Web design is like most other art forms-there is lots of money to be made, but it may take you years of practice to mature as an artist so you can develop amazing work. Web design as a medium is accessible to practically everybody with a computer, but people whose work is commercial-quality are very few. Even when you are taking web design classes at an accredited university, out of the 100 students you know personally, maybe a couple will be showing real promise, but alas, the teachers will never tell you that, because they don't want to discourage you. They need your tuition money.
I think a typical web designer gets a degree, then after about a year on the job market they get discouraged because job offers are not coming. This is not the best way to approach this field. Unless you're a prodigy, some kind of self-taught Beethoven of design (one in a million chance) you have to put in years of practice and patient self-improvement.
Have you read the bios of the web design gurus who write columns and books for Sitepoint? How long have they been in web design? Since like 1998, my friend.