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Career as Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

Last Updated By Ankita Jha on 15 Sep, 2023

How to Become a Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

About Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

An Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer is a highly respected civil servant in India responsible for the management and conservation of the country's forests and wildlife. India is home to some of the most indigenous flora and fauna in the world. Indian Forest Service comes under the civil services of india.  Indian Forest Service officer comprises of various jobs in state forestry office. To protect and preserve the heritage and beauty of these species, there is an authoritative body working towards maintaining it. The authority is called Indian Forest Services or IFS. The major responsibility of the IFS is to implement the National Forest Policy. The policy aims to ensure the ecological stability of the country through participatory sustainable management and protection of natural resources. Usually, an IFS officer assumes various positions in state forest departments. The highest-ranking of IFS official in each state is called as the Head of Forest Forces. It is one of the lucrative careers that offer permanent jobs to qualified persons and attractive salary packages. IFS officers are at the top positions in the state forest department. These officers are recruited through the prestigious Civil Services Examination and undergo rigorous training to handle diverse rolesrelated to forest and environment management. 

The career as Indian Forest Service is a pretigious and highly notable position in the Indian government services. The IFS comes under one of the three All India Services of the Union Government. Thus, career as Indian Forest Services is considered to be top positions in the state forest department. Candidates who are aspiring to choose career as Indian Forest Officer must know that they need to clear three stages of the UPSC Exam - Prelims, Mains, and Interview. It is not easy to become IFS officers. Indian Forest Service is one of three All-India Services of the Union Government. Candidates must be aware of the Indian Forest Service eligibility. Indian Forest Service eligibility has both minimum and maximum age limit. Union Public Service Commission states the minimum and maximum age limit, qualification, and nationality of the candidates who wants to make career as Indian Forest Officer. 

Eligibility to become Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

Indian Forest Services Officer jobs are one of the most prestigious jobs that students apply for through civil services exams. They are primarily responsible for the conservation and protection of wildlife across different parts of the nation. One has to work hard to get the lucrative offers and perks associated with IFS officer jobs as the level of competition is very tough and it is not easy to be part of the Indian government services. One must complete graduation in science stream to become an IFS officer. However, a degree in science stream does not guarantee a job in Indian Forest Service. One must appear for IFS examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). The recruitment process involves three stages, i.e., written exam prelims, written exam mains and interview. One must clear all the rounds of the recruitment process to become an IFS officer. The selected candidates will be trained for two years at Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy. 

Here are the requirements to become an IFS officer:

Educational Qualification: Graduation

Subjects Combination: The candidates must have at least Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science/ Botany/ Chemistry/ Geology/ Mathematics/ Physics/ Statistics/ Zoology as one of the subjects in Bachelor’s degree to be eligible to appear for IFS exam.

Minimum Age: 21 years

Selection Stages: Three stages:

  • Stage I: Preliminary Written Test (IFS Exam)
  • Stage II: Main Written Test (IFS Exam)
  • Stage III: Interview

Training Period: After qualifying all three stages, candidates are trained for two years at Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy.

Types of Job Roles Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

The different job roles of an IFS Officer are described below:

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest: This officer is also called as the head of forest force. The major responsibility of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest is to manage the forests, environment and wildlife issues of a state of India. It is regarded as the highest post/ position in Indian Forest Service in a state.

Additional Chief Conservator of Forest: The additional conservator of forest plays a vital role in assisting the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest. He or She is directly answerable to the Principal Chief and must carry out the responsibilities assigned by the chief.

Deputy Conservator of Forest: A deputy conservator of the forest is also considered as Divisional Forest Officer. The major responsibility of these officials is to manage the forest, environment and wildlife-related issues in Forest Division of a state.

Assistant Conservator of Forest: The major responsibility of these officers is to assist the higher-level officials in the department and completing the tasks assigned by them. They also carry out certain responsibilities applicable to their post.

Forest Range Officer (FRO): A forest range officer is responsible for the efficient management of the respective forest range, act as custodian of all government property associated with the respective forest range and follow the instructions or Deputy/ Divisional Conservator of Forest.

What Does an IFS Officer Do?

The responsibilities of an IFS officer include the following:

  • To Implement policies that aim at ensuring environmental stability and ecological balance.
  • To conserve both plants of a given region.
  • To protect and develop forests and wildlife.
  • They also collect all the information on forest data.
  • To enhance livelihood opportunities of forest-dependent communities.
  • To ensure that the unique species of plants and animals can grow, stay and remain in their natural habitat.
  • To sort out the problems related to the habitation of flora and fauna.
  • To conduct forest surveys on the regular basis to check the work that are being done to maintain the environment of the forest
  • IFS officers have to do important paperwork which is required to be presented to ministry of forest department.
  • They also have to implement National Forest Policy.
  • They also need to initiate plan for legal commercial exploitation for timber trees, etc
  • Protection of Animals in a very important task as well as prevention from illegal activity that involves hurting or killing them.


