IPS Officer: Qualification, Role, Training, How to Become IPS Officer

By Shubhra Anand Jain|Updated : September 15th, 2022

Those who are preparing hard to join the Indian Police Service can read this article and know how to become an IPS officer in India. There are a series of steps and preparation involved to clear the exam and become an IPS officer. Giving extra effort, endless energy, and a well-planned preparation strategy can help you achieve your goal.

The preparation to become an IPS officer begins with being well versed with the UPSC exam and its syllabus. After the aspirants clear the exam, selected officers are trained at LBSNAA and SVPNPA. The responsibility of an Indian Police Service officer reclines on safeguarding the public and maintaining harmony amongst them.

Know more about how to become an IPS officer along with details about the minimum qualification required, preparation, training, roles & responsibilities.

Table of Content

What is IPS Officer?

IPS full form is Indian Police Service which is one of the three All India Services. The selection of IPS officers is done based on their ranks in the UPSC exam which is conducted on an annual basis to recruit candidates for civil services. An IPS officer is the one who provides the command to the state and union territories' police forces, CAPFs, National Security Guards (NSG), National Investigative Agency (NIA), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and other such forces.

Who can become IPS Officer?

One can become an IPS officer if he or she knows about the eligibility criteria of the exam. Before you begin your preparation, you must understand the eligibility details mentioned below which include age limit criteria, physical requirements, nationality, and IPS officer qualification.



Physical Requirements

- The minimum height for women is 150 cm.

- The minimum height for men is 165 cm. 

- The minimum chest girth of women and men is 84 cm and 79 cm.

- Myopia should not exceed minus 4.00D.

- Hyper myopia should not exceed plus 4.00D.

Age limit

- Must have a minimum age of 21 years.

- Should have a maximum age of 32 years on the 1st of August in the year of examination.


Should be a citizen of India, a subject of Nepal, a Tibetan refugee who came to India before January 1, 1962, for permanent settlement in India, or Migrants from any of the following countries for the permanent settlement in India- Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and many more. 

IPS Officer Qualification

The minimum qualification required to become an IPS officer is a graduation degree from a recognized university. All those who have appeared for the final year exams and waiting for their final result can also apply for the exam.

It is important for candidates to check the IPS officer qualification beforehand to avoid the cancellation of the application form at later stages.

How to become IPS Officer?

To become an IPS officer, a candidate must pass the Civil Services Examination held by the Union Public Services Examination. We all know that around 8 lakh candidates apply every year but only a handful of candidates become IPS officers.

Go through the below steps to know how to become an IPS officer:

  • Apply for UPSC Exam - IPS Officer Exam
  • Effective preparation - It is important to ensure that you are fully prepared for the IPS exam.
  • Give the UPSC Prelims exam
  • Give the UPSC Mains exam
  • Go for the Personal Interview

After the interview, the Commission announces the final merit list based on the Mains exam and interview results.

Apply to UPSC: The first and foremost step to becoming an IPS officer is to apply for the Civil Services Examination by completing the UPSC application form released by the Union Public Services Commission every year. The candidates will be informed about the IPS Exam through various famous newspapers such as Rozgar Samachar, Employment news, and many more. 

IPS Preparation: The Civil Services Examination consists of three stages such as-

  1. Preliminary Examination: The first part of the IPS officer exam is a preliminary exam. The total number of marks assigned for the prelims exam is 400 marks which are divided into two papers. Both the papers will be objective types that are multiple-choice questions. It is the qualifying exam for the final exam. After clearing the prelims exam, you can appear for the Mains examination.
  2. Mains Examination: The second part of the UPSC exam is the Mains examination. This exam can only be taken if you have cleared the prelims examination. The exam paper is of a descriptive type.
  3. Personal Interview: Once you have cleared the Mains exam, the candidate is then eligible to appear for the interview or personality test round where the general knowledge, subject knowledge, mental ability, and critical thinking skills of the candidate are assessed. 

What to study to become an IPS Officer?

For effective preparation, many candidates have doubts about what to study to become an IPS officer. Check the books mentioned below to efficiently prepare for the IPS officer exam.



Book Name

History & Indian Culture

Modern History

A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir

Ancient History

‘Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT)

Medieval History

History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra (Old NCERT)

Indian Culture

1.‘Facets of Indian Culture’ by Spectrum

2. Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania


Physical Geography

1. Certificate Physical and Human Geography

2. Maps Oxford School Atlas

Indian Geography

India: Physical Environment (NCERT)

World Geography

1. Fundamentals of Human Geography (NCERT)

2. Certificate Physical And Human Geography



1. India People and Economy (NCERT)

2. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh



Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

Current Affairs

Daily, Monthly & Weekly Current Affairs

The Hindu

Science & Tech

Science & Tech


2. Daily Newspapers

3. ISRO website

Environment & Ecology

Environment & Ecology

1. Recent Events on Climate change through Newspapers

2. NIOS Study Materials

What Subjects are Required to Become an IPS Officer?

