Specialist High Skills Major
Learn how students can graduate from high school with specialized skills, knowledge and certifications relevant to their chosen industry.
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About the Specialist High Skills Major
The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a specialized program that allows students to gain credits toward their Ontario Secondary School Diploma and focus their learning on a specific economic sector at the same time. The SHSM is a Ministry of Education approved program.
Students receive the SHSM seal on their diploma when they:
- complete a specific bundle of 8-10 courses in the student's selected field
- earn industry certifications like first aid and CPR qualifications
- gain important skills on the job through cooperative education placements
SHSMs are available in the following 19 sectors, many of which lead to well-paying skilled trades careers:
- arts and culture
- food processing
- health and wellness
- horticulture and landscaping
- hospitality and tourism
- information and communications technology
- justice, community safety, and emergency services
Ontario high schools have a variety of job skills programs to help meet the needs, interests and strengths of all students, engaging them in learning and preparing them for graduation, life beyond high school and the jobs of the future. Learn about other programs in schools that help students explore careers.
Benefits of a Specialist High Skills Major
Pursuing an SHSM can help students:
- customize their high school education to suit their interests and talents
- develop specialized knowledge and skills
- earn credits that postsecondary educational institutions and employers recognize
- gain sector-recognized certification and career-relevant training
- engage in STEM-related activities that develop innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship
- identify, explore and refine career goals and make informed decisions about their future
- transition after graduation to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace
- remain flexible, with the option to shift between pathways, should their goals and plans change
Graduating with an SHSM
Students who successfully complete an SHSM receive:
- an Ontario Secondary School Diploma with an embossed SHSM seal
- an SHSM record documenting their achievement
- formal recognition on their Ontario Student Transcript
Find an SHSM program
SHSM programs are available in all publicly funded school boards with high schools in the province.
Find SHSM programs by sector offered in Ontario publicly-funded English-language and French-language schools for the current school year.
For more information, please contact your school’s guidance or co-operative education department, or the SHSM coordinator at your school board.
More detailed information about SHSMs in the Specialist High Skills Major policy.