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What is a Specialist High Skills Major?

A Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a Ministry of Education approved program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector, while meeting the requirement of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The program also assists students in their transition from secondary school to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace. An SHSM enables students to gain sector specific skills and knowledge.

The St. Catharines Collegiate has been approved by the Ministry of Education to offer the Health and Wellness SHSM.

Profile of the Health and Wellness Sector

The SHSM–Health and Wellness enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating and entering apprenticeship training, college, university, or an entry-level position in the workplace. Where local circumstances allow, boards may elect to offer one or more variants of the SHSM in a given sector, each with a particular area of focus. This SHSM may be designed to have a particular focus – for example, on health care, fitness, or child care and family services. This focus is achieved through the selection of the four major credits in the bundle.

What will students learn in the Health and Wellness major study?

A bundle of 10 Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits

These credits make up the bundle:

  • four health and wellness major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills. The four courses must include at least one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 credit, and may include one cooperative education credit related to the sector. (This cooperative education credit would be additional to the two that are required in the bundle; see below);
  • four other required credits from the Ontario curriculum. Schools may commit to including a contextualized learning activity (CLA) for the health and wellness sector in each of the three credits. In each credit, some of the course expectations are then met through the CLA. (Schools that do not formally commit to including CLAs are still free to offer them in one or more of the credits.) The three credits include:
    • one in English;
    • one in mathematics; and
    • one in science or social sciences and humanities (or a cooperative education credit related to the sector, which would be additional to the two cooperative education credits required in the bundle; see below);
  • two cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, apply, and practise knowledge and skills outlined in the cooperative education curriculum as well as sector-specific knowledge and skills.

-Experiential learning and career exploration activities

-Sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs

-Reach ahead experiences:

Students are provided one or more reach ahead experiences – opportunities to take the next steps along their chosen pathway – as shown in the following examples:

  • Apprenticeship: visiting an approved apprenticeship delivery agent in the sector
  • College: interviewing a college student enrolled in a sector-specific program
  • University: observing a university class in a sector-related program
  • Workplace: interviewing an employee in the sector

-Sector-partnered experiences (SPEs)

Students engage with a sector partner and apply skills to gain insight into the relationship between this sector and ICE (innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship), coding, and/or mathematical literacy.

What are the future career paths for Health and Wellness?

For Health and Wellness majors, possible careers include:

  • Apprenticeship – Early childhood educators, Educational assistants, community service workers
  • College – Dental hygienists and dental therapists, Licensed practical nurses, Massage therapists, Medical laboratory technologists, Paramedical occupations
  • University – Allied primary health practitioners, Dentists, Dietitians and nutritionists, Family, marriage, and other related counsellors,Other professional occupations in health diagnosing and treating
  • Entry level workplace – Nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates, Other assisting occupations in support of health services, Personnel clerks, Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport, and fitness