Having the right credentials can help you land a job -- or higher pay.
"Companies are looking for people with very specific qualifications these days," says Nicole Williams, connection director at LinkedIn.
Cases in point: IT workers who are Microsoft Certified Technology Specialists earn 6% more on average than nonspecialists, according to Robert Half International. Project Management Professional Certification is good for a 10% average bump in pay.
Trouble is, not all certifications are worthwhile, Williams says. To find out which ones are valued in your field, peruse job listings or use LinkedIn's Skills tool to see which credentials are being targeted for the type of job you're seeking.
Costs vary, but $1,000 generally covers classes and course materials.
If you have an extra $10,000, options abound for you to boost the value of your home, give to charity or take off on a cheap European vacation.