Study TESL in Malaysia with these 8 Cool Important Details


TESL, or Teaching English as a Second Language is the practice of teaching the English Language. This course attracts students whose may not use English but resides in a country that utilize it a lot.

As English has gained prominence over the past few decades, so has the demand for English teachers. As such, universities have provided TESL courses to properly equip English teachers to be a bridge to connect their students to the beautiful Language.

Read on to get started on your journey to a TESL course in Malaysia!

What is TESL? 

As briefly mentioned above, TESL means to teach English as a Second Language. 

In a country like Malaysia, locals often use English to communicate, but not everyone understands it. For example, a student who grew up only understanding Mandarin may need to learn the language from a teacher with TESL qualification.

With that, you may see other abbreviations related to the programme, such as TESL, TESOL, and TEFL. These courses are all within the field of teaching English to students whose first language is not English. 

It can certainly get confusing when you are exploring your course options!

Don’t worry. Here are their definitions to help you out:

  • TESL, or Teaching English as a Second Language refers to teaching English as a secondary language to students from countries that often use it.
  •  TEFL, or Teaching English as a Foreign Language qualifications allow tutors to teach English to students with another primary language. Moreover, these students live in countries that do not use English as a main language of communication.

For example, a Korean student studying at a Malaysian university must understand English to do their assignments. Thus, they would need an English teacher with a TEFL qualification for assistance.

  • TESOLor Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages is a mixture of both TESL and TEFL. Through TESOL, you will have the skills and the flexibility to teach English to students from both English and non-English speaking countries.

Why Should You Study TESL?

study TESL

Influence and Shape Lives

If you are passionate about teaching, you will probably feel rewarded when you see your hard work bear fruit through your students’ growth. The joy of helping a student understand a topic they may be struggling with is rare and precious – not all career paths or work can give you that feeling.

An English teacher’s work is essential in Malaysia and highly respected by many, especially parents! If making a difference through education sounds like something you would like to achieve, TESL could be for you.

International Opportunities

Just because you studied TESL in Malaysia does not mean you are only limited to career options in Malaysia after your tertiary education.

Knowing the student’s first language is a valuable skill in teaching. Let’s say you studied the course and are able to speak Mandarin. You can potentially be an English language teacher in a Mandarin-speaking country, like China or Taiwan.

Thriving Job Market

With the vast use of the language in the office, the demand for English teachers in Malaysia has never been higher.

According to JobStreet’s 2021 job report, an online language teacher is one of the most in-demand jobs for fresh graduates to secure their future dream careers. As a bonus, you can teach English from the comfort of your own home! 

Job security is stable as ever if you study TESL in Malaysia.

Related: Should You Choose Your Course Based on Interest or Future Demand

What You Will Learn in TESL?

A TESL course prepares you to be a professional English teacher, but what sort of skills do you need anyway?

It is just teaching.

Sadly, that is a common yet unfortunate misconception many hold about teachers.

There are so many more skills and knowledge that a teacher must hold to excel at teaching.

Here is a breakdown of what you will typically learn in a TESL course:

Teaching, Reading, and Writing

This module will teach you about the consideration of the principles, theoretical issues, and how they affect the teaching of reading and writing to students.

Literature in a Language Classroom

The classic literature module provides insight into understanding issues in the teaching of literature.

It explores how new developments in the study can transform the thinking of future generations.

Curriculum Studies

Coming up with classroom activities is the focus of the Curriculum Studies.

It covers the transfer of knowledge and skills while diving into how theories help to explain how children and young people learn.

Theories and Practices in Language Teaching

In this module, you will observe how language is used in schools through the understanding theories and practical methods.

It addresses how language is taught in different subjects and examines effective ways of teaching a language in various subjects.

Behavioral and Classroom Management

Behavioral and Classroom Management is about how teachers can create motivating and positive learning environments. It guides you to develop behaviours that maximise learning. At the same time, you will learn how to manage your time and resources in a classroom environment too.

TESL course

Based on the table above, there are several popular routes for TESL students who study in Malaysia. You may opt to study a 1-year Foundation or a Pre-University (A-Level, SACE, STPM, etc.) course for 1 to 2 years after completing your high school education (SPM or equivalent qualification).

Then, you can take up a 3-year TESL bachelor’s degree to further your studies.

Alternatively, you may also pursue a Diploma in Education (TESL) for 2 to 3 years. After that, you can move towards immediately becoming an English teacher or studying for a TESL bachelor’s degree.

So what does your pathway look like? Read on to find your ideal tertiary education.

Diploma in Education (TESL)

To qualify for a diploma course at a Malaysian university, you only need to have 3 credits in your SPM/O-Level, including a pass in Bahasa Melayu and History.

