CBI Officer

In this career guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about CBI as a career, from roles and responsibilities, to work environment and roadmap to becoming a CBI Officer .

Who's a CBI Officer?

Have you always wished to live the life of the lead character from your favourite crime series or movie? If investigating and solving crime sounds like a thrilling career to you, then a career with the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) might be the right fit for you!

As a CBI Officer, you will carry out investigations that are not involved in the investigations of general police forces. You will take care of illegal activities in every field, be it a special crime, or a case of corruption. Want to have a better look at the job of a CBI officer? Keep reading!

What will you do?

Investigating crime scenes and collecting evidence

The main responsibility of a CBI officer is to investigate crime scenes and collect evidence. As a CBI Officer, you will work closely with local law enforcement agencies and be present during the crime scene investigation.

For example, you will interview witnesses and suspects and conduct investigations in areas where crimes have taken place to help generate leads.

Conducting Surveillance

As a CBI officer, you will be involved in surveillance operations in which you are required to watch a particular person or place to catch a crime in progress. These operations usually come after the CBI has gained intelligence from a source proving a person or a place is involved in criminal activity.

For example, you will keep a close eye on a particular person who is involved in a criminal activity. You will study their daily activities in order to collect evidence against them.

Creating Reports

Regardless of the role a CBI officer plays in the field or in the office, all officers are required to create and file reports on their investigative activities. Depending on the crime and division, you may spend a large part of your time creating reports.

For instance, imagine you are working on a case of financial fraud. In this case, you will be required to create detailed reports about your findings and evidence.

Countering terrorism

As a CBI officer, you will be entrusted with the duty of investigating individuals and groups that may be involved with planning terrorist activities within Indian borders. Suspected terrorists who are the targets of investigations may be foreign or domestic.

For example, you might investigate leads to keep tabs on terrorist organisations. Then you will try to learn about their activities and alert the authorities incharge.

Defending against cyber threats

As a CBI officer, it will be your duty to protect sensitive government data from criminal threats, foreign or domestic. You will also conduct forensic investigations of computers and other related equipment that might serve as evidence for other crimes.

For example, you will make sure that all the sensitive information stays protected and no damage is caused to them.

Where will you work?


If you’re good at researching, you may be assigned to desk work. Here, you will have to handle a lot of paperwork or file work related to various active or pending cases, which will be either clerical or administrative in nature. You will be assigned responsibilities according to fixed working hours and the workload is not very heavy.

On site

If you’re assigned with field work, then you will be working with the Central Bureau of Investigation Task Force on various cases such as inquiries and investigation as well as gathering of information.

How do you get there?

Step 1: Class XI-XII/Junior College

You need to pass the Class XII board exams with minimum 55% aggregate marks. It will be an added bonus if you participate in athletics events for your high school/junior college.

Step 2: Graduation

You can complete your Bachelor’s Degree in any stream from a recognised university. It will be an added advantage if you maintain an interest in athletics along with your academics. You need to clear graduation with a minimum of 50% marks.

Step 3: Entrance Exam

You can apply for the SSC-CGL exam after clearing your graduation. It is conducted by the Staff Selection Commission to recruit Group B and C officers to various posts in top ministries, departments and organisations of Government of India. To know more about this exam, click here.

Alternatively, you can appear for the Civil Services Examination or UPSC exam that is held every year for gaining entry into various civil service jobs. It is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission to recruit suitable Group A officers. Click here to know everything about the Civil Services Examination.

If you get a rank that is good enough to become an IPS officer, you can serve in your allocated cadre for some time, and then go to CBI on probation.

Step 4: Probationary Period

After recruitment in the CBI, candidates get a joining letter from CBI’s Head Office in New Delhi and the candidates are directly sent to the CBI academy for training. The training period for CBI is about 32-34 weeks. As a candidate in training, you will have to live in the on-campus hostel facility provided by the CBI academy. The training is conducted in both indoor and outdoor subjects. At the end of the course, a final examination is conducted for which the minimum prescribed pass marks in each subject is 40%.

