Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM)


When students know the industry they wish to pursue after high school, they often look for ways to explore that career now.  That may include learning new skills, or hearing from industry professionals.  It can be tough for a student to try and get that extra-preparation for the next step in their education on their own.

A Specialist High School Major (SHSM) program is designed to support these students as they look to explore, investigate, and prepare for a career in an industry sector.

Our school offers SHSM courses in the following sectors:

Program Overview Video

This video was recorded from our Live Information Night for parents and students.

Choose a Sector, Choose a Pathway

A SHSM 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 their next steps whether it is an apprenticeship, college, university, or the workplace.

Our SHSM programs consist of a bundle of courses in a specialized field completed over grades 11 and 12.  Students participate in experiential learning through co-operative education, as well as additional certification and training related to their SHSM sector.  Students may also have opportunities to hear from guest speakers and participate in industry tours.

The SHSM Advantage

  • Experiential learning opportunities and interactions with industry professionals
  • Earn sector recognized certifications and industry related training
  • Be offered opportunities to identify career options and explore post-secondary pathways
  • Select from course bundles that are flexible to allow students to change pathway as their post-secondary plans may change
  • Trips and workshops aligned with your career goals and interests

Recognition from the Ministry of Education

  • an Ontario Secondary School Diploma with an embossed SHSM seal
  • an SHSM Record documenting his/her achievement
  • formal recognition on his/her Ontario Student Transcript

Industry Sector Focus

Information & Communication Technology (ICT) SHSM

Information & Communication Technology (ICT) is a very broad category for a career.  It includes software development, network technology, film and animation, architecture, big data analysis, machine learning, graphic design, engineering, 3D design and more.  Students interested in those careers, or those looking to develop their computer technology skills for a future career, should consider the ICT SHSM.  Certifications, trips, and Reach Ahead opportunities are designed to provide valuable experience to students across technology sectors.  Students are also exposed to careers, educational pathways, and skills that they may not be familiar with.  The ICT SHSM is flexible to allow students to participate in the program whether their interests are more with Computer Science, Computer Engineering, or Media and Design. 

Visit http://goSTA.ca/ICT for more information.

Construction & Carpentry SHSM

The Construction industry is one of the largest employers in Canada. Career options include home building, framing, plumbing, electrical, stone masonry, cabinetmaking, HVAC , renovations, woodworking, cement & concrete, Architecture, business ownership, and many more. This program proudly recognizes student autonomy and aims to assist students in selecting courses that interest them, as well as complimenting their chosen pathway.  Additionally, SHSM members also receive sector relevant training, reach-ahead opportunities, field trips, exposure to industry professionals, experiential learning (co-op) in their field of interest, and a SHSM seal on their OSSD upon program completion. The Construction SHSM enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before entering apprenticeship training, college, university, or an entry-level position in the workplace. 

Visit http://goSTA.ca/CandC for more information.

Health Care & Medical Technologies SHSM

This program enables students to develop their understanding of basic health care procedures, including the safe use of appropriate instruments, equipment, and materials. Students will focus on health care fundamentals, including the anatomical features and physiology of the major body systems. Health Care SHSM students will have the opportunity to explore medical ethics from a case study perspective as well as gain an understanding of how the decision-making process works in Ontario hospitals.   Students will learn about professional practice standards and career opportunities in the healthcare field through research and guest speakers currently working in the healthcare field, as well as practical skills taught by the SHSM teacher who is also a Registered Nurse.  This program is not only for students interested in a career as a doctor or nurse, but for health researchers, PSW’s, lab technicians and more. 

Visit http://goSTA.ca/healthcare for more information.

Sports SHSM

The SHSM Sports program gives students an opportunity to specialize, gain qualifications, and plan a career pathway in various areas related to the sports sector while still in high school.  These include: fitness, performance, training, treatment, outdoor education, non-for profit, recreation, leadership, sports management, media entertainment, business,  etc. The SHSM Program has a number of required components, designed to give students a “leg-up” to pursue post-secondary opportunities in each of the identified sectors, valuing apprenticeship, college, community, university and the workplace.  Young people enjoy Sports, but do not often realize the endless career opportunities that are affiliated with this sector beyond competing.

See our Sports SHSM flyer for more details.

De Franco, RobSpecialist High Skills Major (SHSM)