Diploma courses usually take between 2 to 2.5 years to complete and can cost RM 35,000.

As a bonus, you can enter the workforce immediately after you receive your certificate.

Bachelor’s Degree in Education (TESL)

Before enrolling for a degree, you also need to achieve credits in 5 SPM or O-level subjects, including Bahasa Melayu and History. Then, you must also graduate from one of the following pre-university courses:

  • STPM: min. of 2Cs
  • A-Level: min. of 2Es
  • UEC: min. 5Bs 
  • AUSMAT/SACEi: min. ATAR 50
  • Relevant Foundation: min. of CGPA 2.00
  • Relevant Diploma: min. of CGPA 2.00

The duration of a pre-university course can take up to 2 years with RM 18,000 of tuition fee. Once you have completed it, you can move on to your degree.

Degree courses will span over 3 years and cost RM 20,000 in expenses.

Diploma students who want to continue their studies can do so with a degree course, where they will join their course mates in Year 2 of their tertiary education.

Every university and Education course offers different criteria (and varying fees). For more details, you can contact an advisor through a Live Chat.

What Are the Skills Required to Study TESL?

English Proficiency  

Unsurprisingly, you would need to be good – if not proficient – in English. It is important to note that TESL does not teach English but rather the knowledge about the language, where it highlights how you can educate your future students through theory and practice.

Therefore, the course needs lots of practices in reading and writing to be fluent. So, make sure you have your English sharpened!

Communication Skills

In a classroom, it is essential to communicate clearly and carry yourself well to convey ideas and share new topics with students. Ask yourself:

  • How can I break down this concept in the simplest way possible? 
  • What types of examples will help my students to understand me? 
  • How do I engage my students to give me feedback during speaking exercises? 

While your selected TESL course will teach you ways to hone this skill better, effective communication is a skill that takes years to master. As a teacher, consistently practising your Communication Skills will help you in the long run.


Of course, teaching completely new topics to a group of students will require a lot of patience, no matter the age group. In these scenarios, you may even wonder:

  • Are you prepared to explain the same concept multiple times in different ways? 
  • What if your students don’t respond to your method of teaching? 

And, because people are full of surprises, different unpredictable happenings can spring upon you during your lessons too!

As a result, you would need to be as cool as a cucumber and be patient with your students. After all, people learn best when they receive sympathy from others! Who knows, perhaps you might even discover new things and connections from them.

Top Universities to Study TESL in Malaysia

Figuring out where to take your passion for teaching further? 

Here is a list of the top 3 Malaysian universities that offer TESL courses:

University of Nottingham Malaysia

The University of Nottingham Malaysia opened in September 2000 and became the first British university in Malaysia to set up a campus outside of the UK.

Its syllabus is on par with its UK counterpart to ensure that students receive the same quality of education.

TESL courses offered:

  • Bachelor of Education with Honours (TESOL)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Education (TESOL)

HELP University & Colleges

If this is your first day in your tertiary education, you can rest assured. HELP University & Colleges have grown steadily and sturdily since 1986. One of its star features is its peer tutoring services. 

For a smoother transition, each new student will be assigned to a senior as a study buddy during the first semester.

TESL course offered:

  • Bachelor of Education (TESL) 

Things You Need to Know About TESL Career

As a TESL degree holder, you will be qualified to teach English as a second language at schools (private and public), language academies and tuition centres. 

Thus, your career path as an accredited English teacher will be more straightforward than other professions due to their achievable requirements.

It may be easy to assume that TESL is a degree that only allows you to teach English, but that is simply not the case. 

TESL teaches you modules that equip you to provide education in a classroom setting. As long as you have the knowledge and qualification, you can become a teacher of any subject.

In addition, teaching can take place in many places outside of a classroom. Your lessons can happen remotely, even from the comfort of your own home too.

Within the education industry in Malaysia, it is usual to hear that teachers do not get paid well, no matter how much they contribute to society.

However, according to Payscale, this view may not be what you think. 

The monthly base salary of an English teacher can start at RM 3,000. Like many other jobs, you will need to start from the bottom, and your pay will increase as you gain more relevant experience.

Here, we have found a few job postings for an English teacher on JobStreet as examples:

  • Secondary Subject Teacher (First Language English & English as Second Language) 
  •  English Language Teacher Primary Schoolers Or Preschoolers
  •  English Teacher
  •  English Teacher for Primary 
  •  English Specialist 

If you have further questions about TESL courses, feel free to contact us on WhatsApp WhatsApp or our social media sites. We will be happy to assist you. Good luck!