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How to become Collector - Steps to become a collector

Update on 17 Mar, 23

How to become Collector - Steps to become a collector

How to become Collector

Most students at some point of their life dream of becoming a Collector. This desire is more common among the students who have completed or are in the final year of their Graduation exams. A District Collector is one of the most lucrative, responsible and prestigious jobs in India. More than 8 Lakh aspirants appear for the Collector exam every year.

Those of you, who want to take the plunge must be thinking How to become Collector. In this article we shall discuss in detail how to become a District Collector. So keep reading to gain insights.

Who is a Collector?

A District Collector is an IAS Officer who is responsible for managing an entire district, maintaining law and order and collecting revenue. A Collector is a Central Government official who holds the highest position in a State and maintains the administration of the State.

Although a Collector is appointed by the Central Government, it is the State Government who supervises the functioning of the Collector.

Which exam is required to become a Collector?

A Collector is appointed by the Central Government and aspirants must qualify the Union Civil Services Commission (UPSC) exam conducted by the Central Government. This exam is held once a year.

If  the question comes to your mind about how to become Collector, the answer is, you must first become an IAS(Indian Administrative Service) officer by qualifying the Civil Services Exam.An IAS Officer after 6 years of service and 3 promotions can become a Collector.yo can also check out - How to become an IAS in India

You can also become a District Collector by qualifying the State Public Service Commission (SPSC) exam. However after qualifying the SPSC exam you will require a few years of hard work and promotions to become a Collector.

What is the eligibility criteria to become a Collector?

So for all of you who are thinking about how to become Collector Officer, first make sure that you meet all the eligibility requirements that are necessary to become a District Collector. The eligibility criteria for the UPSC exam is mentioned below:

Nationality of the candidate

  • The candidate must be a citizen of India. 
  • Citizens of Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet can also appear for the UPSC exam.

Age limit of the candidate

  • The minimum age limit of the candidates must be 21 years. The maximum age limit of the candidate should not exceed 30 years. 
  • Relaxation in age limit
  • OBC candidates must have a maximum age limit of 33 years.
  • SC/ST candidates must have a maximum age limit of 35 years.

Academic qualifications of the candidate

  • Candidates must complete their Bachelor’s Degree exam in any stream(Arts/Science/Commerce) from a recognized University. 
  • Candidates appearing for the final year of Graduation exams are also eligible for the Prelims exam. However, to appear for the UPSC Mains exam, candidates must pass Graduation.
  • Candidates who have completed Graduation through the Distance Learning program can also apply.
  • Working professionals can also apply provided they meet the age limit.
  • Candidates who have a ICAI/ICSI/any technical qualification can also apply for UPSC exams.

Total number of attempts

  • General category- 6 attempts.
  • OBC candidates- 9 attempts
  • SC/ST candidates- No limitations

How to become Collector with UPSC (Civil Services Exam)?

There are 3 steps to become a Collector. These are Preliminary( Prelims) or the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), Mains and Interview. You have to qualify all the 3 steps to become a Collector.

Follow Steps:

Step 1 - Prelims Exam

The Prelims Exam has 2 papers- General Studies I and General Studies II.

General Studies I has objective type questions of 200 marks. The Paper has a duration of 2 hours and has objective type questions. The total number of questions is 100.There is a negative marking of 0.33 marks for each wrong attempt.

 General Studies II has objective type questions of 200 marks.The duration of the Paper is 2 hours and has objective type questions. The total number of questions is 80.There is a negative marking of 0.33 marks for each wrong attempt.

Step 2 - Mains Exam

Candidates who qualify the Prelims exam must verify documents on the UPSC website. The documents required for verification include Class 10 Certificate, Category Certificate and Graduation Certificate. 

The Mains exam consists of 9 papers and the total marks is 1750. There are a total of 9 papers with subjective questions. Out of these, 7 Papers are compulsory and 2 Language Papers are optional. One Optional Paper is English and you can choose the other Paper. The marks obtained are qualifying in Nature.

 Only those candidates who get top ranks will qualify the Mains exam.

Step 3 - Interview

Candidates who qualify the Mains exam with top ranks will be called for the Interview. Only 400-500 candidates will be called for the Interview round.The total marks for the Interview round is 275 and will be added to the final cut off list. Those of you who are thinking how to become Collector, it is mandatory to qualify the Interview round.

How to become Collector after completing 12th

The minimum qualification required to become a Collector is Graduation from a recognized University, You can complete the Graduation Degree in any stream(Arts/ Science/Commerce) to become a District Collector.

So those of you who are thinking how to become Collector after 12th let me tell you, one can become a Collector only after completing Graduation from a recognized Institute.

But you can start your preparations after your 12th Board exams by reading books, newspapers and keeping yourself updated with the current affairs. Start reading NCERT books for History, Environment and Social Science. Keep yourself updated with Current Affairs by reading newspapers. You must also have knowledge in International Relations, Economy and Constitution of India.

