What are the opportunities for a soldier to become an officer in the Indian army?

So, there are various entries through which a soldier (PBOR) can become an Officer in Indian Military. Although you cannot become a Commissioned Officer in the Air Force being a PBOR, you can join the Army as a Commissioned Officer from the Air Force. Unlike this, a PBOR in the Navy can become a Commissioned Officer in the Navy but he cannot join the Army. There is no such entry in the Air Force.

Although in service, a PBOR has to write an exam to be eligible to attend SSB for the Officer entry. They can also write subsequent exams like CDSE after informing their Commanding Officers. Let’s look at them One by One:

PBOR Entries To become a CO through Soldier or Airman:

There are three schemes in this offered to worthy Army Soldier and Air Force Airmen. Soldier/Airmen with higher education qualification NCC certificate and sports achievement are given weightage in selection process:

  1. ACC (Army Cadet College):
  • Education Requirement: 10+2
  • Service Requirements: Minimum Service 2 Years of service in the Army/Air Force
  • Training: Four Years (Three Years in ACC Wing and one Year at IMA)
  • Degree Remark: Graduate Degree from ACC Wing
  • Age: 26 years
  • Marital Status: Married or Unmarried

2. SCO (Special Commissioned Officers):

  • Education Requirement: Class XI CBSE pattern
  • Service Requirements: Minimum Service of 5 years in Army/Sgt and Above for Air Force
  • Training: One year at IMA
  • Age: 27-32 years
  • Marital Status: Married or Unmarried

3. PC(SL) – Permanent Commission (Special List):

  • Education Requirement: Higher Secondary (11th Pass)
  • Service Requirements: Minimum service 10 years in Army/ Sgt and Above for Air Force
  • Training Academy: Four weeks at OTA
  • Age: 32-40 Years (45 yrs for Engineers & 45 yrs for IOB)
  • Marital Status: Married or Unmarried

PBOR Entries To become a CO through Seaman in Navy:

Sailors who possess unique leadership qualities and fulfil requisite conditions in terms of age, education etc can aspire to become Commissioned Officer in the Navy through Commission Worthy (CW) scheme and Special Duties (SD) scheme. Such officer can aspire to Command Ships and Units and even rise to become Admirals! That is Navy’s way of giving an opportunity to deserving few who for some unforeseen reasons could not make it to the officer rank.

Although exact eligibility criteria and service requirements are unknown for CW and SD schemes, number of PBORs including Jawans promoted to Senior Officers post in the three services of the Armed Forces is noteworthy.

Edit: As pointed out by Jitendra Singh, apart from all these entries, a soldier can join any of the three services by giving the CET, namely CDSE and AFCAT. Giving CET as a soldier requires permission from authorities and at times it can be hell of a task just obtaining the permission to appear for the exam.

Firstly note, an officer is also a soldier. it takes lot of grit to be a soldier and once a soldier, always a soldier, whether combatant or non. Soldier is a mental state, officer is a rank and profile given to a soldier on proving one’s worth.

Now once you are found eligible to be a soldier, and found suitable for the rank you applied for, there are ample opportunities to scale up to commissioned rank within the force or higher designations outside the force, through a set process. (criteria for selection need to be met with however).

Basically, once you are in the force, you are national property till you wish to remove yourself from that honor. Hence nation(Government) with its own set paradigms from time to time will pick you up for better role both rank / profile wise, where ever it wishes to. It will then be upto you whether you wish to undertake the role or not.

But if you, yourself wish to scale up pro-actively, then you have to look out for opening, Government floats out time to time, and apply for it, if you meet the QR mentioned while declaring the opportunities

One can scale up within its parent force or even other forces and outside the forces. I myself got in Airforce as an airman but went on to apply and qualify the physical selection process for flying pilot in the year 1983. However I could not qualify the medical Cat for FP. I then went on to become a group one Gazetted officer in CRPF through open entrance.(not service to service).

I know people who were airman and applied and qualified for paramilitary forces(service to service) as group 1 Gazetted officer even to this date.

You have to keep your antennas up for such time to time opportunities.

If you have the determination and grit to get something then the universe will conspire to make you achieve your goal. Stop limiting yourself with set rules. If you are determine, the rules will bend and be make afresh only(could be) for you.

Remember : Every higher post/rank comes with bigger challenge, so prepare yourself for the challenge, post/rank is eventual. If you just focus on the rank and be oblivious of the challenges you are a looser before the selection starts.

There are plenty of opportunities, like Army Cadet Corps (ACC Entry), SCO Entry, RCO entry.