How to Become a CBI Officer in India – 2021

How to Become a CBI Officer in 2021: Step by Step Guide


Do you have what it takes to become a CBI officer? Are you fit for the investigational assignments? Are you ready to broaden your mind and get into the world of investigative analysis? If the answer is yes – this job is for you.

The well-known and highly reputable CBI agency (its full name is “Central Bureau of Investigation”) is what you must have been looking for. Your sharp mind and the nerve for a challenge will surely take you to reach the goal. It might get difficult along the way, but if you are a true investigative material – you will only take pleasure in such hardships.

So, what is your first step in this career? We will provide the answer for how to become a CBI officer in India in this article!

What is the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)?

Let’s imagine Interpol wants to perform investigative actions in India. Whose support would they require? The Central Bureau of Investigation comes into the picture. Well, you should have now understood what CBI is – India’s main agency for investigation (just like the FBI in the USA). 

To be more specific, CBI is the organization that takes charge in resolving the most heinous crimes like international crimes that require a high level of cooperation with other agencies or countries, central law breaches, corruption, state-wide organized crime, etc. Its regulating body, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, empowers the CBI to investigate crimes of corruption, sua sponte crimes, special offenses, economics-related crimes, and other high-impact cases.

CBI: jurisdiction, organization, departments

Formerly a separate department of the Indian police force, the agency was then reassembled as a separate unit by a special decree of the Ministry of Home Affairs and its name changed to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). At first, its primary goal was to fight the corruption within the government, however, at some time its zone of operation was broadened to dig into all kinds of hard felonies like terrorism, murders, and cases of kidnappings. The CBI can get involved in such issues only by the appeal from the central or separate local governments. Anyway, in some circumstances, if authorized by a supreme court, the agency has the power to take the case, not waiting for any preliminary governmental request.

The central investigation agency (CBI) consists of seven dedicated departments, each of which specializes in a separate area. Those departments are: Division of Resonance Crimes, Counter-Corruption Department, Department of Cooperation with International Forces, Department of Economic Felonies, Department of Administration, Department of the Central Laboratory for Forensic Science, and the Department of the Prosecution Directorate.

Well, this paragraph was a wee bit long but necessary. Now enough with the high-level overview part. Let’s get deeper into how to join the CBI.

How to get into CBI?

If you follow your dream – everything you wish is achievable. And there are several paths you can take to get to yours. Some of them would require a high-grade performance which would get you to the top posts, while others can provide an easier approach and assure a slightly lower position within the agency. You will have to choose for yourself, according to your ambitions. Let’s take a look at those paths.

SSC CGL (Combined Graduate Level) examination

Taking the mentioned exam is the right choice if the role of an assistant inspector at the investigation agency is good for you from the beginning. Enrollment into the positions at the CBI can be achieved only with the help of the SSC (Short Service Commission) exams. This is the most favored path of joining the CBI but in no case an easy one. Be ready to face a great deal of competition. A position in an agency under the central government, irrespectively of the importance – this couldn’t be any different.

The requirements for a recruiter are to have a bachelor’s degree certificate from a known esteemed university, be under the age of 25, physically fit to meet the established norm-points, and free of any medical alerts.

Now, for the process. There are 3 phases: the CBI officer exam itself (SSC CGL), a medical check, and an interview.

CBI officer exam (SSC CGL)

The exam has 2 targeted stages in which a recruiter will have to deal with numerous multiple-choice questions. 

During the first stage, you will find only one examination sheet in front of you and have two hours for completing the assignment. The task is aimed at checking the cleverness and analytical ability, overall erudition, handling the numbers, and mastery of the English language. Two hundred correctly answered questions will award you with two hundred points.

The 2nd stage has two examination sheets, two hundred questions in each, and two hours for completion of each sheet. English mastery and measurable aptitude are the main competencies during this one.

Medical check

Just as in police or the army, the process of choosing candidates for investigative service is no different. Aside from examining your erudition, your physical strength alongside medical screening will be closely evaluated. It could not have been any other way when things get close to national security. The evaluation commission will check the sportive buildup and mental well-being of each individual trying to enroll. You will be tested against many physically challenging tasks. Separation of assignments for men and women can be expected. You can find all additional information on the website of SSC.


This is the final stage of the process and getting to this mark will mean that the previous ones have been completed successfully. The authorized personnel from the CBI will perform a kind of an interrogation to figure out whether the enrolling individual is ready for what it takes to become the CBI officer. Just be yourself, and once the interview is finished the position of an assistant inspector will be in your pocket.

However, the challenges only start for you. There is a long way up ahead if your ambition is to get to the top ranks. Showing good results will surely make your superior notice and promote you.

Civil services exam under UPSC

If taking long paths is not your style, there is a possibility to get to the top rank of the central investigative bureau right away, not standing in lines waiting for something to happen. However, such an approach can be fairly difficult.

The officers of the police service can receive a transfer order to the RAW, IB, or CBI. By their will, they can join the investigation agency (CBI) and get to the top ranks. However, to do this one has to already be a police officer.

UPSC exam will help you get there. Enrolling for the IPS (Indian Police Service) is possible after passing the tests with good results. After making it to the police ranks, one can provide for transferring to the CBI.

Indian police service is a part of AIS (All India Services) and all enrollment to the branches of that body is performed only via the UPSC exams. There are three steps in the Civil Services exam: preliminary test, main test, and interview.

The first one is otherwise called a CSAT (Civil Service Aptitude Test). You will have to complete 2 examination sheets right before the main test and an interview. During the second step, when applying for the main examination, a candidate can choose among the listed services in the profile. Make sure you pick AIS since the police service lies under that body. This stage will ‘surprise’ you with nine sequential examination sheets. Have fun completing all of them correctly!


The central investigative agency (CBI), under India’s central government, is a known and esteemed unit. It would be really difficult to get yourself among its ranks. Two favored paths to achieve this are taking UPSC or SSC exams. However, be mindful and put a considerable effort in taking this decision and spend some time preparing for the examinations.

The above information was assembled to help young and ambitious individuals and give some answers for how to get a job in CBI. Both methods work, but they are in no way easy ones, so don’t take the responsibility lightly. 

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