Actually I believe that earning your MCSA certification requires passing 4 out of 7 or 8 exams. I know that MS has set aside certain exams for the administration of their desktop and server OSs, and for the MCSA you have to pass any 4, one of them being a desktop exam. For instance, for your MCSA, you could take the
70-270 (Installation, Administration, and Troubleshooting of XP Pro)
70-290 (Installation, Administration, and Troubleshooting of Server 2003)
70-291 (Network Infrastructure for Server 2003)
70-294 (Security for Server 2003)
If my memory serves me right, you can use A+ and Network+ certs as credits for one of the exams. (I would get your A+, Net+ and use the credit, as these exams are quite easy if you know about hardware and networking, respectively).
As far as education goes, most employers seem to want BS and not much else. If you're jumping into the water without a few years experience as a system/network admin, then you'll almost need to focus more on the education. Start off as helpdesk or a DST position (Desktop Support Technician), and get some experience in professional IT under your belt. With some experience, an AS (BS preferred), and some solid certs (MCSA+CCNA will land you a job quick), you needn't worry about getting a decent paying job. Jipstyle and Wolfmann already said it more eloquently. I'd just thought I'd add my 2 cents in.