Doctors Turning IAS Officers : Reasons and Success Stories

Anyone who has an interest and some basic qualifications and skills are eligible to appear for an IAS Post. But saying you can become an IAS Officer just because you have an MBBS or doctorate – won’t be fair.

First of all, very few doctors come to Civil Services. Every year about 55,000 MBBS students get their degrees. Yet only 50 get into civil services. Assuming 20 times of that number prepare and give the exam, only 1000 doctors – try to change their fields to civil service every year.

Now try to get the picture that a doctor giving this exam will provide all the attempts possible. So out of 4-5 batches of 2,50,000 doctors, only 1000 give this exam. This amounts to just 0.4% refuting your argument that so many doctors come for IAS.

Doctors appearing for IAS after MBBS have more chances of success compared to many others aspirants. It is because – the UPSC Medical Science syllabus has a lot in common with the curricula of the UPSC CMS (Central Medical Services) exam as well as PG entrance exams which most doctors prepare for during their residency.

Why Doctors Choose to be Civil Servants

After some research – we don’t think many doctors aspire to become IAS officers, but, yes there are a very few who want to do so. And it is usually because of the following reasons:

  • After completing MBBS, a doctor has few choices like doing post-graduation (3 years) or changing profession. To get into post-graduation in a well-established govt. The medical college is also a very tough task as your competitors are all MBBS doctors, and there are very few seats. Also, your life as a postgraduate trainee is very hectic, with long duty hours (many times ,36–40 hours continuously), research works and even very vast course to study. 
  • After post-graduation, all doctors wish to do super specialization -DM (3 years), which is even more competitive (maybe the most competitive exam in India) with very few seats in govt. That says a doctor has to learn and study almost throughout his lifetime. While for IAS you have to clear a highly competitive exam once and then, you don’t have to give any review in your lifetime.
  • Recently, various state government is forcing specialist doctors to work in rural areas for 2–3 years (more in some states) with minimal salary and no perks. Many doctors are forced to work as a medical officer there and are practicing medicine. All their hard work becoming a specialist doctor goes to the bin. Also, after 2–3 years of general practice, their skills as a specialist fade away.
  • There is a recent surge in the cases of harassment of doctors in India.
  • Many times, when doctors see impoverished health schemes and provisions coming from health mysteries, they wish to go in the system to change them or come with better arrangements.
  • IAS officers are given too much power in every department in India.
  • And lastly, some are genuinely interested in the public service. They personally develop an interest in the administration of the country after observing many hardships faced by ordinary citizens. They want to serve their country and its people by becoming Civil Servants and using their knowledge for the benefit of the people.

All these are the reasons, and we think some doctors are changing their profession in general or aspiring to become IAS or UPSC officers. That said, we don’t want to demoralize any student aspiring to become a doctor. Being a doctor is considered a very noble and prestigious profession itself with high respect and sound money.

In AIIMS, out of 70 graduates, 35 leave for the USA, ten apply for CSE, 25 for Indian PG, 2-3 for MBA and other miscellaneous courses.

Successful Candidates Who Chose IAS after MBBS

  • Dr. Shena Aggarwal – AIR 1
  • Dr. Arpit Jain – AIR 194
  • Dr. Roman Saini – AIR 18
  • Dr. R. Vaithinathan – AIR 37
  • Dr. Vineeth Sukumaran Pillai – AIR 56


At the end of the day, every individual or aspirant must decide the path they want to choose in their life. Both the medical field and the Civil Service professions have their ups and downs. Examine your personality traits, dreams, aptitude and decide on your career. Before appearing for the UPSC Civil Services Exam, understand the roles and responsibilities of an IAS officer.

Areas covered in this article

  • Why Doctors Choose to be Civil Servants
  • Successful Candidates who chose IAS after MBBS

Related Links