Programs & Pathways

What is a Program Pathway?

Deciding which path to take after high school is a daunting challenge for students and their families. There are many options available, but how do you decide which option is best suited for you?

A program pathway is designed to lead a student to a particular destination. This does not mean, however, that the student will always end up at that destination. Motivations can change, and students are free to make new choices as they develop new interests and abilities.

Students are in grades 9 and 10 will choose from courses at the: Essential (or locally developed), Open, Applied, or Academic level. These courses will lead to courses in grade 11 and 12 that are destination based.

What is your pathway? 

All secondary schools in TLDSB offer a wide range of programs, course types and learning opportunities to prepare you for success in high school and beyond.

Pathways in high school prepare you for your chosen post-secondary destination.  Plans and destinations may change as you develop as a person, but planning your path, your way will help you be successful.

No matter what your post-secondary destination is, the opportunity to explore the world of work during high school will help you develop new employability skills, and provide potential networks for community service and job/career opportunities.

High school in Ontario is based on 4 destination pathways:

The workplace pathway is designed for students who want to enter the work force immediately following their graduation. Students selecting the work pathway should take advantage of school and system experiential learning programs that offer workplace training, such as coop.

Many careers require a high school diploma for direct entry.  These jobs usually include specific on-the-job training after you start.  Opportunities exist in many economic sectors including Arts & Culture, Construction, Business, Health & Wellness, Hospitality & Tourism, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Landscaping, etc.  TLDSB offers several “School to Work” Programs.

Some students who choose direct entry to work may later pursue apprenticeship, college and/or university.

Consider direct entry to Work if you:

  • have developed practical and essential workplace skills that have prepared you for a specific career without needing to pursue college, university or an apprenticeship first.
  • You have been successful in workplace pathway courses or programs, and wish to explore workplace opportunities.
  • You want to gain work experience and/or earn money before continuing post-secondary education.
  • You have specific career goals in mind that allow you to go directly to the workplace for on-the-job training.

Apprenticeship is a practical way of learning, and includes a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. Apprentices are paid while gaining work experience, and wages increase with skill levels

Apprenticeship leads to: a career and a Certificate of Qualification in one of over 150 “apprenticeable” occupations in Ontario.  Many of these occupations are called “Red Seal” trades, which are recognized across Canada. Apprenticeships are organized into the four sectors:

  • Construction (Electricians, General Carpenter, Plumber, etc.)
  • Industrial (Welder, General Machinist, Tool & Die, etc.)
  • Motive Power (Auto Service, AutoBody, Truck & Coach, etc.)
  • Service (Hairstylist, Cook, Horticulture)

How long does an Apprenticeship take?

To become a certified tradesperson, an apprenticeship usually lasts two to five years, depending on the occupation. Apprentices work for the majority of this time, and attend in-school training, usually at a local community college.  Apprentices pay a nominal fee to attend the in-school portion of their training.

Consider Apprenticeship if you possess some of these qualities:

  • enjoy learning by doing
  • good mechanical and special abilities
  • enjoy fixing things, assembling and disassembling things
  • ability to solve problems
  • determining why something does not work, or how it can be done better

Colleges combine theory and practice to provide students with hands-on experience and learning that is career-specific and responsive to labour market needs.

College leads to:  careers such as journalist, police officer, dental hygienist, engineering technologist, paralegals and many others.  Community Colleges offer programs in Applied Arts, Business, Health & Human Services and Technology.

How long does College take?

Colleges have certificate, diploma, graduate certificate, applied degree and some joint college/university programs.  Programs usually take one to three years to complete.

Consider College if:

  • you enjoy and are successful with “hands-on” applied curriculum
  • you enjoy smaller classes and personal approach to instruction
  • you have specific career goals that require college education
  • you are interested in developing technical and occupational skills required for your chosen career area.

Universities offer degree programs that are more theoretical, in areas such as General Arts, Sciences and Business.

University leads to: careers such as teacher, engineer, doctor, accountant, and lawyer

How long does university take?

Students in university obtain bachelor degrees, masters degrees and doctorate degrees, ranging from three to 10 years of study. Universities also offer continuing education and certificate programs for specific occupations.

Consider University if you:

  • enjoy abstract concepts associated with course material
  • enjoy academic and theoretical learning
  • enjoy independent learning
  • have specific career goals that require a university degree