My employer paid for me to take the full "IBM Certified System
Administrator - IBM i 7.1" vs your "IBM Certified Associate System
Administrator - IBM i 7". They actually encouraged me to take it.
I'll admit, the overview of associate one leads me to believe that it's a
little more in depth than I thought it would be.
If I was spending the money, and I thought I could handle the full one
versus the Associate one, then I'd take that one instead. If, however,
you are a little newer and don't think you have the necessary experience,
then go for the Associate one.
I think being certified would give you a leg up with my boss.
ps: If you paste the text as is from the web site versus what you have in
the heading it would really help out google and IBM searches. I noticed a