Certification is the paper trail that places a value on training and education. If you don't have it, don't expect a free pass unless having experience. You can use the book all you want and then pay to take some A+ test or short course for a test so you can have that under your belt and continue to any other level. Of course taking the test is yet another expense. All these other venues basically are offering a test at the end of the training/eduction period. Look at your options and what's available to you. If you don't have some real paperwork saying you're "certificated" or some way to prove it, its all a waste of time, they basically don't have any value to an employer or acknowledged as a true certification process.