How to Become Forest Officer? – Qualification, Indian Forest Service Eligibility

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The Indian Forest Service eligibility contains details of the minimum and maximum age limit, qualification, and nationality of the candidates as stated by the Union Public Service Commission. How to Become Forest Officer is the first question that arises in the mind of an aspiring candidate who wants to join the Forest department. The post of Forest Officer is a Group ‘B’ post. To become Forest Range Officer, one needs to clear the Forest Ranger’s Exam conducted by the State Public Service Commission. Their functions include estimation, survey, conservation, and reporting of biological resources, live creatures, and botanical resources within the jurisdiction area of his posting.

To become a forest officer, one needs to clear the three stages of the UPSC Exam namely Prelims, Mains, and Interview or Personality Test. This article will cover how one can become Forest Officer including the eligibility requirements, qualifications, exam dates, etc. required.

How to Become Forest Officer?

To become an Indian Forest Officer, candidates need to clear three stages of the UPSC Exam – Prelims, Mains, and Interview. IFoS-Indian Forest Service is one of three All-India Services of the Union Government. The other two services include Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS). The UPSC Prelims for both the IFoS and IAS Exam are the same, but the Mains for IFoS is different for both exams.

Those who clear the Mains exam will have to go through the interview process. The sum of Mains marks and the marks obtained in the interview will be considered for making the final result. Those candidates who will be able to secure ranks in the final merit list will be recruited as Indian Forest Service officers.

The (IFoS) Indian Forest Service Officer’s fundamental purpose is to implement the National Forest Policy, which has been set up to ensure environmental balance and keep the ecological balance in check. IFoS-Indian Forest Service deals with the forestry services of India.

Step-by-Step Guide to Become a Forest Officer

Candidates aspiring to become an Indian Forest Service Officer must apply for the Civil Service Exam (Prelims). There is no separate application form for IFoS, and candidates need to fill out the same UPSC application form as for the other posts. The IFoS exam is online, so candidates must apply at UPSC’s official website and submit a single application only.

  • Make sure you keep a track of exam dates and do not miss out on any official notice by the Commission related to the exam.
  • Go through the Forest officer qualification and other eligibility criteria before filling out the application form.
  • Start preparing for the exam well in advance. Do not wait for the application form release to begin your preparations.
  • If you have decided that you want to become a forest officer, start looking out at the previous year’s papers and mock tests of UPSC Prelims and Mains to get an idea of the type of questions asked and the difficulty level.

Indian Forest Service Eligibility and Qualification

Candidates applying for the IFoS Exam need to satisfy the Indian Forest Service Eligibility, which includes the age limit, educational qualifications, and nationality criteria.

  • For educational qualifications, candidates need to have a bachelor’s degree in at least one of the subjects from Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Chemistry, Botany, Geology, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, and Zoology or a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry or Agriculture or Engineering from a recognized university or equivalent.
  • The candidate applying for the IFoS Exam must be a citizen of India.
  • Candidates applying for the Indian Forest Service Exam 2023 should be a minimum of 21 years and a maximum of 32 years on 1st August 2023. However, upper age limit relaxation is applicable for selected categories.

How to Become a Forest Officer after 12th?

To Become an Indian Forest Service Officer after the 12th, one should start with the basic necessary reading of the NCERT Books for UPSC. The NCERT books form the basis of most subjects’ preparation in the UPSC Preparation Strategy. They do not cover the entire IFos Syllabus but cover most of the fundamentals.

After clearing the class 12th exam, opt for the subjects necessary for aspirants to sit in the UPSC IFoS Exam. Candidates need to have a bachelor’s degree in at least one of the subjects from Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science, Chemistry, Botany, Geology, Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, and Zoology or a Bachelor’s degree in Forestry or Agriculture or Engineering from a recognized university or equivalent.

IFoS Officer Exam Dates

The IFoS Exam 2023 Important Dates are mentioned below.

IFoS Exam 2023 Important Dates
Notification released on 01 February 2023
Last Date of Application Form 21 February 2023
IFoS Prelims Date 2023 28 May 2023
Mains Date 2023 From 15 September 2023 onwards
Final Result Will be announced

Exam Pattern of Indian Forest Service

The Prelims Exam for IFoS and IAS is the same. There are a total of 6 papers in the IFoS Mains exam and all of them are descriptive in nature. The total marks of IFoS Mains would be 1400.

Check out the exam pattern of the IFoS-Indian Forest Service Mains below.

Paper Subject Total marks Time Duration
Paper I General English 300 3 Hours
Paper II General Knowledge 300 3 Hours
Paper III  

Optional I



3 Hours
Paper IV
Paper V  

Optional II



3 Hours
Paper VI

Indian Forest Service Exam Syllabus PDF

Candidates who are aspiring to become an Indian Forest Service officer must analyze the IFoS syllabus properly to level up their preparation. The syllabus for Prelims is the same as that of other posts, but the Mains optional papers must be checked before starting the preparations.

Indian Forest Service (IFoS) Optional Paper

As you can see above, candidates need to pick two optional subjects. Each optional subject will have two papers which means there will be four optional papers. That’s why candidates need to carefully choose the IFoS optional paper.

List of optional subjects (two to be chosen) available for the IFoS main exam:

  1. Botany
  2. Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  3. Statistics
  4. Agricultural Engineering
  5. Geology
  6. Physics
  7. Civil Engineering
  8. Mathematics
  9. Forestry
  10. Agriculture
  11. Zoology
  12. Chemistry
  13. Chemical Engineering
  14. Mechanical Engineering

Note – The candidates will not be allowed to have the following combination of optional subjects:

  • Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Agriculture and Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science
  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
  • Of the Engineering subjects namely, Agricultural Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering – not more than one subject.

Forest Officer Vs. Forest Range Officer

To become a Forest Officer, one needs to have a deep understanding of the environment, forest system, and botanical ranges. The post of Forest Officer is a Group ‘B’ post.

  • A Forest Officer needs to work for the conservation of the environment, forest system, and green conservation.
  • The post of Forest Officer exists in ministries of Central and State Governments and in some of the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), etc. It is also the Forest Officer’s role to conserve and promote zoological and botanical resources in its area of jurisdiction.
  • The vacancies for the Forest Officer are advertised in the weekly Employment News, published by the Publication Division of the Government of India.

To become a Forest Range Officer, one must clear the Forest Services Exam of the respective state, conducted by the state public service commission. Forest Rangers are officers in charge of protecting, safeguarding, and supervising a segment of a public jungle to keep the public safe from threats.

  • The Forest Range Officer exam notification comes only after 2-3 years, and only science stream graduates can apply for the exam. It is essential to mention that this exam differs from UPSC Exam in many ways.
  • The Exam Pattern of the Forest Range Officer is the same as the IFoS Exam. The only difference is that it is conducted in a single phase. The Forest Range Officer Exam is conducted per the Entrance and Training Rules of 2004 for SFS formulated by the Central Government.
  • It is the prime duty of a forest ranger to act during emergencies like wildfires and natural calamities.
  • The pre-requisite to apply for the Forest Rangers’ test is graduation in Forestry, Natural Resource Management, or related fields.
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