How to prepare for the Collector Exam

The Collector Exam is one of the toughest exams and you have to start your preparations early to crack the exam. Start by studying your NCERT books from 5th to 12th standard. You have to study for a minimum of 10 hours a day to clear the UPSC exams.

If the question, how to prepare for the Collector Exam is bothering you, go through the syllabus given below in detail.

Preliminary exam

  1. Paper I- Current affairs


  • Indian History
  • Indian History
  • General Science
  • Current affairs
  • Indian Geography
  • Social Development
  • World Development
  • English skills
  • English Comprehension
  • Intrapersonal skills
  1. Paper II- Civil Service Aptitude Test(CSAT)


  • Analytical ability
  • Decision making ability
  • Numerical ability
  • Language skill chosen by student
  • Mental ability
  • Logical reasoning

Mains exam

  1. Essay- Any topic
  2. General Studies I- Indian heritage, Culture, Geography


  • Indian Culture 
  • History of the world
  • Modern History
  • Geography
  • Society
  • Events and effects on society
  1. General Studies II- Indian Constitution and Indian Politics


  • The Constitution of India
  • Administrative Law
  • Amendment process
  • Central Government and Administration
  • Electoral process
  • Central and State Government privileges
  • Public Services
  • Control over Public expenditure
  • The Political System
  1. General Studies III- Technology, Environment and Disaster Management


  • Energy
  • Biotechnology
  • Nuclear Policy of India
  • Disaster Management
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Space Technology
  • Agriculture
  • Security 
  • Economy
  • Environment
  1. General Studies IV- Ethics and Human Interface


  • Ethics and Human Interface
  • Aptitude
  • Attitude
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Probity in Governance
  • Ethics and Public Service values in Public Administration
  1. Optional Paper I and Optional Paper II (Choose any one subject)


  • Law
  • Medical Science
  • Management
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Public Administration
  • Zoology
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
  • Statistics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry 
  • Botany
  • Anthropology
  • Agriculture
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Commerce
  • Geology
  1. English and Language paper (Choose  English/Hindi/Any language in Indian Constitution)


  • Essay
  • Precis writing
  • Translation from English
  • Translation from any language
  • Grammar
  • Comprehension



  • Subject knowledge
  • Personal skills
  • Mental ability
  • Personality test
  • General knowledge

What books should you study to become a Collector

  • Fundamentals of Geography (NCERT)
  • Indian Art and Culture
  • Indian Year Book
  • A brief history of modern India
  • Concise History of Modern India by Sujata Menon
  • Indian Polity for Civil Service Examination by Laxmikanth
  • Indian Economy by Mishra and Puri

For gaining knowledge on Current affairs you can study newspapers like The Hindu, Jagran Josh,Indian Express, The Economic Times.

How to become Collector with SPSC exams

You can become a Collector by appearing for the SPSC exams conducted by the States of India. But you will not become a Collector directly by qualifying the SPSC exams. It will require several years of service and few promotions to become a District Collector on qualifying the SPSC exam.

The syllabus and pattern of SPSC will be almost similar to UPSC. The State history paper will be added in the SPSC exams. Also, the total number of Papers will be much lesser than that of UPSC.

What are the responsibilities of a Collector

  • Maintain law and order in the District.
  • Control tax and revenue collection of a district.
  • Act as the Chief Development Officer of the District(CDO) and Grievance Redressal Officer.
  • Act as the Rural development and Human Resource Development Officer of a District.
  • Manage the Election process of the State Legislature.
  • Act as the Officer in charge in Emergency situations.
  • Play an important role in the Disaster management and Crisis management of the State.
  • Implement land reforms and look after the well being of the farmers.

What is the salary of a District Collector

Students now that you know how to become Collector you must be eager to know the salary of a Collector too. A District Collector enjoys a handsome salary along with several benefits and perks.

The salary of an IAS officer is INR 94,000 to INR 1,72,000 per month. A Collector is also entitled to other benefits like House Rent Allowance (HRA), Security bills, Vacations, Dearness Allowance, Travel Allowance,Pension,Medical Allowance.

 and Post retirement benefits.

How will you prepare for the Collector exam?

  • Start preparing early for the UPSC exams  as it is a very tough exam with lakhs of applicants. You must start your preparation after Class 12 Boards.
  • Manage your time properly and follow a time table to study all the subjects thoroughly.
  • Solve previous years question papers to understand the exam pattern and score well in the exams.
  • You can join Coaching classes (online or offline) to prepare for the Collector exam and for getting better guidance.
  • Keep yourself updated with the latest news and current affairs.


Students I hope now it is clear to you how to become Collector. You have to qualify all the 3 rounds of the UPSC exam to become a Collector. So, if you want to serve the society as a District Collector,study the above article carefully, work hard and achieve your dreams.

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