Teaching English in Malaysia

Everything you need to know about teaching English in this Asian paradise.

While the market for teaching English in Malaysia isn’t as big as in China or Japan, and finding a job needs a bit of preparation and time, it’s certainly worth it. Malaysia is a country of crossroads, where different cuisines, cultures, and people come together in a way like no other place in Asia. By teaching English here, you’ll get to dive into the mix and be a part of it yourself.



Wages generally sit between $1,000-$2,200 depending on the location, school, and your experience.



Expect to be spending a lot of time outdoors, whether your exploring markets, shopping, or spending time immersed in nature.



Malay is the national language, but Chinese and English are also commonly spoken here, making it a friendly place for expats.



Hot and humid year-round, due to the country’s proximity to the equator. During a few months of the year rainfall increases, but there’s always a sunny beach somewhere.

TEFL wages in Malaysia

Wages in Malaysia depend largely on your qualifications and experience. If you’re relatively new to teaching, you could expect to earn around $1,000 per month. If you have some experience and perhaps even a degree in teaching, you could expect up to $2,000 or more.

Class type: Wages:
Public schools $1,000-$1,800 p/m
Language schools $1,000-$2,000 p/m
Private tutoring $10-$15 p/h

Most contracts cover working 20-35 hours per week, split between teaching hours and office/lesson preparation hours.

It’s possible to live well and even save money while teaching English in Malaysia. However, you should keep in mind that while some jobs include benefits, you’ll usually be expected to pay for your own accommodation and transport.

Where to teach English in Malaysia

Malaysia is a pretty central spot in Asia that makes expats feel like home and has a need for English teachers. The country isn’t huge, but there’s still plenty of things to see and places to live and teach. Longer holidays might be tough though. You will have to choose whether to spend your precious days off within the borders of the country or go to Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam…

Here are some of the most popular locations for English teachers in Malaysia:

Food in Malaysia

Some say it’s the best food in the world, which probably has something to do with the fact that Malaysian food is a big melting pot of different cuisines. Food is always near, literally everywhere around you, so satisfying your cravings won’t be a challenging mission.

English teaching requirements in Malaysia

To teach English in Malaysia, you’ll have to meet several requirements set by the government. While there may be exceptions in certain circumstances, for the most part you’ll need to meet the following criteria:

Non-natives: If you don’t have a passport from the UK/US/IRE/CAN/AUS/NZ/SA, you can still get a fully legal work permit in Malaysia. However, it is quite a competitive job market, with a preference for native English speakers.

Teachers without degrees: Unfortunately, you’ll need a degree to work in Malaysia, with schools holding a preference for teachers with education-related degrees, and even master’s degrees. If you do have a degree, but it’s not education-related, you might want to wait until you have 1-2 years of experience before considering Malaysia.