I found this very interesting, since I'm switching to IT from education I always saw certifications as state mandated in order to even be considered for a position.
Oh yes, in many cases if you want a government IT job you will require certs. In fact, you'll be required to have certs from other industries. That's the degree to which government IT isn't considered professional. Government IT often pays a fraction of the industry and is not taken seriously. In NY state, for example, top level IT technical positions are often below entry level in pay. So below the professional scale.
So if your goal is "government IT" which is sort of its own thing, you'll need certs from non-IT to even be allowed to be hired. But it's often considered on the fringe or outside of "real" IT.
Keep in mind that while we often use IT Professional, as a term, IT are not professionals. Actual "professional" guidelines are actually considered insulting in IT. The idea that IT could be certified or that university education would be meaningful, the very tenants of professional work, are insulting in IT where things are performance based, not government pseudo-union based. A better term to use, at least in your head, is IT Practitioner, not professional. IT does not function if held to the standards of normal "professions". The education or certification needed for those fields are far too low to be useful in IT. The breadth of knowledge and continuous education needed for IT success are much higher than many other fields. This is why it is not considered polite or appropriate to compare IT Practitioners to something like doctors. The bar for being a successful doctor is embarrassingly low for IT, for example.