Malaysia offers many employment opportunities to English teachers. The capital of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur and this is where the majority of jobs are.
The Malaysian government have recently set up a number of new initiatives to raise the overall standard of English teaching in the country and they are currently looking to employ more English teachers in this sector.
Requirements to Teach in Malaysia
Most jobs ask for the usual qualications of a degree and a TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate. You need also to be a mother-tongue English speaker (not always a native speaker although this helps). And, as you might imagine, experience helps.
However, the country does also take new teachers so it is definitely worth applying for work even if you don’t have experience teaching English before. There are often opportunities at private language schools for new teachers; of course expats already resident can easily find work giving private English lessons.
Visas for Teachers in Malaysia
To teach in Malaysia you will need a visa. The application process is fairly straightforward but time-consuming. Because of this it’s often best to get your school to help with the process; they will be able to help sort out the red tape much more efficiently.
Note that the visa is often tied to the job so if you do decide to move schools you will need to do so with care.
The Malaysian Government welcomes foreign nationals (with the exception of visitors from Israel, Serbia and Montenegro) to stay in Malaysia on a long term Social Visit Pass under the “MALAYSIA – MY SECOND HOME PROGRAMME” and the duration of stay is for a period of five years with a Multiple Entry Visa. Teachers from countries where English is not the native language may also find it difficult to get a permit.
For more on this see the official website of the Immigration Department of Malaysia.
Finding Work in Malaysia
Although some jobs are advertised online, many are found simply by being in the country.
Face to face interviews are common (if you’re overseas this can be done through Skype of course) but if you heading to Malaysia on spec you should call at as many schools, language centers, and colleges as you can find as soon as you land in the country. Most schools and language centers are well equipped with computer labs and modern facilities. They welcome applicants so don’t be afraid to call them up and ask for a chance to come in and talk to them. Don’t forget to bring a copy of your TEFL/TESOL CV/Résumé and dress well!
Those who have done it say finding a teaching position takes on average about a month. Local newspapers are a good source of job listings.
Teaching Pay & Cost of Living in Malaysia
Salaries offered to English teachers vary quite a lot. A lowish starting salary (including accommodation allowance) could be about RM 4,500 or $1500 USD (€1187, £954). However, much higher salaries are on offer for well qualified and experienced teachers.
Remember that the cost of living is relatively cheap and you can live well on this salary.
Lifestyle in Malaysia
The Malay people are known as friendly and welcoming hosts. The general vibe of the country, especially in the main cities like Kuala Lumpur, is very multicultural and diverse with a tremendous mix of Indian and Chinese culture.