Starting your career
The few hundred bucks you might shell out for a new interview suit and a resume-writing service are a tiny fraction of the total cost of landing your first job. Educational preparation is the biggest investment, especially for occupations requiring at least a four-year college degree.
For the 2011-12 academic year, tuition and fees at public, four-year colleges averaged $8,240 per year for in-state students, according to The College Board. Private, nonprofit, four-year colleges charge an average of $28,500 per year. Room and board, books, supplies, transportation and other expenses keep the tab running.
Training for jobs that don't require a bachelor's degree can be expensive, too. Want to be the next rock star chef? At the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City, one of America's top cooking schools, the 650-hour culinary arts diploma program costs $28,250 to $33,250, depending on how your classes are scheduled.
Looking to put your lightning-fast typing skills to work as a court reporter? According to the consumer information website CostHelper.com, two-year associate degree programs in that field range from $780 to more than $12,000 per year, with the most expensive found at for-profit institutions.