When I was doing Y2K contracting, all I had were a couple of MCPs and I was 2 months short of an MCSE when I got hired. Starting salary was 39k. This was for hands on work. As above, phone support will pay considerably less, and you need a special brand of patience to do it
If you're out in the field, a diploma is good, but any place worth it's salt will put you through a couple of practical tests to make sure you can actually get things done under pressure.
Mess around with everything you can and shoot for the 30s