How To Become an IAS Officer: Salary, IAS Full Form, Qualification & Eligibility

How To Become an IAS Officer

How To Become an IAS Officer: Salary, IAS Full Form, Qualification & Eligibility

IAS is considered one of the most prestigious jobs in India. It is a dream of every student to become an IAS officer. To become an IAS officer it is required a lot of hard work, strong commitment, and dedication.IAS is one of the most sought career options in India as it provides an opportunity to work at the forefront of policymaking and governance, thereby contributing to the development and welfare of the nation. You can become an IAS by writing the civil services examination conducted by UPSC every year. In this article, we are going to learn about "how to become IAS officer" step by step.

IAS Full Form

IAS stands for "Indian Administrative Service." It is one of the prestigious civil services in India and is a key part of the Indian Civil Services, which also includes other services such as the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Foreign Service (IFS). The IAS officers hold key positions in the government and are responsible for the implementation of government policies and administration at various levels.

Eligibility Criteria for IAS

Education Qualification

  • To become an IAS officer you need to graduate from any discipline from the recognized university under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.
  • A student can also write an examination in his/her final year of graduation however student must provide proof of passing the degree examination while filling out the Detailed Application Form for the Main Examination.

Age limit for IAS

  • The minimum age limit for writing the UPSC Exam is 21 years for any category.
  • The maximum age limit for the General Category is 32 years
  • The maximum age limit for the OBC category is 35 years.
  • The maximum age limit for the SC/ST category is 37 years.

Number of attempts for IAS

  • Maximum number of attempts for general category candidates is 6.
  • OBC candidates can give 9 attempts.
  • SC/ST candidates have no limitations on the number of attempts until candidates reach the upper age limit of 37 years.

Process of Becoming IAS

To become an IAS officer you have to clear the civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). This examination is widely considered one of the toughest competitive exams in India. The syllabus is comprehensive and covers a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to current affairs, history, geography, polity, economy, and general aptitude.

Apart from academic knowledge, it is crucial to possess strong analytical and problem-solving skills, effective communication abilities, and a deep understanding of social, political, and economic issues. Candidates should stay updated with national and international current affairs and develop a well-rounded perspective on various issues. This examination comprises three stages: the Preliminary examination, the Main examination, and the Personality Test (Interview).

Preliminary Examinations

The preliminary exam is the first stage of the civil services examination. This examination is qualifying in nature and consists of two compulsory papers General Studies Paper I and General Studies paper II of 200 marks each. General Studies Paper II also known as CSAT. Both the papers are of objective type and Each paper has a duration of two hours. The final ranking does not include preliminary marks. The notification of  the preliminary exams out every year in the month of June on the UPSC official website 

Syllabus for Preliminary Examination

Paper I: 
  • General StudiesCurrent events of national and international importance
  • History of India and the Indian National Movement
  • Indian and World Geography: Physical, Social, and Economic Geography of India and the World
  • Indian Polity and Governance: Constitution, Political System, Panchayati Raj, Public Policy, Rights Issues, etc.
  • Economic and Social Development: Sustainable Development, Poverty, Inclusion, Demographics, Social Sector Initiatives, etc.
  • General issues on Environmental Ecology, Biodiversity, and Climate Change - that do not require subject specialization
  • General Science

Paper II: 
  • Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT)Comprehension
  • Interpersonal skills including communication skills
  • Logical reasoning and analytical ability
  • Decision-making and problem-solving
  • General mental ability
  • Basic numeracy (numbers and their relations, orders of magnitude, etc.), Data interpretation (charts, graphs, tables, data sufficiency, etc.) (Class X level)

Main Examinations

The civil services main examination is the second stage of the selection process conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The main examination is the written examination which tests candidates' comprehensive knowledge and understanding of various subjects along with their analytical and communication skills. The main examination is usually held in the month of September or October. You need to fill out the UPSC Detailed Application Form (DAF)  for the Mains exam and submit it online on the official UPSC website The main exams consist of 9 Papers out of which seven are considered for ranking. These papers are as follows:

  • Paper A - Compulsory Indian Language
  • Paper B - English
  • Essay
  • General Studies I
  • General Studies II
  • General Studies III
  • General Studies IV
  • Optional Subject Paper I
  • Optional Subject Paper II
Candidates are required to choose one optional subject from the list provided by the UPSC.

UPSC mains syllabus

Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) consists of a comprehensive syllabus that covers various subjects. The syllabus for the Main Examination is given below:-

  • Paper A - Indian Language: Comprehension, precis writing, usage, vocabulary, short essays, etc.
  • Paper B - English: Comprehension, precis writing, communication/language skills, vocabulary, short essays, etc.
  • Essay: Candidates are required to write essays on multiple topics that test their ability to present their thoughts clearly and coherently.
  • General Studies I- Indian Heritage and Culture, History, and Geography of the World and Society.
  • General Studies II- Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice, and International Relations.
  • General Studies III- Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Environment, Security, and Disaster Management.
  • General Studies IV- Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude.
  • Optional Subject Paper I- Candidates need to choose one optional subject from the list provided by the UPSC, and the syllabus for this paper varies depending on the chosen subject.
  • Optional Subject Paper II- This paper is the second part of the optional subject chosen by the candidate and is in continuation of the syllabus from the first optional paper.

