TEACH ENGLISH IN MALAYSIA

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About Teaching English in Malaysia

Known for its tropical beauty, multicultural cities and fantastic cuisine, Malaysia offers a truly distinct Southeast Asian experience. Spanning the South China Sea, from the Malay Peninsula to the legendary island of Borneo, Malaysia reflects the many faces of Asia. Take a stroll through the old streets of Kuala Lumpur, Penang, or Malacca, and observe firsthand how centuries of trading among Malay, Arabian, Indian, Chinese, and Dutch seafarers played a part in creating the multi-faceted Malaysia of today.

Here you will encounter an enticing blend of cultures, religions, and cuisines. Within several city blocks, you can visit temples, pagodas, churches, and mosques before deciding whether you wish to dine on world-class Chinese, Indian, or Malaysian fare. 

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Despite a large population and a fast developing economy, the job market for first-time teachers is not quite as large as some other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand, but there are opportunities, especially for those with a BA degree, TEFL certification & some teaching experience. Most English teaching job interviews are conducted in advance over the phone or Skype for Malaysia. English teachers are typically responsible for airfare and housing expenses in most cases. Most teachers live in apartments recently vacated by previous teachers, and many room with coworkers.

A good salary allows English teachers in Malaysia to live a comfortable lifestyle. Schools typically offer 20 to 25 hours of work per week, leaving plenty of time to travel and explore. English teachers need at least a bachelor’s degree to teach in Malaysia, while a master's degree is preferred. TEFL certification is required (teachers often need to provide a copy to get their work visa). Most teaching jobs are concentrated in Kuala Lumpur and other major cities.

Teaching Requirements

TEFL CERTIFICATION

A TEFL certification is required to teach English in Malaysia. You do not need professional teaching experience but earning your TEFL certification will provide you with the training and qualification you do need to get hired. 

Teachers interview in advance from their home country via video call or phone. Because of this, it is common to take one of the following TEFL courses:

You may also wish to take one of the 4-Week In-Person TEFL Courses that we offer in 21 locations worldwide.

NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER

You must be a native English speaker to teach English in Malaysia. This means you must be a citizen from recognized English-speaking nations: USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

A Bachelor's degree is required to secure a job teaching English in Malaysia although some schools may prefer a Master's degree. Please note, your bachelor's degree does not need to be in education, it can be in any field.

TEFL Jobs in Malaysia

JOB TYPES

The most common job types in Malaysia consist of:

  • Teaching children in public schools.
  • Teaching adults in private language schools.
  • Teaching Business English to adults.
  • Tutoring private students one-on-one.
  • Teaching English Online.

HIRING & VISA

English teachers in Malaysia can find jobs all year round with an expected downtime around the Lunar (Chinese New Year) which occurs across two weeks in late January through early February.

Schools in Malaysia conduct interviews in advance - this means you will interview for teaching jobs from your home country via phone or video call.

You will enter Malaysia on a work visa which you will secure in advance of your arrival there.

HOURS

English language schools in Malaysia offer approximately 20 to 30 hours of classroom work per week plus additional hours for prep time. This allows for plenty of time to travel and explore. 

STUDENTS

It is most common that your students will be children, adults, or business professionals. 

Salary & Cost of Living

START-UP COSTS

Start-up costs will range from $1,350 - $2,700 USD (5,300 - 10,550 MRY). These are expenses you will incur from your arrival in Malaysia until you receive your first paycheck and may include things like rent, apartment supplies, transport, groceries, getting your new local cell phone number set up, etc. 

SALARY

A solid hourly wage enables teachers the opportunity to live a comfortable lifestyle while in Malaysia. Teachers can expect to make $1,200 - $2,300 USD (4,700 - 9,000 MRY) per month. 

While some schools provide housing or an added stipend, this is not common so you will need to remember to account for accommodation or temporary housing for your first few weeks in your start-up costs until you find an apartment to rent. In rare cases, flights are sometimes reimbursed by your employer, but this isn't typical so don't count on it.

COST OF LIVING & SAVINGS

The cost of living typically ranges between $900 - $1,800 USD per month (3,500 - 7,000 MRY).

Teachers in Malaysia can typically save between $300 - $500 USD per month after expenses.

 

What does teaching in Malaysia look like?

