Certifications are a wonderful way for the certifying authorities to make money. Remember the Novel days when everyone wanted to get Novel certified to get a better paying job?
Certifications and Degrees can be both useless when the people awarded them are incompetent fools. Competence is independent of paper, it is in the individual’s drive and thirst for excellence.
Still when I am confronted with the dilemma I always tend towards college education. The theoretical background afforded by any decent college is an immense asset especially to competent people. That is not to say that there no exceptional people without formal education or any certification. They are just the exceptions that verify the rule.