Employment Sector/Industry for Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

Employment is available in the government sector. The candidates are recruited based on a competitive examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. Candidates who clear all the stages of the recruitment process will be offered employment in Indian Forest Service (IFS). The candidates will be selected for various positions like Forest Range Officer (FRO), Deputy Conservator of Forest, Conservator of Forest, Assistant Conservator of Forest, etc. There are no employment opportunities in the private sector.

Top Recruiting Agencies for IFS Officer

The Government of India is the only recruiter that offers different positions to eligible and qualified candidates in Indian Forest Service. There is no employment in the private sector.

    Planning to choose Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer as your career?

    Pay Scale/Salary of Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

    The employment in the government sector is permanent with outstanding salary benefits.

    Job Profile

    Salary Per Annum

    Principal Chief Conservator of Forest

    Rs. 15,00,000

    Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest

    Rs. 14,00,000

    Inspector General of Forest (Chief Conservator of Forest)

    Rs. 13,00,000

    Deputy Inspector General of Forest (Deputy Conservator of Forest)

    Rs. 12,00,000

    Assistant Inspector General of Forest

    Rs. 10,00,000

    Note: The above figures are an estimate and may vary from post to post.

    Books & Study Material to Become Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

    Here are the best preparation books for IFS examination. 

    • R Gupta’s Indian Forest Service
    • R Gupta’s Indian Forest Service – Agriculture
    • R Gupta’s Indian Forest Service – Botany
    • Indian Polity by M. Laxmikanth

    Apart from the books mentioned above, there are several common books for UPSC civil services prelims exam for IFS and mains exam.

    Pros of becoming a Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

    Environmental Conservation: Indian Forest Service (IFS) officers play a crucial role in preserving and conserving the nation's forests, wildlife, and natural resources, contributing to the protection of the environment.

    Biodiversity Preservation: IFS officers work to safeguard and restore biodiversity by implementing strategies to prevent habitat destruction, combat poaching, and promote reforestation.

    Ecotourism Development: These officers facilitate the sustainable development of ecotourism, promoting responsible tourism that generates revenue while minimizing environmental impact.

    Community Engagement: IFS officers work closely with local communities, involving them in conservation efforts, addressing their concerns, and fostering a sense of ownership over natural resources.

    Research and Innovation: The role allows officers to engage in scientific research, innovation, and technology adoption for sustainable resource management and ecosystem restoration.

    The salary increases as per the growth in experience and positions.

    Cons of becoming a Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

    Challenging Work Environment: Working in remote areas, adverse weather conditions, and sometimes confronting illegal activities like poaching and deforestation can make the job physically and mentally demanding.

    Limited Resources: IFS officers might face challenges due to limited funding, resources, and personnel, which can hinder effective conservation efforts.

    Bureaucratic Challenges: Dealing with administrative processes, bureaucratic hurdles, and sometimes conflicting policies can be frustrating and time-consuming.

    Emotional Stress: Witnessing environmental degradation, habitat loss, and species decline can take an emotional toll on officers who are deeply committed to conservation.

    Risk of Conflict: Enforcing conservation laws might lead to conflicts with local communities dependent on forest resources, requiring delicate negotiation and diplomacy skills.

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    FAQs about Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer

    I am pursuing M.Tech. (Master of Technology) to become an Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer. What other career options do I have ?

    You could become an Agricultural Engineer , a Geologist , a Food Technologist , a Civil Engineer after studying M.Tech. (Master of Technology).

    How much does an IFS officer earn?

    Depending upon the job profile/ designation and work experience, an IFS officer can earn anywhere between INR 10 LPA to INR 15 LPA.

    How can I become an IFS officer?

    To become an IFS officer, you will first have to complete your graduation. Then, you will have to qualify all the stages (three stages) of the IFS examination conducted by UPSC, every year. If you manage to do that, you will be appointed for the job. 

    What is the minimum age requirement to become an IFS officer?

    To become an IFS officer, you are required to have attained a minimum age of 21 years on the day of the application. 

    Can a graduate in any subject become an IFS officer?

    No, to become an IFS officer, you must have completed graduation in any of the following subjects: Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Science/ Botany/ Chemistry/ Geology/ Mathematics/ Physics/ Statistics/ Zoology.

    How long is the training period for an IFS officer?

    The training period of an IFS officer is for two years. 

    Does an IFS officer get salary during the training period?

    Yes, even during the training period of two years, an IFS officer receives her/ his salary. 

    I am pursuing B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science) to become an Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer. What other career options do I have ?

    You could become a Psychologist , a Gemologist , a Geologist , a Biologist after studying B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science).

    I am pursuing B.Tech. (Bachelor of Technology) to become an Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer. What other career options do I have ?

    You could become a Mechanical Engineer , an Aeronautical Engineer , a Computer Engineer , a Petroleum Engineer , a Flight Engineer after studying B.Tech. (Bachelor of Technology).

    I am pursuing M.Sc. (Master of Science) to become an Indian Forest Service (IFS) Officer. What other career options do I have ?

    You could become a Microbiologist , a Gemologist , a Biologist , a Floriculturist , an Auditor after studying M.Sc. (Master of Science).

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