Human Services

Interested in a career in human services?

There are many options available to you in high school to gain skills, build experience and explore options in human services.  

Not sure what courses or programs are right for you? Speak to your guidance counselor. They can help you with course and career planning.

Click on the tabs below to learn more about career opportunities, and high school courses and programs. Or, explore opportunities in other career sectors

student studying online laptop

There are many different career opportunities available in hospitality and tourism and health and wellness and non-profit. Some of these include: 

  • Professional occupations in advertising, marketing, and public relations

  • Dietitians and nutritionists

  • Inspectors in public and environmental health and occupational health and safety

  • Social and community service workers

  • Nurse aides, orderlies, and patient service associates

  • Family, marriage, and other related counsellors

  • Social policy researchers, consultants, and program officers

There are lots of courses you can take to prepare you for a career in human services. Below are some examples. 

  • Cooperative Education

  • Healthy Active Living Education 

  • Introductory Kinesiology

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Nutrition and Health

  • Families in Canada

Learn more about the courses offered at your secondary school. 

Your guidance counselor can help you with course and career planning.

There are a number of programs available in secondary school to support students interested in a future in human services. 

  • Cooperative Education

  • Specialist High Skills Major

  • Dual Credits

  • Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program

  • Summer Learning Programs

Learn more about those programs below. Speak to your guidance counsellor about which program(s) may be right for you. 

Meet Diviya, a student making a difference at school and in the community
Meet Dana and learn more about the Water Warriors


Secondary School Programs

In Co-op, students earn credits while completing a work placement in the community. Students also participate in classroom learning that supports the practical work experience.

Co-op placements are available at a wide variety of organizations. Teachers work with students to find placements that support classroom learning and their goals and interests.

Students gain hands-on experience, while earning high school credits. Co-op is available at all secondary schools. 

Students who wish to participate in the Specialist High Skills Majors and Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program must take Co-op in Grade 11 and/or 12.

The Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) offers career-focused learning in different sectors while working towards your Ontario Secondary School Diploma.

We offer SHSM programs in many sectors, including:

Students in the SHSM program:

  • Build sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating.

  • Learn more about a wide variety of careers in the sector. 

  • Earn industry-specific certifications.

It has five components:

  1. Required credits. Students take credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and cooperative education credits. 

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

  3. Experiential learning and career exploration activities. This could include job shadowing, work or volunteer experience, attendance at a trade show, etc.

  4. Reach ahead experiences that let students explore their chosen pathway. This could include interviewing someone in the profession or visiting a class, for example.

  5. Sector-partnered experiences.

Students in Dual Credits take college or apprenticeship courses that count towards both the Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) and a postsecondary certificate, diploma, or degree, or apprenticeship certification.

The York Region District School Board, in partnership with local colleges, offers many dual credit courses for Grade 11 and 12 students

Students at any YRDSB secondary school can apply to register for a dual credit. Speak with your guidance counsellor for more information.

The Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP) is a School to Work program. Students in the program:

  • explore and gain training in apprenticeship occupations starting in Grade 11 or Grade 12 through the Cooperative Education program. 

  • can become registered apprentices and work towards becoming certified in a skilled trade while completing their secondary school diplomas. 

There are over 150+ skilled trades (PDF) to choose from.

Students at any YRDSB secondary school can apply to participate in the Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program.

There are many opportunities to earn credits, explore pathways and gain experience during the summer months, including secondary summer school,  secondary pathway programs and more.

Learn more about summer learning opportunities.

Where programs are available:

*For 2023-2024 school year


Schools Offering

Cooperative Education

All secondary schools in YRDSB. 

SHSM - Health and Wellness

  • Alexander MacKenzie HS

  • Aurora HS

  • Bayview SS

  • Bill Hogarth SS

  • Bur Oak SS

  • Dr G W Williams SS

  • Dr John M Denison SS

  • Emily Carr SS

  • Hodan Nalayeh SS

  • Huron Heights SS

  • King City SS

  • Langstaff SS

  • Maple HS

  • Markham DHS

  • Markville SS

  • Middlefield CI

  • Milliken Mills HS

  • Newmarket HS

  • Pierre Elliott Trudeau HS

  • Richmond Green SS

  • Richmond Hill HS

  • Sir William Mulock SS

  • Stephen Lewis SS

  • Stouffville District SS

  • Sutton DHS

  • Thornhill SS

  • Thornlea SS

  • Tommy Douglas SS

  • Unionville HS

  • Westmount CI

  • Woodbridge College

SHSM - Hospitality and Tourism

  • Huron Heights SS

SHSM - Non-Proft

  • Bayview SS

  • Markham DHS


All secondary schools in YRDSB. 

Dual Credits

All secondary schools in YRDSB, in partnership with local colleges.


Other Opportunities and Resources

Students interested in Arts, Audio/Video Technology and Communications may also be interested in the following events. Speak to your teacher to learn more:

  • DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for College and Careers.

  • York Region Skills Challenge (YRSC).  Students from Grades 4-12 compete in a variety of skilled based competitions that takes place in Feb/March every year.  

  • Skills Ontario.  Students from YRSC can represent YRDSB in a variety of skilled based competitions annually every spring.

Explore more opportunities

here are many other sectors to explore. Learn more about courses, programs, opportunities and resources available in secondary school based on your interests.
Explore more sectors