Step 5: Land a Job

Once you have completed your training, you are now well on your way to becoming a CBI officer. You can now begin your practical experience.

Congratulations, you are now officially a CBI officer!

What skills would you need?



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Critical thinking

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Problem-solving Skills

Problem-solving Skills

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Communication Skills

Communication Skills

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How do you make it to the top ranks?

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Sub Inspector

As a sub -inspector, your responsibility will be to deal with inquiries, conduct investigations and to gather information. You will look after the cases in courts during the trial that are initiated on the recommendations of CBI. Here, you will be required to visit the courts frequently. You will also have to take criminals to the courts safely and travel across India if you are allotted a case out of state.

Deputy Superintendent

A Deputy Superintendent assists the Superintendent of Police in their duties and in this capacity. As a Deputy Superintendent, you will be a gazetted officer of the second class as far as the duties and responsibilities of a DSP are concerned, usually you will be  responsible for supervision of a subdivision.

Deputy Inspector General

Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) is a rank in the Indian police that is just below the Inspector General of Police. It is a rank held by CBI officers who have successfully served as Senior Superintendent of Police or Deputy Commissioner of Police (Selection Grade) and got promoted to this rank.

Inspector General

The Inspector General is responsible for coordinating activities that promote accountability, integrity, and efficiency in Government. As an Inspector General, you will provide direction for, supervise, and coordinate audits, investigations, and management reviews relating to the programs and operations. You will keep management informed of fraud, abuses, and deficiencies and recommend corrective action concerning the aforementioned vices.


The Director of CBI is responsible for the administration of the entire organisation. For this role, you’d be appointed as per section 4A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act of 1946. As a Director, you’d be appointed through the high-power selection committee of the Prime Minister, the Chief Justice of India and the Leader of the Opposition.

Pursuing your career locally VS abroad

If you wish to pursue a career as a CBI Officer, you will not only need to focus on your intellectual skills to get a spot in the arena, but also need to meet the physical standards. You need to be physically and mentally fit as your talents will be put to the test to decide if you are the perfect candidate.

The easier route would be to clear the SSC CGL exams wherein you can join at the level of Group B and Group C officer. Yes, you can get promoted to CBI Group A officer without having to wait in a big line. However, for that you will have to vigorously explore your career aspirations. The UPSC Civil Services Examination is the second way to become a CBI agent. You must pass this with a high adequate score to be considered for the Indian Police Service (IPS). Once you have experience as an IPS officer, you can then move on to joining the CBI at the level of sub-inspector.

If you genuinely want to know how to get into CBI, you should follow these guidelines to help you clear the entrance exam. Try attempting as many mock tests as you can. Since, you will have limited time for the exam, taking a lot of mock tests will help you speed up. Read newspapers such as The Hindu and The Indian Express on a regular basis to stay up to date on the latest incidents.

CBI offers handsome salaries along with perks and other allowances for its candidates. CBI officer salaries range between INR 44,000 to INR 1,44,000 per month. The highest post a CBI officer can get is the rank of Director General whose salary can reach up to INR 2,25,000 per month.

This career cannot be pursued abroad.

What are your career options?

Anti Corruption Division

As a CBI Officer in the Anti Corruption Division, you will deal with cases of corruption and fraud committed by public servants of the Government, Central Public Sector Undertakings and Central Financial Institutions.

Special Crimes Division

As a CBI Officer in the Special Crimes Division, you will deal with cases of terrorism, bomb blasts, sensational homicides, kidnapping for ransom and crimes committed by the mafia/the underworld.

Economic Offences

As a CBI Officer in the Economic Offences, with cases including bank frauds, financial frauds, Import Export & Foreign Exchange violations, large-scale smuggling of narcotics, antiques, cultural property and smuggling of other contraband items etc.

You’ve only scratched the surface.

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