Teaching English in Malaysia

Teaching English in Malaysia

Malaysia Overview

Main Cities/AreasSalary range (USD/month)
Kuala Lumpur and the Malaysian peninsula$1000 – $3500

Malaysia is situated in the center of Southeast Asia and offers much in the way of variety from modern urban environments to deserted tropical beaches. The multicultural capital city of Kuala Lumpur is where most of the teaching jobs are, but there are also opportunities in Penang, other cities on the Malaysian peninsula, and Malaysian Borneo. English is widely spoken and it is difficult to find teaching work unless you have significant experience and preferably a DELTA or MA TESOL.

Flag of Malaysia - Wikipedia

Typical Requirements

Degree?TEFL Certification?Experience?
YesYes1-2 Years

Experienced teachers are advised to look for openings at the British Council as these are by far the best-paid positions for those without a Master’s Degree. If you do hold a relevant MA (or DELTA) then you should have no problems finding a well-paid position in a prestigious institution. Inexperienced teachers are advised to get some experience elsewhere first!

Look out for opportunities to mentor local Malaysian teachers.

Be sure to negotiate with potential employers regarding the availability of free or subsidized accommodation.

Whether you have a position arranged in advance or not, it is normal to arrive in Malaysia on a three-month tourist visa and then begin the lengthy process of obtaining a work permit. You must be 27 years old or over to teach English in Malaysia.

Both furnished and unfurnished accommodation is easy to find. Rental agreements are usually for a minimum of twelve months and require an upfront deposit of two months’ rent. Food and transport are relatively inexpensive although they expect to pay more for imported Western foods.

Pros and Cons of Teaching in Malaysia


  • Excellent infrastructure – daily tasks can be accomplished easily
  • Very cheap and relatively efficient transport system in KL
  • Lots of opportunity for professional development


  • Few openings for those without experience or postgraduate qualifications
  • The work permit application process takes several weeks
  • The cultural differences associated with living in a Muslim-majority nation may be a shock to the inexperienced