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How To Become An International School Teacher in Malaysia?

Are you passionate about teaching and looking for new international opportunities? If so, becoming an international school teacher in Malaysia could be a fantastic choice. Malaysia offers a diverse culture, a vibrant economy, and a booming education sector. In this article, we will explore the pathways and benefits of teaching in Malaysia, the qualifications required, the hiring process, insights into living in Malaysia, popular international schools, and the challenges faced by international teachers and how to overcome them.

iPGCE or iQTS – Pathways and Benefits in Malaysia

If you want to teach in Malaysia, you have two main pathways to choose from: iPGCE (International Post Graduate Certificate in Education) or iQTS (International Qualified Teacher Status). Both pathways have their own benefits, so let’s take a closer look:


The iPGCE is a postgraduate qualification recognised internationally. It is specifically designed for individuals who want to enhance their teaching skills and gain a global perspective. By obtaining an iPGCE, you will have a higher chance of securing a teaching position in Malaysia’s esteemed international schools.

In addition to the academic benefits, pursuing an iPGCE in Malaysia can also provide you with a unique cultural experience. Malaysia, known for its diverse population and rich heritage, offers a vibrant blend of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and indigenous cultures. This multicultural environment can enrich your teaching practice by exposing you to different perspectives and teaching methods.


If you already hold a teaching qualification from your home country, you can opt for the iQTS route. This pathway allows you to become a qualified teacher in Malaysia without the need to undergo extensive training. It saves you time and opens doors to exciting teaching opportunities.

Moreover, choosing the iQTS route can also lead to professional networking opportunities in Malaysia. Building connections with local educators and school administrators can not only enhance your teaching career but also provide insights into the Malaysian education system and classroom dynamics.

Both the iPGCE and iQTS pathways offer numerous benefits, such as:

  • Enhancing your teaching skills
  • Increasing your employability globally
  • Experiencing a new culture
  • Working with diverse students
  • Exploring Malaysia’s beautiful landscapes and attractions

Why become a teacher in Malaysia?

Malaysia boasts a vibrant and dynamic education sector that attracts teachers from all over the world. So why should you consider becoming a teacher in Malaysia? Let’s explore some compelling reasons:

Malaysia’s education system is not only known for its academic excellence but also for its emphasis on holistic development. As a teacher in Malaysia, you will play a crucial role in shaping well-rounded individuals who are not just academically proficient but also socially and emotionally intelligent. The focus on character building and soft skills alongside academic achievements sets Malaysian education apart and offers a unique and fulfilling teaching experience.

  • Cultural diversity: Malaysia is a melting pot of cultures, religions, and traditions. As a teacher, you will have the opportunity to interact with students from various backgrounds, fostering a rich and inclusive learning environment.
  • Professional growth: Malaysia’s education system is continually evolving, providing you with ample opportunities for professional development. Whether it’s attending workshops or collaborating with experienced educators, you’ll have the chance to enhance your skills and knowledge.
  • Competitive salary: International teachers in Malaysia are well-compensated, with salaries comparable to those in Western countries. This allows you to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle while exploring the wonders of Malaysia.
  • Work-life balance: Malaysia offers a relaxed pace of life, allowing you to strike a balance between work and leisure. From stunning beaches to lush rainforests, there will be plenty of opportunities to unwind and explore during your time off.

Moreover, Malaysia’s geographical location makes it a gateway to Southeast Asia, offering easy access to neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia. This presents teachers with the exciting prospect of not only exploring Malaysia’s diverse landscapes but also embarking on enriching travel experiences across the region. Whether it’s immersing yourself in bustling city life or seeking tranquillity in rural retreats, Malaysia serves as a springboard for unforgettable adventures beyond the classroom.

What qualifications do I need to teach in Malaysia?

Now that you’re intrigued by the idea of teaching in Malaysia, let’s discuss the qualifications you’ll need. To be eligible to teach in Malaysia, you generally need:

  • A bachelor’s degree in education or a relevant subject
  • A teaching qualification from your home country or an internationally-recognized certification such as iPGCE or iQTS
  • Adequate teaching experience
  • Proficiency in English

It’s important to check with the Malaysian education authorities or the specific international schools you are interested in to ensure you meet their specific requirements.

Teaching in Malaysia offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a diverse and vibrant culture. The country’s education system is a blend of traditional values and modern approaches, providing a rich environment for both educators and students.

As a teacher in Malaysia, you may have the chance to explore the stunning natural landscapes, from lush rainforests to beautiful beaches. Additionally, Malaysia’s bustling cities offer a mix of old-world charm and contemporary amenities, ensuring there is always something new to discover outside of the classroom.

What’s the hiring process for becoming an international teacher in Malaysia?

The hiring process for international teachers in Malaysia generally involves the following steps:

  1. Researching and identifying international schools in Malaysia that align with your preferences
  2. Submitting your application, including your CV, cover letter, and relevant documents
  3. Participating in interviews, either in person or via video conferencing
  4. Completing any required teaching demonstrations or assessments
  5. Providing references from previous employers or supervisors
  6. Obtaining the necessary visa and work permit to teach in Malaysia
  7. Preparing for your new adventure as an international school teacher in Malaysia!

