I must concur with Phroot. With all the out of work IT folks looking for jobs (believe it or not, lots of companys are trying to have most IT jobs off shore with min. support on site). So you will need the degree just to be normal. I have 20 years in IT but because I do not have a degree (lots of certs) people do not want to hire me. I cannot get an entry level job becuase they feel I will leave them when a real position comes along, and they will not hire me for a higher level position since I do not have a degree and the HR would feel safer hiring a degree person for the job. You may notice now that most jobs require a degree if you want an IT job at a well known company or good company.
If you did not know someone, wouldn't you want to make sure you are hiring someone that at lease has exposure to everything in IT then just one area. Companies are so cheap now that they have IT doing everything, not just what they hire you for. I was working for an international company and I was still the only IT person on site for 300 people. I was telecom, server, network, and desktop support. You had better get that 4 year degree fast becuase now since the job market is so saturated, companies are getting picky and want so much more. Kind of like you are the only buyer for a car between 2 competing car dealerships and they will fight for your money. Well, you are the dealership now fighting for the job and the guy you are in compatition with may have a masters or experiance (but cost too much, although he may be disperate). You need to stack the deck in you favor as much as possible.
Certs are great great but very narrow. If you want to make sure you can change with the times , get the degree. Then when they send all the jobs to India (becuase they know the value of an education) you will still be able to get a job that will feed you and your family.
PS. I will be done with my 4 year degree in project management in March 2011. Then I will lookd for a job. THe job market is slow now, it is a good time to go to school.