I agree with the chorus about WWOOF-ing. My wife and I are in our upper 30's, and WWOOF-ed as a way to locate us in a new state just a couple of years ago. We found a situation with a great couple who are homesteaders in a beautiful area in the mountains of Western North Carolina and moved our dog and cat with us to their place. I had completed the Permacutlure Design Certificate in 2009 and came out with a fire for practicing permaculture...but with no land and no degree to support making an income from anything close to what I wanted to do. So we just started getting into the things we love. We've taken workshops, and classes, and brought permaculture into our jobs (I'm a teacher) and I'm now at a place where I've started my first professional permaculture design and own a couple of acres where we're building (slowly, over time) a model permaculture farm and homestead. You are very fortunate to be asking questions about permaculture at your age, though anytime is better than never.
It can be very difficult in a society structured like ours to navigate your way into a seemingly nebulous arena like permaculture. The entire set of "self-branding" tools, (resumes and cover letters and traditional job histories) while they have their purpose, aren't easily traded for a professional vocation in permaculture. You've got to study with highly knowledgeable and skilled people, meet lots of kindred spirits, and ultimately create your own entry point. Permaculture is NOT just a land-based art, science, or practice. It is a way of thinking in whole systems that can be applied at many scales and orders, i.e. to institutions, schools, businesses, marriages, architecture, and on and on. It is a way of relating to--and designing for--the world that is more like how nature actually functions than how advanced, highly specialized capitalist societies tend to do things. It is based sound, time-tested guidelines, soundly rooted in physics, ecology, and biology, and can be understood differently at many different scales of resolution. It can be approached conceptually, but to really get it "in the body" you've got to implement the principles and ethics in some really concrete way, whether it's growing things or starting a business. I think a permaculture design certificate is a great way to start. But also, just read a ton. Pick up Gaia's Garden for sure. And Christopher Alexander's "A Pattern Language." Also, read deeply into this site, because there are a lot of useful threads.
There are endless useful things you can do this year if you want to become a professional permaculture designer. Start taking landscape architecture classes. Learn horticulture. Become a master gardener. Take an AUTOCAD class. Mess around with Google Sketchup. Intern on a permaculture-bases farm (NOT just an organic one...not the same, though some are BOTH). Get fired up. It's a wonderful journey, this.