Herewith, I would like to make some recommendations around your question.
There are organizations asking for such certifications like PMI PMP or PRINCE2 Foundation or Practitioner for different purposes. Some need them for introducing the employee CV with such certifications especially for/during bidding participation with offers including mandatory requirements from the tender documents on included team CVs with such certifications.
Other organizations are requesting such certifications with a short-to-medium time positive experience in applying the recommendations of the PMI PMBOK Standard in order to be sure that the employee possess a high level of practical experience based on a worldwide top-tough exam and certification. Usually, the PMP exam or the entry level CAPM exam may be passed by anyone, but when someone is asked by PMI to fill up the mandatory documents with former practical experience, especially for the PMP exam, it is somewhat more difficult to prove the former real practical experience while assembling the candidate file. And this is apart of the required education hours, usually a 5 day PMI PMBOK Standard course with a REP teacher. Also, the two levels of the PRINCE2:2009 project management methodology certifications, respectively the Foundation and the Practitioner are medium and difficult level. The former is for beginners while the latter is for advanced practitioners in project management.
There is also a very difficult exam – the 6 Sigma – having many ranks, among which the Master Black Belt Professional (Expert level) allows you to manage projects in 6 Sigma ways, but also to direct and train the project managers and the corporate directors and managers, even that they are Champions.
There are many other Project Manager certifications (not Program Managers or Program Directors certifications which are totally different ) and related training courses less expensive, thus requiring less experience in advance than that for the PMI PMP.
However, it is great if you may start to learn for the PMI PMP or for the PRINCE2 Foundation then for the Practitioner level. PMI PMP certification is really worth especially in North America countries and usually a future higher rank of salary may appear for you (of course it depends of the organization vision on project managers and project management importance which should be aligned to the corporate strategic level, unfortunately few corporations or agencies understand it).
May be you may allow some money and start to follow the 5 day (or less) training course on the PMI PMBOK Standard for the PMP exam, after which you may receive the training certification which is mandatory. Then, at any moment of time but still valid for the current Standard edition to be applied for the PMP exam you may assemble the file with PMI requested documents (see on the http://www.pmi.org site) and apply for the exam, then you have at least 6 months for preparing it. During this interval you may tell to a recruiter that you are already enrolled for the PMP exam at a date already agreed with PMI. It is a chance to win something.
As I have previously mentioned in my intervention on GovLoop/PM group in May 02, 2012 on https://www.govloop.com/profile/MihailSadeanu you must choose when you want to practically apply a real project management methodology like the UK OGC PRINCE2:2009 – used especially throughout Europe, Asia (India the most) and Commonwealth countries, being a prescriptive one – and a standard or a BOK (Body Of Knowledge) recommendations like PMI PMBOK or ISO 21500 which are non-prescriptive. You may find also more details about their differences and other current BOKs details on my private site http://www.method-pm.com/ . It is noticeable that a standard or a BOK is conceived for the profession of project manager, while a project management methodology is conceived from best practices by the best gurus in practical appliance of the project management technique and art as well.
I am a PMI PMP final reviewer and contributor to the Fifth Edition of the PMI PMBOK Standard 2013 and PMP certified some years ago.Apart being a final reviewer and contributor of the last PMI PMBOK Fifth Edition 2013, I am also a former member of the working group #3 for the ISO 21500 Standard – Guidance on project Management finally issued in 2012, and a contributor and final reviewer of the ASAPM/IPMA aPRO Standard on Corporate Performance on Project Management, 2010.
Should you have other additional questions on these topics you are welcome.