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The Specialist High Skills Major in Business


Business graphicA diverse array of career opportunities can be found within the Business sector. Locally, job prospects exist in fields ranging from entrepreneurship and economics, to accounting and finance, to marketing and retail management. Graduates of the Specialist High Skills Major Program in Business possess the knowledge and skills to pursue any number of these opportunities.


The Business Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) Program provides students with the opportunity to specialize their academic studies, earn certifications and qualifications, and plan their career pathway while they are still in high school. The SHSM Program involves a number of components that provide students with a better understanding of the Business industry, the opportunities that it offers, and the skills needed for success within the sector.  


Components of a Specialist High Skills Major 


The Business SHSM Program consists of five required components: 

1. Bundled Credits

Students will complete nine Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits related to their sector of interest, some of which are supplemented with contextualized learning activities (CLA) that frame the subject of study within the context of the Business sector. 


Credits Apprenticeship (Grades 11-12) College (Grades 11-12) University (Grades 11-12) Workplace (Grades 11-12)
Major Credits Including at least one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 credit   4
One credit may be substituted with an additional co-operative education credit
One credit may be substituted with an additional co-operative education credit
One credit may be substituted with an additional co-operative education credit
One credit may be substituted with an additional co-operative education credit
English (Including a CLA) 1 1 1 2
One credit must be in Grade 12
Mathematics (Including a CLA) 2
One credit must be in Grade 12
One credit must be in Grade 12
One credit must be in Grade 12
Co-Operative Education 2 2 2 2

2. Certification and Training

Students will earn both compulsory and elective sector-recognized certifications through cost-free workshops and training courses/programs.


Four Compulsory Certifications
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Level C – Includes AED  Customer Service Standard First Aid  Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System – Generic 


Three Elective Certifications
Business Etiquette Cash Handling and Register Training Counterfeit Detection Effective Networking
Equity and Inclusion Ergonomics Ethical Considerations Fraud Prevention
Health and Safety – Basic Leadership Skills Negotiation Training Personality Inventory
Public Speaking Retail Representative Software Specialized Business Program / Competition
Successful Exhibiting      

3. Career Exploration

Students will explore opportunities in their chosen sector through experiential learning and career exploration activities (field trips, guest speaking engagements, job shadowing). 

4. Reach Ahead Experiences

Students will participate in experiences aligned with the student’s post-secondary plans. 

5. Essential Skills and Work Habits

Students will develop essential skills and work habits, documented in the Ontario Skills Passport. 

SHSM Program Recognition

Students who successfully complete a SHSM program receive:

  • An OSSD designated with an embossed red seal;
  • A SHSM record documenting their certification/training achievements;
  • Formal recognition on their Ontario School Transcript.  

Career Pathways

The Business SHSM Program may be right for you if you are interested in careers similar to the following:


Apprenticeship College
Materials Retailer
Parts Technician
Special Events Coordinator  
Administrative Officer
Assessor, Valuator, and Appraiser
Conference and Event Planner
Desktop Publishing Operator
Insurance Adjuster and Claims Examiner
Legal Secretary
Personnel and Recruitment Officer
Purchasing Agent  
University Workplace


Business Development Officer


Economist or Economic Analyst

Executive Assistant

Financial and Investment Analyst

Human Resources Specialist

Investment Banker

Marketing Manager

Administrative Clerk
Customer Service Representative
General Office Clerk
Personnel Clerk
Purchasing and Inventory Clerk
Records Management and Filing Clerk
Retail Salesperson
Shippers and Receivers


For more information, contact your high school Guidance Counsellor or visit: