How to become an Officer in the Indian Army

Job Profile

Army officers are tactical operation leaders and start their career as commander of a platoon. A platoon is generally the smallest military unit which is led by an army officer who is usually a lieutenant. In special units such as special forces, the platoon leader is a captain due to the increased responsibility of the position.

Army officers are responsible for the training, discipline, control and tactical employment of their unit. Everything an army unit does or does not do falls under the responsibility of its leader.

An army officer employed as a tactical operations leader usually has a comparative wealth of experience in the field. Needless to say an army officer should enjoy outdoor activities since most of their activities may be on the field both during training as well as during operations.

How to join Indian Army

There are different ways to get commissioned in Indian Army. One can join Indian army right after the School or after graduation. There are different entry schemes for recruitment of officers in Indian army. All commissioned officers are selected through tests conducted by Union Public service Commission of India and some other entry schemes like Women Special Entry Scheme, NCC Special Entry Scheme, JAG entry and some technical entries.

Types of Commission

There are two types of Commissioned officers in Indian Army:

  1. Permanent Commissioned Officers
  2. Short Service Commission Officers

Permanent Commission (PC) is a permanent career in Army i.e. you serve till you retire. Permanent Commission to Indian Army is granted by Indian Military Academy (IMA) Dehradun and Short Service Commission through Officers Training Academy (OTA) Chennai. In case of Short Service Commission, you are recruited to serve as a Commissioned officer for minimum of 10 years. You have an option to request PC or an extension of another 4 years on completion of 10 years of service.

Entry Schemes and Eligibility Criteria

Permanent Commission (PC)

Entry SchemeAge LimitEducational QualificationsMode of SelectionHow to Apply?
National Defence Academy (NDA)
Direct Entry Scheme16½ – 19½ years12th standard of 10+2 system of education or equivalentWritten Examination by UPSC and SSB InterviewApply in response to advertisement in March/April & Oct. / Nov.
Indian Military Academy
Indian Military Academy (IMA)
Direct Entry Scheme19½ – 24 yearsDegree or equivalent at the time of joining the course.Combined Defence Services Exam(CDSE) conducted by UPSC and SSB InterviewApply in response to advertisement in March/April and Sept/ Oct.
Technical Graduate Course (TGC)23 – 27 yearsEngineering Degree in notified disciplinesSSB InterviewApply in response to advertisement in March /Apr & Sept/ Oct.
Army Edcuation Corps (AEC)19½ – 25 yearsPost Graduate in notified Subject with 1st/2nd div.SSB InterviewApply in response to advertisement in Apr/ May
University Entry Scheme18 – 24 yearsFinal and Pre-final years students of Engineering degree course.Campus Interview and SSB InterviewApply in response to advertisement in May and Nov.
Technical Entry Scheme (TES)16½ – 19½ years10+2 pass with 70% aggregate in PCM.SSB InterviewApply directly to the Recruiting Directorate

Short Service Commission (SSC)

Entry SchemeAge LimitEducational QualificationsMode of SelectionHow to Apply?
Officers Training Academy (OTA)
SSC-Non-Technical (men & women)19½-25 yearsDegree or equivalent at the time of joining the courseCDSE conducted by UPSC and SSB InterviewApply in response to advertisement in March/April & Sept/ Oct
SSC – Technical20-27 yearsEngineering Degree in notified discipline.SSB InterviewApply in response to advertisement in March/April & Sept/ Oct
NCC Special Entry19½-25 yearsGraduates with 50% aggregate marks, two years service in NCC Sr. Division, with minimum ‘B’ Grade in ‘C’ certificate Exam.SSB InterviewApply in response to advertisement in Dec/Jan & June/July