"How about sitting in a classroom for 3 years learning out of date stuff (to mainly show you're not a quitter), then starting from the bottom and working your way up."
Well, doctors and attorneys do that every day. I did that in spades in selection in special forces.
None of the above prove that you are competent overall!
Meanwhile, I only sat through a class that was as you described. That, due to an injury that required me to learn a specifically specified standard. One that is as defunct as Windows 2000.
Whose test was infamously wrong in many areas.
I've done and certified under pretty much everything Microsoft from Windows 3.51 onward. Remember Windows NT, Service Pack 6, then the scrambled at fixes included in Service Pack 6a? I do recall it quite well.
Two clients moved back to NT3.51 over it.