries.
  5. A week-long stay is arranged at the Bureau of Parliamentary Studies in Delhi.

The officers are also expected to brush up on their academic skills by following these steps:

  1. Participation in cultural activities, trekking, adventure sports, horse riding, volunteering, and cross-country runs.
  2. Obligatory morning exercise sessions, beginning at 6 am.
  3. Completion of a 15-week training program at LBSNAA.
  4. Comprehensive training covering various areas including policymaking, land management, soft skills, project management, national security, and e-governance.

IAS District Training

  • The training duration is one year, conducted in a specific district.
  • Primarily focused on comprehending developmental issues, challenges, solutions, and their practical implementation.

IAS Training Phase-II

  • Recap of lessons learned in the initial and district phases.
  • Sessions centred around specific subject matters.
  • Introduction to diverse case studies and developmental issues.

Salary Of IAS Officer As Per 7th Pay Commission

The Indian Administrative Services is among the esteemed roles in All India Services. The salary of IAS Officers varies based on their roles. The following outlines the salaries of IAS officers:

IAS Officer Salary in India (As per 7th Pay Commission)
Pay level
Pay structure (INR)
Service period (in years)
District Administration State Secretariat Central Secretariat
10 56,100 1-4 SubDivisional Magistrate Undersecretary Assistant Secretary
11 67,700 5-8 Additional District Magistrate Deputy Secretary Undersecretary
12 78,800 9-12 District Magistrate Joint Secretary Deputy Secretary
13 1,18,500 13-16 District Magistrate Special Secretary-cum-Director Director
14 1,44,200 16-24 Divisional Commissioner Secretary-cum-Commissioner Joint Secretary
15 1,82,200 25-30 Divisional Commissioner Principal Secretary Additional Secretary
16 2,05,400 30-33 No Equivalent Rank Additional Chief Secretary No Equivalent Rank
17 2,25,000 34-36 No Equivalent Rank Chief Secretary Secretary
18 2,50,000 37+ No Equivalent Rank No Equivalent Rank
Cabinet Secretary of India


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What are the steps to become IAS?

Step 1: Choose The Right Undergraduate Course.
Step 2: Complete Your Undergraduate Degree.
Step 3: Start Preparing For The UPSC Exam.
Step 4: Choose Optional Subject Wisely.
Step 5: Apply For The UPSC Exam.
Step 6: Clear The UPSC Exam.

What is the qualification for IAS officer?

Candidate must hold a Graduate Degree from a recognised University. UPSC Civil Services Exam Age Limit: Candidate must be a minimum of 21 years of age and must not be more than 32 years of age. General Category & EWS: 32 years; 6 attempts.

What is the IAS salary?

As per the latest 7th Pay commission, the IAS Officer Salary per Month in the beginning and at the entry level is ₹56100, which leads to ₹56100 – 132000 per month. After years of service and each promotion, the IAS salary in India per month increases.

Is IAS exam difficult?

UPSC is one of the toughest exams in India. Candidates must put their heart and soul into the UPSC preparation to succeed. Lakhs of candidates apply for UPSC Exam every year but less than 1% crack this exam

Who is not eligible for IAS?

If you are already appointed to the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) or Indian Foreign Services (IFS) on the result sheets of an earlier exam and also continue to be a member of any of the 2 services, then you will not be eligible to appear in the exams that particular year.

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