You probably realize that I am an Apple Certified Support Professional for OS X 10.7. I achieved that last spring. What does it mean to Apple Certified?
Being Apple certified is, frankly, very tough. The certification exam is tough and preparation for it involves weeks, even months, of preparation and study. As a result, Apple certified individuals have a lot of respect within the industry as many do not make the cut.
For clients, hiring an Apple certified individual means that Apple has trained and tested that person to very high standards and they have a very deep and broad knowledge of the system on which they are certified. They will not only be able to properly diagnose your problem, but do it very efficiently. Time is money, after all.
There are very few Apple certified individuals in the Portland/Vancouver area that are focused on home users. In fact, perhaps I am the only one (I am not sure). My training and certification assures you that I know what I am doing and that I can find problems and (usually) solve them very quickly.
The news here is that I just passed my second certification, Apple Certified Support Professional for OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion).
One of the things a person can do with certification is join the Apple Consultant’s Network, which I did last May. The Apple Consultant’s Network is a group of companies that have at least one Apple certified individuals. Of course, I am a one-man show, so my whole company is Apple certified :). You can find a local Apple Consultant by going to http://consultants.apple.com and entering your zip code.