@IMY - I'm not so sure that's the case. At least in Australia, I understood that all you needed was a NAATI qualification, which isn't a degree. I'm pretty sure you can take quite a few of the exams (which cost a thousand or two, I believe) without having taken any classes or done any previous exams. Once you have the qualification, I assume experience (results etc.) would be the most important factor. But everyone has to start somewhere.
@steve - I think degrees are important in many different professions. They're not the be all and end all, but they do "prove" that person XYZ has a good foundation in field ABC, and that they have had enough persistance, knowledge and ability to get through the whole degree. In many fields, you only really start learning (at an advanced level) once you enter the workforce, but it would be almost impossible to do that without having done the degree first to get a good foundation.