I believe the paths to certification are very similar (although 9i requires two tests for OCA and 10g only one). The biggest difference is in the OCM (Oracle Certified Master) path where you need to take one extra course. My biggest fear in you taking the 9i approach is that the 9i exams may not be offered for much longer. My reasoning is that Oracle only provides full (premier) support for the latest two releases.
Technically, once 11g is released (July 11, 2007), 9i will no longer have premier support for it. Once the 11g exams come out, I would bet that 9i will not be offered any longer. I am already seeing very few 9i courses being scheduled, and they seem to end in September. I would therefore definitely suggest researching further with Oracle Education just how long they will offer the 9i tests and classes.
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