I've been working in Photoshop for about six years now, starting with a copy of Elements that came with a scanner I purchased right after I got my first computer, a 17" flat-screen G4 iMac. My intentions were to scan all the old family photos, some dating back to the turn of the previous century, and create a digital record.
Since, for the most part, they were kept in old shoe-boxes, there was a lot of damage, especially to the older, more fragile photos. Eventually I started experimenting with restoring some of the oldest ones in order to identify who the pictures were of. Although I wasn't aware of it at the time, Elements, at least the version available at the time, really had very little to offer in the way of tools to accomplish much with.
But, in my ignorance, I did enjoy doing what I could to shove some pixels around and fix tears, scratches, and stains... I especially enjoyed the surprised look on family member's faces when a tiny, damaged photo scanned at 300 dpi was repaired (sort of) and printed at a much larger size.
Within a year I found myself enrolling in whatever classes I could find that related to Photoshop and computers... even moving to another school in another city that offered a more comprehensive study program.
Through school I got an academic discount on CS3 so I am no longer restricted to Elements. And while it has been a couple of years since I took any classes I am still considering pursuing an Adobe Certification. The state I live in has an arts council that provides teaching jobs for experienced artists in smaller school districts that cannot afford full-time art instructors, no teaching degree required. Currently there are no computer art instructors available and, from what I hear, the demand is high.
Well that's me in a condensed version and I am not going to proof-read before submitting or this could take all night.