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:

This is probably your first stop after arrival and your gateway to a lot of teaching opportunities as there are plenty of schools and language centers. Finding a job in the biggest city in the country is probably easier than anywhere else, and KL offers much more than just a steady job.

If you’re looking for a bit more adventure, this Asian city is for you. It’s modern in some ways, but quite the opposite in others. It can probably be described as a well-balanced mix of modern and traditional. Skyscrapers versus old mosques, shiny shopping malls, and crowded local markets, it’s all there waiting for you.

Living and teaching in this place will give you two for the price of one. You’ll get to enjoy living on a small island, yet have the convenience of being very close to the mainland and everything else you want to see in Malaysia.

It’s a colorful town where many nationalities live together. Colonial buildings, endless patterned floor tiles, and of course the one ingredient that will have you wonder whether you’re on holiday or actually living here; palm trees.

It is also home to schools, lots of them! Finding a job isn’t going to be hard for qualified teachers, and with salaries ranging around $1,000-$1,400 a month, there will be some funds left to explore the surrounding areas in your free time.

This city in the Noth-West of Malaysia is the perfect spot for those looking for peaceful surroundings. It neighbors the well-known tourist destination Cameron Highlands and is a frequently visited scenic spot. Many people visit the area on a weekend retreat, but why not just live in this tranquil environment when you have the chance to?

From tutoring to teaching in public schools, there is definitely a demand for English learning in Ipoh. Salaries are generally around $1,500, which leaves plenty left to discover and experience your new neighborhood to the fullest.

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.

Get qualified to teach in Malaysia!