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What is Specialist High Skills Major?

The Specialist High Skills Major program is a ministry-approved specialized program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements to graduate from secondary school. It also assists in their transition after graduation to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace.

Each Specialist High Skills Major is a bundle of 8 to 10 courses within a selected field/sector completed in grades 11 and 12. Students choosing a SHSM program learn on the job with employers as well as in school, earning valuable industry certification and training related to their chosen sector.

Key Benefits of a Specialist High Skills Major

Pursuing a SHSM helps students to:

  • Customize their secondary school education to suit their interests and talents.
  • Develop specialized knowledge and skills.
  • Earn credits that post-secondary educational institutions and the sector recognize.
  • Gain sector-recognized certification and career-relevant training.
  • Develop essential skills and work habits documented through the Ontario Skills Passport.
  • Identify, explore and refine career goals and make informed decisions about their future.
  • Remain flexible, with the option to shift between pathways, should their goals and plans change.

Students who successfully complete a SHSM receive:

  • an Ontario Secondary School Diploma with an embossed red seal.
  • an SHSM Record documenting their achievement.
  • formal recognition on their Ontario Student Transcript.

How Can I Learn More About SHSM Programs?

  • Browse the brochures for sectors that interest you to learn about program components and schools offering the program.
  • Look at the individual school based program brochures to learn about how the program is offered in particular schools.
  • Talk to your guidance counselor


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Halton Pathways Program Bro 2020


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SHSM Summer Internship Co-op Brochure


SHSM Fact Sheet


SHSM/OYAP Application Form