Watch ITA alumni couple Steven and Jess show us a day in their lives living and teaching English online from Malaysia.

Want more? We've got you covered! Visit our Video Library to watch day in the life videos from our alumni and get a glimpse into what your life as a teacher in Asia could look like! 

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Teaching English in Malaysia FAQs

Do I need a degree to teach English in Malaysia?

To teach English in Malaysia, make sure you understand what is required:

Required:

  • A bachelor's degree is required - your bachelor's degree does not need to be in education, it may be in any field. Some schools may prefer a Master's degree.

  • You must be a native English speaker to teach English in Malaysia. This means you must have citizenship from recognized English-speaking nations: USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

  • A TEFL certification.

  • Understanding of the types of English teaching jobs that are available.

  • Savings for start-up costs.

How much money can I make teaching English in Malaysia?

Teachers can expect to make $1,200 - $2,300 USD  (4,700 - 9,000 MRY) per month in Malaysia.

English teachers in Malaysia save roughly $300 - $500 USD per month after expenses.

Start-up costs will range from $1,350 - $2,700 USD (5,300 - 10,550 MRY). These are expenses you will incur from your arrival in Malaysia until you receive your first paycheck and may include things like rent, apartment supplies, transport, groceries, getting your new local cell phone number set up, etc. 

While some schools provide housing benefits or an added stipend, this is not common so you will need to remember to account for accommodation or temporary housing for your first few weeks in your start-up costs until you find an apartment to rent. In rare cases, some employers might reimburse flights, but this isn't always the case so don't count on it.

What are my job opportunities for teaching English in Malaysia?

The most common job types in Malaysia consist of:

  • Teaching children in public schools.
  • Teaching adults in private language schools.
  • Teaching Business English to adults.
  • Tutoring private students one-on-one.
  • Teaching English Online.

English teachers interview in advance for teaching jobs in Malaysia. This means you will interview from your home country via phone or video call.

Hiring season is year-round with an expected downtime occurring around the Lunar (Chinese New Year) which is typically a two-week period in late January through early February. 

What type of visa do I need to teach English in Malaysia?

You will enter Malaysia on a work visa that you will obtain in advance from your home country before arriving in Malaysia.

Recommended TEFL Courses for Teaching English in Malaysia

Part-Time Online TEFL Course

What's included 👇

  • 170-Hour Online Certification
  • 11 Weeks Part-Time
  • OFQUAL Level 5 Accreditation from TQUK
  • Live Office Hours with Your Instructor & Peer-Participation with Classmates
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 20-Hours Live Practice Teaching

Intensive Online TEFL Course

What's included 👇

  • 4 Weeks Full-Time (40+ hours per week) - required class time typically 6-8 hours daily
  • OFQUAL Level 5 Accreditation from TQUK
  • Live Office Hours with Your Instructor & Peer-Participation with Classmates
  • Lifetime Job Search Guidance
  • 10-Hours Live Practice Teaching (Virtual) built into the course
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Why Our Alumni Love Us!

Natalie Bigelow

Taught English in Asia

Natalie Bigelow

I got TEFL certified because I knew it would allow me to live abroad and see more of the world. I did a lot of research on TEFL companies and quickly saw that ITA has one of the top tier programs. Along with the quality of their certification, I was impressed by the lifetime career guidance and the huge alumni network they have. The TEFL training gave me the confidence to enter a classroom and teach a room full of excited students.

Cynthia Miller

Taught English in Malaysia

Cynthia Miller

I chose International TEFL Academy because the support staff was amazing and they gave me a veteran's discount. The instruction and assignments went far above and beyond what I expected from an online course. I would recommend teaching in Malaysia, though the schools here do usually require some teaching experience. Being in Asia, they place a high value on education. The kids are usually motivated to learn, and if they aren't, then their parents are.

Andrea Vandermeer

Teaches English in Asia

Andrea Vandermeer

Teaching English abroad has allowed me to live in Asia for the past five years and really get to know the region. I also wanted to do something that could make a difference. Teaching children to communicate successfully in another language can help improve their futures. My ITA TEFL certification helped me get my current teaching position. It has also been very helpful in planning lessons and finding suitable activities for my students.

Visit our blog to read more articles and stories by our alumni about their experiences teaching English in Hong Kong, Asia, and the world!