In order to become an IPS Officer, you are required to qualify for the IPS exam conducted by the UPSC. There are no specific subjects or streams defined to become an IPS Officer. The Civil Service Examination requires knowledge in subjects such as history, geography, politics, science and technology, and many other subjects.

UPSC Prelims paper 1 syllabus includes the following subjects:

  • History - Ancient, Medieval, Modern History along with Post Independence History 
  • Indian Polity and governance
  • Indian and World Geography
  • Economic and Social Development
  • Environment 
  • General Science

UPSC Prelims paper 2 syllabus includes the following subjects:

  • Interpersonal Skills and Communication Skills
  • Basic English Comprehension Skills
  • Decision-making skills and problem-solving skills
  • Basic numeracy
  • General mental ability

The UPSC Mains Exam consists of 7 papers including various subjects. Check the details below. 



Paper 1

Essay (can be written in the medium of the candidate’s choice)

Paper 2

General Studies – 1 (Indian Heritage & Culture, History & Geography of the World & Society)

Paper 3

General Studies – 2 (Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice & International Relations)

Paper 4

General Studies – 3 (Technology, Economic Development, Biodiversity, Security & Disaster Management)

Paper 5

General Studies – 4 (Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude)

Paper 6

Optional Subject – Paper 1

Paper 7

Optional Subject – Paper 2

IPS Officer Training

After you clear the entrance exam and become an IPS officer, you have to complete the mandatory training at LBSNAA and SVPNPA.

IPS Officer Training: Once the candidate qualifies all the three stages of the Civil Services Examination, including prelims, mains, and interviews, the top rankers are then acknowledged as IPS probationers and are forwarded to Sardar Vallabhai Patel Police Academy for a year. At this time, probationers undergo strict physical training and are taught all aspects of policing and administration. Following successful training, the IPS officers are then placed as per the requirements of the state and the central government in policy and investigative organizations.

Roles and Responsibilities of an IPS Officer

The IPS Officer come under the Ministry of Home Affairs. Now, we will see the roles and responsibilities of an IPS officer:

  • Performs Border functions and responsibilities such as Counter-terrorism, Border policing.
  • Protecting civil peace and order like Crime restrictions.
  • Maintains Anti-smuggling and narcotics trafficking and VIP safety.
  • It also controls disasters such as Biodiversity and security/implementation of environmental laws.
  • You must serve as HoDs in policymaking in the Ministries and Departments of Central and State Governments, Public sector undertakings (PSUs) both at the centre and in states.
  • You are supposed to interact and coordinate closely with Other All India Services, The Indian Army. and Armed Forces in general.


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FAQs on IPS Officer

  • We have two modes of becoming an IPS officer. The first and foremost is through direct recruitment that is conducted under UPSC as the civil services exam. Another way is through promotional interviews and exams held within the unit.

  • Any candidate who has a bachelor’s degree can apply for the IPS officer exam. The age limit must be 21-32 years for the general category. Candidates must check the detailed eligibility criteria provided above before filling out the application form to become an IPS officer.

  • The attempts for the IPS Exam for the following categories-

    • There are 6 attempts for the General candidates up to 32 years of age.
    • No limits for the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled tribes up to 37 years of age. 
    • There are 9 attempts for the Other Backward Classes up to 35 years of age.
    • There are 9 attempts for handicapped general and OBC and no limits for the SC/ST. 

    Candidates who prepare in a strategic manner can become IPS officers in one year of the exam cycle. It varies from person to person.

  • In order to become an IPS officer after 12th, you need to pursue a Bachelor’s degree from a renowned university or should have an equivalent qualification. After doing this, you are required to register for the CSE exam organized by UPSC. After that, you need to go for the preliminary, main, interview round to be selected for training.

  • Growing into an IPS officer is not an easy task. It requires a lot of effort and a huge amount of dedication. Only the best aspirants are selected for this post. In order to choose these deserving candidates, UPSC conducts the exam for those who wish to become an IPS officer.

  • There are multiple roles and responsibilities fulfilled by IPS officers in India which include monitoring crime investigations, VIP safety, border safety, and terrorism control operations, handling disasters, etc.

  • The total duration of the IPS officer training is 2 years. It includes 3 months of foundation course at LBSNAA, a basic course of 11 months at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVPNPA), district training for 6 months, and last 1 month of phase 2 training at SVPNPA, Hyderabad.

  • A day in the life of an IPS officer is filled with pride and unpredictable circumstances. Every day, they get a chance to serve the nation through their selfless services. Sometimes, it is also seen that the work becomes hectic but then it depends on person to person on how they are dealing with it.

  • After the 7th pay commission, the IPS officer salary is quite good which allows them to live a life with all necessities. They get a government-owned house to live at the place where they are posted. Along with that, there are several allowances as well which make the officers live an above-average life with their families.

  • If you are determined to become an IPS officer and prepare hard for it, then nobody can stop you from accomplishing your dreams. One should not wait for the application form and start their preparations well in advance. Go through the complete syllabus of the UPSC prelims exam and start preparing for each topic one by one. Have a look at UPSC previous year papers to understand the difficulty level and the type of questions asked in the exam.

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