It is important for candidates to thoroughly understand and study the prescribed syllabus to prepare effectively for the Main Examination. candidates should also stay updated with any revisions or updates to the syllabus by regularly checking the official UPSC website and related notifications.

UPSC Personality Test (Interview)

The personality test is the final stage of the civil services examination. The Interview consists of 275 marks. The interview aims to assess the overall personality, suitability, and attitude of the candidates for a career in public service. It assesses candidates on various parameters such as intellectual abilities, communication skills, ethical values, and overall personality. Candidates are evaluated on their knowledge of current affairs, their understanding of administrative roles and responsibilities, and their ability to provide a well-rounded and thoughtful response.

UPSC IAS Interview Syllabus

The Personality Test does not have a specific syllabus like the preliminary and main examinations. However, Candidates should prepare themselves thoroughly in these areas:-

  • Current Affairs
  • General Knowledge
  • Ethics and Integrity
  • Personal Background
  • Socio-Political Issues
  • Problem-Solving Abilities
  • Communication Skills

After clearing the interview the candidates are allotted various administrative positions based on their final ranking and the availability of vacancies. The final ranking depends on the marks obtained in the mains and the interview. If a candidate secures a sufficiently high rank, they may be appointed to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), which is one of the most prestigious and sought-after positions in the Indian bureaucracy.

UPSC IAS Training

Upon appointment to the IAS, candidates undergo training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge required for their roles. This training typically includes a comprehensive program covering various aspects of public administration, governance, and other related subjects. The training aims to prepare officers for the diverse challenges and responsibilities they will encounter during their tenure as civil servants.
After completion of training, IAS officers are typically assigned to various state cadres or departments based on the availability of vacancies and the administrative requirements. Upon joining their respective cadres, they assume various roles and responsibilities within the administrative setup. These roles may include:

  • Assistant Collector: Initially, IAS officers might work as an Assistant Collector to gain practical experience in the field.
  • Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM): They may be appointed as SDMs and are responsible for the administration of a sub-division within a district.
  • Various State Government Departments: IAS officers can also be posted in various state government departments, where they handle specific administrative tasks and help in policy implementation.

Role of IAS Officer

here are the key roles of an IAS officer in brief points: Policy formulation and implementation.
  • Administration and governance.
  • Developmental initiatives and project management.
  • Supervision of government schemes and programs.
  • Financial management and budgeting.
  • Providing policy analysis and advice.
  • Crisis management during emergencies.
  • Judicial and quasi-judicial functions in maintaining law and order.

IAS Officer Career Progression

Early Career (0-5 years)

Mid Career

(5-15 years)

Senior Level

(15+ years)

Sub-Divisional Magistrate

(0-2 years)

District Magistrate/


Deputy Commissioner

(3-5 years)

Divisional Commissioner (15+ years)

Additional Collector

(2-3 years)



 of a Department (5-10 years)

Principal Secretary/

Additional Secretary

(15+ years)

Municipal Commissioner (3-5 years)

State Government Department Head

(10-15 years)

Chief Secretary

(20+ years)

Cabinet Secretary

(25+ years)

IAS Salary In India per Month

The salary of an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer is structured in different pay scales and is determined by the Union government. Here is a general overview of the salary structure for IAS officers at different levels:

1. Junior Scale: The basic salary for an entry-level IAS officer is at the Junior Scale level, which is around Rs. 56,100 per month.

2. Senior Time Scale: IAS officers who have completed around 5-6 years of service are eligible for the Senior Time Scale, with a pay scale of around Rs. 67,700 per month.

3. Junior Administrative Grade: After about 9-12 years of service, officers can be promoted to the Junior Administrative Grade with a pay scale of around Rs. 78,800 per month.

4. Selection Grade: At this level, which is typically reached after 14-15 years of service, the pay scale is around Rs. 1,18,500 per month.

5. Super Time Scale: After 17 years of service, officers can be promoted to the Super Time Scale with a pay scale of around Rs. 1,44,200 per month.

6. Above Super Time Scale: IAS officers can reach this level after about 25-30 years of service, with a pay scale of around Rs. 2,05,400 per month.

In addition to the basic pay, IAS officers are entitled to various allowances and benefits, including dearness allowance, house rent allowance, travel allowance, and other perks, which vary depending on the officer's posting location and other factors.


To sum up, the journey of an IAS officer is all about growing and taking on more important roles in the government. They start by working on the ground and move up to manage bigger areas and lead various departments. As they progress, they become advisors to top government officials, making important decisions that affect the country. Their hard work and knowledge are crucial for making India a better place for everyone.


1. Can I Join IAS after class 12th?
Ans. No, you cannot become IAS after class 12th. To be an IAS officer you need to be to graduate from any discipline from the recognized university under Section-3 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, or possess an equivalent qualification.

2. Is it hard to become  IAS officer?
Ans. UPSC civil services examination is considered one of the toughest examinations in India. It Requires lots of hard work and motivation to clear the exam.

3. What is the highest post in IAS?
Ans.Cabinet Secretary


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  1. This blog provides a comprehensive overview of what it takes to become an IAS officer, covering essential topics such as salary, qualifications, and eligibility criteria. The detailed information on the IAS full form and the step-by-step guide to the selection process are particularly helpful for aspiring candidates. Overall, this blog serves as a valuable resource for anyone interested in pursuing a career in the Indian Administrative Service.

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