Specialist High Skills Majors (SHSM) Program:

What is a SHSM program?

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program is a ministry-approved specialized program that allows students in grades 11 and 12 to focus their learning on a specific economic sector while meeting the requirements to graduate from high school. A SHSM program gives students the opportunity to specialize their learning, gain qualifications, and explore a career pathway while still in high school. 


Who is it for?

A SHSM program can benefit any student. By the end of Grade 12, students have real world experience, a better sense of the type of work they want to do, and an understanding of where a career in their chosen sector can take them. No matter what path students plan to follow high school — apprenticeship, college, university or workplace training — a SHSM program helps them to focus on and explore a future career. 


What are the benefits?

SHSM students will: 

  • EXPERIENCE first-hand what a career in their sector feels and looks like 
  • DISCOVER the relationship between school and careers 
  • NETWORK with postsecondary institutions, local industries, and businesses 
  • EARN industry-recognized certifications and training 
  • OPEN doors for summer jobs and future employment 

How does it work?

Students in each SHSM program take a bundle of 8-10 courses in grades 11 and 12, including four credits related to the focus of their SHSM and two co-op credits. Throughout each year, students will also participate in several sector-based learning activities such as competitions and learning fairs, job shadowing, presentations from college/university students, and visits to a college/university class, as well as take part in industry-recognized certification and/or training courses. 

Graduate with a specialist designation on your diploma

Students who successfully complete an SHSM will receive a high school diploma with a “specialist” designation. The Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) will include an embossed seal, along with formal recognition on his/her Ontario Student Transcript (OST). This recognition lets employers and postsecondary institutions know that the student has knowledge, skills, and industry-recognized qualifications related to a particular career field.

Red Seal



Explore our 7 unique SHSM programs at SJHS

AgricultureArts & CultureAviationbusinessConstructionHealth & WellnessHospitality