John D Driessnack
Many certificate or certification programs have experience requirements, but they tend to be general in nature.... 2 years or 4 years of project or program management experience. If you have spend those years on one program working as a member of a team with no leadership expereince, then you are not going to have the experience to run a program or project that is the same size or larger. You might be able to step up and be the team lead for a part, an Integrated product or process team lead (IPT), but not the project or program manager.
The certification program do a good job of making sure a person understands the basic knowledge and if the courses have application and simulations, you can get some technical skills, but they do not provide true experience. Certificates and certifications are a good step in providing a base, but one needs to look at experience and work to get a variety of experinences. Being a IPT lead on a very larger project and/or working as a project lead on small project are different experiences and one should try to round out there experiences. Even if you will mainly manage small projects, working on a larger project for a period of a year or so can provide some great insights on the value of the disciplined PM tools, like earned value, risk management, detailed WBSs, etc. You can make a better decision on what to apply on your smaller project.