There are two main tax credits available to assist Americans with the ever-rising cost of college tuition. You can only claim one credit, however, so choose carefully.

The American Opportunity (AO) tax credit covers 100 percent of the first $2,000 (and 25 percent of the next $2,000) spent on tuition and related expenses, with a maximum of $2,500 for each qualifying student.

The Lifetime Learning Credit tax credit can be claimed for any continuing-education coursework. There is no minimum course load requirement; even a single class taken to update job skills qualifies. In addition, you can claim it for an unlimited number of years.