You have hit the nail on the head. They are looking for someone with a degree or some other qualification. Go back to school, get a degree. This will get you past 98% of the useless HR filtering.
I recently gained some insight into the hiring practices where I work. They scan resumes for key words. "Ohhh.. no BSc... DELETED!"
You would be amazed at the number of candidates I have to sift through with degrees from unaccredited universities and colleges simply because HR saw those three magic letters that met the criteria to be forwarded to the next stage of the process.
If you think for a second that this is going to get better, you're dead wrong. Look at LinkedIn. You can specify what level of education your ads are targeted for. Only want post-grads to see an advertisement on Facebook? Easy.
If you want to play this game, you need to work within their rules or find weaknesses in their rules (such as unaccredited universities). (Incidentally, this is now something that I check for - have I at least *heard* of their university?)
If you really have a wealth of experience, it will be trivial for you to challenge a bunch of courses at your local university. Screw paying full tuition. Show up, pay a quarter of the cost, write the exams, get the grade, eventually get the degree. This can be done part time so that you can keep whatever job you currently have.
If you start taking classes as a mature student, you will understand classroom politics and processes *FAR* better than someone who arrived fresh out of high school. Do what I did when I went back after a decade for my masters. Sit in the front row. Ask questions. Shape the class to YOUR needs - hell, you're the one paying for it, not mom and dad. Get your money's worth.
In the end this is your career and your education. You might find some insight on the Internet, but it's generally a horrible place to go for advice. Nobody online will ever care about your circumstances as much as you do. Put a plan together. Ask for feedback from your peers and mentors. Make a decision. Act on it.