Malaysia boasts a diverse and vibrant international school community, offering a range of teaching opportunities for educators looking to broaden their horizons. The country’s education system combines elements of both Eastern and Western pedagogies, providing a unique and enriching experience for both teachers and students alike.

Furthermore, teaching in Malaysia allows educators to immerse themselves in a rich tapestry of cultures, with the opportunity to explore stunning landscapes, bustling cities, and delicious cuisine. From the modern skyline of Kuala Lumpur to the tranquil beaches of Langkawi, Malaysia offers a plethora of experiences for teachers seeking adventure outside the classroom.

Living as an international teacher in Malaysia

Living in Malaysia as an international teacher can be an enriching and fulfilling experience. Here are some key aspects to consider:

  • Accommodation: Many international schools in Malaysia provide accommodation for their teachers, while others offer generous housing allowances. This ensures that you have a comfortable place to call home during your stay.
  • Transportation: Malaysia has an efficient public transportation system, making it easy for you to commute to work and explore the country. From trains to buses and taxis, you’ll have various options to choose from.
  • Healthcare: Malaysia has a well-established healthcare system, with both public and private hospitals offering quality medical services. It’s advisable to have comprehensive health insurance to cover any unforeseen medical expenses.
  • Food and culture: Malaysians are known for their love of delicious food. From mouthwatering street food to fine dining experiences, you’ll have the opportunity to savor a wide range of culinary delights. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, festivals, and traditions of Malaysia.

Cultural Insights for International Teachers in Malaysia

As an international teacher in Malaysia, it’s essential to understand and appreciate the local culture. Here are some cultural insights to help you navigate your teaching journey:

  • Respect: Malaysians value respect and courtesy. It’s important to show respect to students, colleagues, and parents at all times.
  • Etiquette: Familiarize yourself with Malaysian etiquette, such as removing shoes when entering homes or religious places, and addressing elders with appropriate titles.
  • Dress code: Dress modestly and professionally, especially in school environments. Be aware of any specific dress codes or cultural practices followed by the school.
  • Greetings: Malaysians often greet each other with a smile and a handshake. It’s considered polite to address someone using their title followed by their first name.

Cost of Living in Malaysia

Malaysia offers a relatively affordable cost of living compared to many Western countries. While the cost of living can vary depending on your location and lifestyle choices, here’s a general overview:

  • Accommodation: Rental prices vary, with Kuala Lumpur being the most expensive city. However, international schools often provide housing or housing allowances as part of the employment package.
  • Transportation: Public transportation is affordable and reliable, making it an economical option for daily commuting.
  • Food: Eating out in Malaysia can be very affordable, especially at local eateries and street food stalls. However, if you prefer dining at Western restaurants or buying imported goods, the prices may be higher.
  • Utilities: Utilities such as electricity, water, and internet services are reasonably priced.

Popular International Schools in Malaysia

Malaysia is home to many renowned international schools that offer high-quality education. Here are some popular choices:

  • *School 1: Known for its strong academic curriculum and diverse student body.
  • *School 2: Offers a multicultural learning environment and excellent extracurricular activities.
  • *School 3: Focuses on innovative teaching methods and personalized learning experiences.

*Please note that the names of the schools have been replaced with asterisks for privacy purposes.

Challenges for International Teachers and How to Overcome Them in Malaysia

While teaching in Malaysia can be rewarding, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Here are some common challenges faced by international teachers and tips on how to overcome them:

  • Language barrier: English is widely spoken in international schools, but there may be instances where communication with local teachers or parents becomes challenging. Take the initiative to learn basic Malaysian phrases to ease communication.
  • Cultural adjustment: Adapting to a new culture can be overwhelming. Embrace cultural differences and seek support from colleagues or expat communities to navigate any challenges that arise.
  • Classroom management: Every classroom has its own unique dynamics. Gain insights from experienced teachers, attend professional development workshops, and find strategies that work best for your students.
  • Homesickness: Being away from home can be tough at times. Stay connected with family and friends through technology, engage in hobbies or activities that bring you joy, and build a network of friends in Malaysia.

Becoming an international school teacher in Malaysia offers a world of opportunities to grow as an educator, experience a vibrant culture, and make a positive impact on the lives of students. So, why not embark on this exciting journey and open doors to new horizons?

Take the Next Step in Your International Teaching Career with IPGCE

Ready to overcome the challenges and elevate your teaching career to international heights? Join IPGCE, the UK’s #1 Teacher Training Course, and unlock the door to a world of opportunities. With our International Postgraduate Certificate in Education, you’ll not only enhance your qualifications and increase your chances of securing that dream teaching position, but you’ll also experience significant career progression, join a global professional network, and gain a deep understanding of international curricula. Embrace the flexibility of our online study options and balance your professional development with your current work commitments. Don’t let stringent qualifications or isolation hold you back. Join the IPGCE program today and become part of a community that’s advancing in education globally.

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