Rachel Benoit is a local art teacher and student in our Alternative Master of Arts in Education in Visual Arts program. Her journey to becoming a teacher didn't start when she was a freshman in college. Instead, her journey began shortly after graduating from Spring Hill College in 2018. 

Rachel BenoitRachel Benoit
Alternative Master's Student

Benoit graduated with her bachelor's degree from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. After graduating, she moved to Birmingham, Alabama, to start her career in marketing and advertising as a graphic designer. However, she always felt like something was missing.

"For a while, I felt like I wasn't living up to my full potential," said Benoit. "I've always been a service-oriented person. I love serving others, and I wasn't doing any of that in my graphic design career."

In 2019, she decided to take a leap of faith and trust her parents' advice to try teaching. After all, they were both teachers and knew a thing or two about the profession. She started her teaching journey as an art teacher at Cornerstone Schools of Alabama. During her time at Cornerstone, she had her first taste of combining her art background with her newfound passion for teaching.

"I fell in love working with kids and being part of a community and something bigger than myself," Benoit said. "Ultimately, I decided I love working in education, and I want to hopefully, eventually, work my way into an administrative role."

Benoit knew that she would need to further her education and earn her teaching credentials if she was going to turn her new passion into a long-term career. She began searching for a way to turn her dream into a reality.

Alternative Master's Program

at the UAB School of Education is available for individuals with an undergraduate degree in a field outside of education who want to become certified teachers. At UAB School of Education, we offer 9 AMP programs with 18 concentration options ranging from visual arts to biology.

  • Arts Education 
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Elementary Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • French and English as a Second Language
  • Spanish and English as a Second Language
  • Kinesiology Physical Education 
  • Special Education
  • Secondary Education 

    "I know UAB has a stellar art program and an excellent education program. However, I didn't know about the alternative master's program, but I'm glad I found it," says Benoit. "The program has been fantastic. It feels like I'm getting two degrees because of the program's flexibility and the variety of art education courses."

    The flexibility of our AMP program and the support she received from the faculty made the UAB School of Education an easy choice for Benoit.

    "I can take many classes online while working as an art teacher full-time," said Benoit. "Professors ask us what we need to succeed, and most of us in the cohort are already in the classroom, so we all have the same issues. It's been great to have these support systems preparing us for what we want and need to learn."

    Recently, Benoit started working for Magic City Acceptance Academy (MCAA). It is a new free public charter school with a mission to facilitate a community where all learners are empowered to embrace education, achieve individual success, and take ownership of their future in a brave, LGBTQ-affirming learning environment.

    "I came across MCAA, and I instantly felt like that's where I needed to be," said Benoit. "It's been a crazy journey, but I have fallen more in love with teaching since I've been there."

    Benoit plans to complete the AMP program in December 2022 and is excited to continue her teaching career. After hearing her story, she hopes that other people will feel encouraged to take that leap of faith and find a career they love.

    "If you feel like you're not being fulfilled or want to do something else - take that leap of faith. It's not easy but taking that leap and going for it gives a much better result than trying to make something fit that is not fulfilling you."

    Click here to learn more about the UAB School of Education's Arts Education Program or its Alternative Master's Programs.