Career as Army Officer

Early Salary

3 - 4 L

Mid Salary

5 - 6 L

Senior Salary

10 - 12 L

Academic Pressure

High

Job Pressure

High

It is an extremely responsible and challenging job to lead a dedicated team of young men and women in critical times of war or natural calamities and also in high-risk border areas. The job requires an officer to be strong – mentally and physically – while doing his or her job and handle a crisis calmly. For getting into the Army you must have the passion to serve the country and the courage to overcome obstacles. It is no cakewalk – with only  less than 10 per cent of all Army hopefuls cracking the SSB (Service Selection Board) interviews. The SSB includes a five-day evaluation and an entrance test. The evaluations are done by three assessment officers who observe, analyse and grill candidates. 

What do they do?

An Army officer leads a platoon, company, division, brigade, corps, command or battalion in the Indian Army, depending on his/her rank.The Army broadly has three arms — for fighting, support and service.  In the fighting arm officers deal with purchase of arms and ammunition, are sent on combat missions and handle  risk-infested tasks. The support arm backs them with ancillary services like electric and mechanical repairs to equipment, telecommunication signals and other technical help. The service arms provide logistical support to the entire army e.g. food supplies, rations and medical services.

Skills Needed

You need to possess officer-like qualities (popularly known as OLQs) in order to become an officer. These qualities are: effective intelligence, reasoning ability, organising ability, power of expression, social adaptability, cooperation, sense of responsibility, initiative, speed of decision, group influencing ability, self-confidence, liveliness, determination, courage and stamina. Learn some tips and tricks to ace the SSB interview at http://indianarmy.nic.in/arms/aec/join.html.

How do I get there?

You can either write the National Defence Academy exam (if you have passed Class 12) for entry to NDA, Pune, or the Combined Defence Services exam (if you are a graduate) for entry to OTA (Officers’ Training Academy), Chennai, or IMA (Indian Military Academy), Dehradun. OTA is for officers who want to join the short-service commission, while candidates wanting permanent commission should apply for NDA or IMA.

There is a technical entry also, where budding and current engineers can apply. Technical entry is open for engineering graduates/engineering students (final year or pre-final year)/Class 12 passed students (with physics-chemistry-maths). For all these entries, check out newspaper advertisements in March/April and October/November. After the written exam, you have to appear for the Service Selection Board (SSB) interview, which lasts for five days and tests your leadership qualities.

Typical day in the life of a Army Officer

6am: PT (physical training) with the men 
8am: Breakfast in mess
9am: Train and supervise the training of soldiers 
12pm: Inspect security in and around the unit, check out if plans for the Army exercise are in order and if something else is needed 
1pm: Lunch
2pm: Rest or read a book  
4pm: Play a round of squash at the club 
6pm: Head for a dinner party at the commanding officer’s place

Pros & Cons about this career

. Highly respected profession where you learn to live with a high degree of discipline and ethics . Very secure job like any other government service

. Family life may suffer as you have to move often, and at some stations, your family cannot accompany you . Is a very challenging profession

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