Forest officers can be appreciated as heroes who conserve precious habitats and wildlife. They are public employees and generally work in different forest divisions. It can be said to be a daredevil job profile. This article will provide information on How to become a forest officer in India? 

Continue reading this article to know the responsibilities of a forest officer. You can also know about how to join forest department, forest officer exam, forest officer qualification, their skills, eligibility, education, etc. 

Who is a Forest Officer?

A Forest officer is a government representative with the responsibility to conserve forests and wildlife. They manage forest resources and strive to maintain the health and sustainability of forests. They are vested with powers by local and union governments to preserve natural habitats and protect wildlife. Their roles extend beyond conservation. They are also required to enforce rules, regulations, and principles. They work in a hierarchy and take orders from higher officers and efficiently manage subordinates. 

Skills Required to Become a Forest officer

  • Passion for the environment and animal conservation.
  • Must be flexible and adaptable to different work conditions
  • Strong communication and leadership skills
  • Knowledge of forest conservation and management
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Physical fitness and stamina
  • Should be aware of local laws and regulations for forest conservation

What Does A Forest Officer Do?

  • Forest officers are responsible to manage and conserve forest lands from encroachment, trespassing, and smuggling. 
  • Monitor wildlife activity and conduct surveys from time to time to understand migration and behaviour.
  • Monitor incidents of wildfires and control them to avoid loss of animal lives and vegetation. 
  • Conduct regular patrols in the forest area to keep trespassers out. 
  • Help in avoiding man-animal conflict when an animal wanders into human settlements.
  • Provide veterinary care and recreation facility to injured animals.
  • Establish communication with tribals and be in regular connection to preserve nature. 
  • Create ecotourism initiatives to bring people close to nature. 
  • Manage forest resources efficiently in compliance with local regulations. 
  • Collaborate with other agencies like excise, fire, police, etc to achieve common goals. 

Eligibility to Become a Forest officer

  • The forest officer aspirant must typically be between 21 and 32 years of age. The upper age is relaxed depending on reservation status. 
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree from a recognized university in the following subjects.  
  • Botany, Zoology, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Animal Husbandry, Forestry, Agriculture, or Engineering. 

How to Become a Forest Officer in India? A Step-by-Step Guide

Here is a step-by-step guide to becoming a Forest officer in India:

  1. After completing the 10th standard, take up science (preferred) or commerce stream for 10+2.  
  2. Take up a Bachelor’s program in any of the subjects mentioned above. 
  3. Some courses may also require clearing the entrance examinations for admission.
  4. Once you have met all the eligibility conditions, apply online for the IFS examination on the UPSC or SPSC website. The examination authorities will release notification of the examination in a timely manner. 
  5. Candidates must successfully clear multiple rounds of recruitment viz Prelims, Mains, and Interview. 
  6. After clearing these rounds, candidates must attend the forest officer training for 2 years and await posting in different forest ranges

Entrance Exams to Become a Forest Officer

Aspirants for the role of Forest officer should clear competitive examinations to be eligible for the position. The entrance exams in India are

  • Indian Forest Service Examination – The exam is conducted by the Union Public Services Commission (UPSC). It is conducted annually to fill the vacant positions of forest officers in the union cadre. 
  • State Forest Service Examination – State Public Service Commissions conduct competitive exams to fill the forest officer roles in forests protected by state governments. They typically work under the state governments.

Both examinations are conducted in three stages. They are

  • Preliminary Written Test
  • Main Entrance Examination
  • Interview

After clearing all these rounds, candidates should further undergo mandatory training for the job role.  

Career Scope for Forest Officers

The different roles a Forest officer can get promoted to are

  • Principal Chief Conservator of Forest
  • Additional Chief Conservator of Forest
  • Deputy Conservator of Forest
  • Assistant Conservator of Forest

Salary of a Forest Officer

Forest officers are employed either by the union or State Governments. Average forest officer salary is 8 LPA. The entry-level salary of a Forest officer is 4.2 LPA to 4.8 LPA depending upon state governments. There are no private opportunities for forest officers as the forest is a public asset and is protected by the government. Depending upon experience, seniority, and promotion, the salary of a forest officer can range up to 18 LPA. 

Pros and Cons

Pros of Becoming a Forest Officer:

  • Opportunity to make a positive impact on the environment.
  • A chance to work in a natural setting.
  • Generally a government job, therefore, job security.
  • Great career advancement  

Cons of Becoming a Forest Officer:

  • Should work in remote and isolated locations
  • Should work for long and unusual hours
  • Physically demanding of stamina and fitness
  • Danger to life from poachers and wild animals


  • Forest officers are government employees vested with powers to conserve the environment and protect wildlife. They are employed by central and state forest departments and generally work in forest ranges. 
  • To become a forest officer, and candidate must have certain eligibility criteria to appear for the entrance exam conducted by UPSC and SPSC. After clearing multiple rounds of examination, they must undergo mandatory training to become forest officers. 


Which Course is Best to Become a Forest Officer?

There is certain academic eligibility to apply for the IFS examination. Taking subjects like Zoology, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, Veterinary Science, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Forestry, Agriculture, or Engineering will be best for forest officer aspirants. 


Is Indian Forest Service Equal to IAS?

Indian Administrative Service (IAS) has higher powers ad functions. The profile of an Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer is limited to environmental and forest concerns. 


Does Forest Service Fall Under UPSC?

Forest Service falls under the Ministry of Environment and Forests. However, UPSC conducts examinations for the selection of candidates for forest service. 


What are the Different Ranks in the Forest Department?

The different ranks in the forest department are 

  • Principal Chief Conservator of Forest
  • Additional Chief Conservator of Forest
  • Deputy Conservator of Forest
  • Assistant Conservator of Forest
  • Forest Officer


Is Forest Officer a Good Career Choice?

Being a forest officer should be a passionate choice. It is physically demanding and needs to work in remote and isolated regions. If you are up to meeting these conditions, being a forest officer is a great career choice. 


Is it Hard to Become a Forest Officer?

Although getting academic eligibility may not be ough, it is hard to prepare for the competitive exam conducted by UPSC and SPSC. It needs a high level of preparation to clear the examinations. 


Do Forest Officers Carry Guns?

Yes, forest officers carry guns while on duty. They should mandatorily carry weapons during patrolling in forest ranges. Go through the article above to know more about how to become a forest officer in India.


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About the Author: Sanjay Hota

Meet Sanjay Hota, an edtech content writer with 4+ years of experience. Sanjay creates engaging content for educational institutions and edtech companies, and in his spare time, he helps students and graduates find clarity about their career prospects through his career counselling programme.